The Quest For Good Links: Small Budgets And Bad Neighborhoods

Hi –

I am doing my own SEO. I run a small business and no offense – but I can’t afford the prices most companies charge. I’m working on improving my link popularity and I keep reading about bad neighborhoods. Don’t link to a bad neighborhood. Don’t let a bad neighborhood link to you. And I’ve read a lot of different theories about what a bad neighborhood IS… some articles make it sound like you shouldn’t even exchange links! I read a couple of your articles on links, and wonder what exactly YOU think a bad neighborhood is? And how do you tell if a bad neighborhood is linking TO you and how do you make them stop??

Chris Bannon
{website removed for privacy}

Hello Chris, and thank you for your question.

First, I want to start off by saying I checked the backlinks of your website using Yahoo and it looks like you are doing a pretty good job at getting good links that are related to your website. Since you sell something in the automotive industry, I was happy to see plenty of links that were also in the automotive industry – which is good. I did see a couple of websites that you were linking to that linked to a lot of different kinds of websites, not just ones related to the automotive industry; even though these websites are automotive websites and they might appear to be relative, quality links, they were linking to everything – from gambling, pharmaceutical to adult sites. This creates a huge ring of links that does not have a common theme; this ring is called a neighborhood, or ‘free for all’ linking scheme and should be avoided.

I would advise you to keep looking for links to exchange with, but make sure to concentrate on sites that focus on industry-related links only. You can also search for Automotive Directories in Google and try to get more directory links in the automotive industry. This is a very inexpensive way of getting quality, one-way links. Even a budget of $50.00 could get you one directory link a month! Also, do you belong to auto enthusiast forums and clubs? Can you join? Do they allow hyperlinks to member sites? Look into them – but truly participate if you join. This will send you traffic as well as links.

For the future – you can tell if a bad neighborhood is linking to you by checking your backlinks in Yahoo. Simply type in link: Can it hurt to have bad neighborhoods linking to you? You really cannot control if a spammy site or a scraper site is linking to you. A search engine algorithm is looking for percentages, so as long as you continuously work on building quality links, they will count much more heavily than a bad neighborhood, which is often out of your control.

About Sara Mannix

Sara Mannix founded Mannix in 1996 with a goal to get clients found on the web through organic search engine optimization (SEO). The company now serves over 1500 clients worldwide and employs a team of 30 specialists, operating under the tagline "Success Measured." The tagline reflects the company's focus on measurable results for every client. This multifaceted company is an industry leader, specializing in organic SEO, conversion rate optimization, SEO-friendly website design, paid advertising (PPC). Mannix Marketing has two divisions, one side is focused on lead generation for nationally competitive businesses. The other side is focused on local businesses. Mannix has one of the largest portfolios of tourism and city guides in Upstate New York. These guides, (,,, and etc), reach over 10 million visitors a year. Corresponding social media profiles for the region extend this reach to millions every month.

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