The topic of your link neighbors is well discussed. It goes without saying that:
- a backlink from a resource linking to only reputable sites is good;
- a backlink from a resource that links out very seldom and is very conservative / lazy about out-linking is good.
But is it actually a separate profile for such sites (that are both selective and lazy linkers) in Google’s algorithm.
There is an interesting discussion over at WebmasterWorld.com (also mentioned at Search Engine Roundtable) calling those conservative linkers “stingy linkers” and discussing how Google may be treating them.
“links from authors who are very stingy outlinkers are more informative.”
When the number should matters:
- fewer outlinks can be a sign that they are less likely to be participating in link schemes in general;
- fewer links mean more PageRank is passed to each one;
- fewer outlinks are much easier to analyze; “stingy linker’s” out-linking strategy is in a way straightforward, while regular person’s one can be contradictory (one day he links to a good site, next he just drops a link to some “bad neighborhood”, etc.
Does the number matter actually?
If John Doe links to 20 thin affiliate sites from a page and Jane Buck links to Wikipedia, Nytimes.com, and the Internet Public Library from her page, which sends a more positive message to the search engine: The numbers of links on John and Jane’s pages, or the “TrustRank” of the outbound links’ targets?
If the number still matters…
… Then it contradicts to the statements of the official representatives who encourage webmasters to out-link generously.