25th November 2006

Google penalizes websites for blatant link farming and other unsavory tactics, but it looks like Microsoft has taken it a step further.

By now, everyone is supposed to know that unrelated links can’t help you, but now Microsoft Search (a.k.a. Live.com) may actually be officially BANNING websites that engage in this practice.
According to this post Barry Schwartz (a.k.a. Rusty Brick) reported that certain webmasters were receiving this letter from Live.com -

Your site is acquiring links through posting to or exchanging links with other sites that are unrelated to your site content.

Various techniques which attempt to acquire unrelated links in order to increase ranking are considered spamming and as a result your Web site has been excluded from our index.

Please contact Live.com once you’ve removed these offending links and we will reevaluate the situation.”

Well, when I visited Barry’s blog, I had trouble finding the article but it’s apparently true, and here it is.

We all know that irrelevant links have long been pointless anyway, and now that they can actually harm you, why not take the time to review the outbound links on your site and clean them up?

Is there really a reason you would want one of your customers to go there? Is it there just because “they” have to verify that your link to them exists, so they’ll leave your link up? If so, then you too are engaging in this practice of attempted rankings manipulation..

Reciprocal linking was all the rage until a couple of years ago. It was an effective and legitimate seo strategy. Then link building abuse software came out, and most “white hat” SEO’s backed off the practice. Now, you can actually be hurt, so clean it up.

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