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Aidan, post: 81646 wrote:
Is there much doubt?

I’ve said for years now that links to a site are unlikely to cause a problem. If they did we could all outrank our competitors by buying lots of crappy links for our competitors, thus getting them banned or at least pushed down the SERPs!

But this is a known strategy? People build 100,000 adult forum links to their competitors using XRumer and they cause them a lot of issues.

Links can hurt your site, it’s been proven time and time again.

In my earlier SEO years I sponsored a WordPress theme, when that was the thing to do.

The theme was picked up by a spammer who used it across hundreds of different sub-domain blogs all interlinking. It blew out my link count to the thousands (those that were indexed by YSE, anyway) and they out-weighed the genuine links that I did have.

Not only that, you need a varied link portfolio – both anchor texts, sources, IPs, authority (yes, not just high authority), follow, dofollow, etc, as a varied portfolio makes it look more natural. When, suddenly, 90% of my link portfolio was using the same anchor text, with all links in the footer, it suddenly looked very obvious they were paid links.

Anyway, sure enough, that site has now had a penalty for nearly 6 months – which you would know is a fairly hefty penalty.