What is a Bad Neighborhood?

Mary McMahon

Everyone knows that a bad neighborhood can bring down property values, and the same thing holds true on the Internet. Much like a literal bad neighborhood, an Internet bad neighborhood is filled with questionable sites, some of which may even be harmful. Linking to such sites can cause a site's search ranking to go down, and in some cases large numbers of inbound links from a bad neighborhood can also compromise search rankings.

Police may be assigned to keep watch of a bad neighborhood.
Police may be assigned to keep watch of a bad neighborhood.

A wide variety of sites could be considered residents of a bad neighborhood, including scraper sites, link farms, sites with large amounts of spam or malware, or sites with illegal material. If you link to such a site on your website, you could be lumped in with other sites in the bad neighborhood, and penalized as a result. Likewise, such sites may also try to inflate their search rankings by linking to you, making it look like they are affiliated with legitimate web sites, and some search engines may penalize people for this as well.

Bad neighborhoods can include scraper sites, link farms, or sites with large amounts of spam and malware.
Bad neighborhoods can include scraper sites, link farms, or sites with large amounts of spam and malware.

It's pretty easy to avoid linking to a bad neighborhood, but it's a good idea to check the outbound links on your site periodically. Sometimes, domains expire, and they are turned into link farms or stuffed with questionable material, so a once-valid link becomes bad. On other occasions, you may link to a site in a bad neighborhood entirely by accident, unaware that the site has large amounts of spam or malware somewhere in its depths. Spammers are also notorious for using redirects which can turn good links into bad ones. You can also link to a bad neighborhood by proxy, by linking to a site which has links to a bad neighborhood.

A number of online tools can be used to scan your domain for bad links; www.bad-neighborhood.com is a good place to start. Most of these tools are free, making them well worth the effort. You can also manually scan links on your site, which can also alert you to any security breaches; hackers are fond of trying to penetrate server protections to place links or other harmful material on websites, especially blogs.

Even a search engine knows that people sometimes make mistakes, so a single link to a bad neighborhood isn't going to boot you off the rankings. If, however, a site routinely links to questionable sites, it may start to slip in the rankings or be delisted, in extreme cases. If you think that you have been penalized in error, you can submit a claim to the search engine, asking to be re-evaluated and re-listed.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a EasyTechJunkie researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


The neighbor from hell moved in four years ago, never takes care of his home or property, has video taped our property, invaded our privacy and provokes our dogs constantly to try to get them to bark. They are labs and good with our children and other dogs, people, and are non-aggressive. He has bullied us by suing us for 25,000,00 plus punitive damages. No one was ever hurt, and no damages.

As defendants with two small children I have tried to settle, paid a lawyer 2,500 dollars so far and only 15min of actual court, but because the husband (who is a school teacher) has a brother who is a criminal lawyer who is representing them and the wife became a secretary for a law firm (that is not even representing them), they have bullied us into selling our home of eight years and moving out of town.

We have letters from all other neighboring properties telling the truth, but they seemed to manipulate their way into a trial date for january. I pray for a good judge who will see these plaintiffs for what they are: gold diggers and bullies!

I sold my house and lost money but at least my kids will be better off away from them. I would never do such a thing to anyone's family and believe as a catholic to be good to thy neighbor as our laws were fundamentally built with good morals. I hope justice is served to them and all their lies! They are gold digging bullies! Wish my family luck at our january 2012 trial.

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