I have heard several agitated webmasters complain of ranking drop after Google Penguin Update. Google changed the way it evaluates links and that has created a huge outcry all over the internet . A few webmasters even complained that google penalized them for bad quality one way links.
I don’t think Google Should or Can penalize you for bad one way links. Off course they can become good at guessing the two way links that are not genuine, and could pull your PR down if they find any dubious two way links. But one way links are a different story.
The main difference between one way and two way links is the control you have on removing the links. You can always remove a two way link ( at least from your site making it a one way link), . However one way links are action of someone else and you will have to ask the person who created it, to remove it too.
Do you really think Google can penalize you for someone else’s action ? There are many legitimate ways in which bad one way links can be created. Imagine scenarios like the following
1. Credit Links to Joomla Theme, Plugin, Opensource Script.
If I create a Joomla theme that requires a backlink to my site as a credit, and a dubious website selling porn uses this theme. Should google down my rank for this ?
Would the ranking of Joomla.org go down if there are enough bad quality websites created in Joomla with the link at the bottom intact ?
2. A Genuine interest from a Low quality site.
What is the webmaster of a low quality website really has a need to link to my site. A cell phone seller with extremely poor quality site ( duplicated content, copied pictures, bad layout…) links to apple.com for the user to see the specifications of the iphone they are selling, should it affect apple.com PR, just because there is a bad incoming link.
Imagine a website created to impersonate HSBC bank and steal the login information. Now if this site links to HSBC, is it reasonable to think that google would down the ranking for HSBC ?
3. A Rogue Websites created to hijack your PR by creating one way link
Now Imagine if someone creates a couple of bad websites and create links to your website, just to pull your PR down. It’s not difficult to create a bad website and link it to your competitor’s website. If google ranking could be affected this way, the webmasters of poor quality sites could find a way making money from their websites finally.
I still think Google doesn’t penalize you for bad one way links . One of the websites I manage was showing several missing pages linked from websites like docinweb.com and searchuu.com. These sites created links to non exiting contents on my website but it DID NOT effect my ranking in Google. However I was sure if there were missing links in MY sitemap (over which I have full control), it would effect my ranking.
When you put a two way link on your website, it’s understood that either there is a genuine reason/need like common/related content between two websites, or it was put as a collaborative effort to mislead the search engine. If the algorithm sees that there was very little or no related content between two sites and the 2 way link was there just to mislead the search engine, they should and will down your rank. But penalizing you for one way link coming to your website, without your knowledge ? I don’t think it’s logical to do that.
What are your views ? have you noticed any change in your ranking because of bad one way links ?