Outbound links and negative SEO

Do outbound links somehow penalize your Page Rank on Google? If not, why does it seem that free directories and small social news sites have such low Page Ranks?

10 dofollow links and another 75 nofollow links, the PR is split only 10 ways, correct? And, the other 75 links don’t penalize at all.

Penalize is not the right word. I presume you mean: are the other 75 links playing a role in passing PR to the 10 dollow links?

It seems, the answer is yes. Each of the do follow links may get only 1/85 (not 1/10) of the PR juice.

The issue was known as “Page Rank sculpting”. According to some reports (including Matt Cutts, member of google staff), google’s policy in this matter changed in 2009. The matter remains a bit unclear (external links and/or internal links, change made in 2009 or made public in 2009,…)

See more information:

Ok, so it is, in fact, true that Google takes page content into no consideration for PR? It only considers the links?

Also, outbound links don’t penalize your PR, but they take away from the power of your outbound links’ PR, yes?

Where does the original PR come from then? How did pages originally acquire PR to pass onto other pages?

Google require that any outgoing links that have been purchased contain rel=“nofollow” so as to make it easier for Google to not pass on any PR for purchased links. If the page you bought the link on doesn’t do that then when Google find out they will take away all the PR of the page to ensure that the bought links comply with their rule of not passing any PR.

Tricky not to. Stymiee used to have a bunch of cut and paste answers, he had the right idea.

At the risk of sounding redundant, it’s quality not quantity:

  • PR is not a reflection on traffic volume
  • PR is not a reflection on the number of pages or members
  • PR is not a reflection on the number of back-links (1 million PR0 backlinks from forum signatures still doesn’t add up to much more than 0)
  • PR is a reflection on the popularity of a website based on the links (votes) from other higher regarded and relevant (popular) sites and pages.

I have set-up and tested a brand new site that was given a single inbound link from a PR5 page with 15 outbound links on it. 2 months later that site, with only that single inbound link had a toolbar PageRank score of 3. Read in to that what you will.

I just find this so odd. Is it because the descriptions for the links on these social news sites aren’t that great?

I remember within a few months I had a PR 4 website on google and thought nothing of letting it go. I was about to enter college and didn’t have time for a website. Now that I’m graduating I want to actively develop a website again. But, I look at some of these social sites that have been around for a while and have hundreds if not thousands of users and only have PR of two or three. I just wonder how I could have possible reached PR 4 when my website averaged less then 40 unique visitors a day. And, the only reason that it got that many is because Microsoft’s search engine loved my website for some random reason.

Are these social news sites intrinsically poorly designed for attaining high PR or is it because the new ones tend to have a lot of spam and not very good article submission? Has PR gotten harder to gain since 2007 or was my website just a fluke?


Google matters the out bound links passing from your pages for PR. If the amount of outbound links are more in your web page than your inbound links it will surly affects the PR in Google, but AOL is different it takes most outbound links. As Google algorithm based on the algorithm based on the voting system the inbound link plays a crucial role in increasing PR, especially if it is coming from trust worthy sites.

No outbound links do not penalise the page at all.

It is the quality of the inbound links that determines Page Rank.

The quality of your content will determine how many other pages will want to link to you and the sorts of sites you mentioned gerenally do not have the sort of quality content to get them quality inbound links.

That makes sense.

I think this is the last question. Is it true, then, that Google only splits up your outgoing PR on outbound links that are dofollow?

For example, if I have a PR of 5 and I have 10 dofollow links and another 75 nofollow links, the PR is split only 10 ways, correct? And, the other 75 links don’t penalize at all.

PR is specifically about the incoming links to your page, the PR of the pages they come from, and how many other outgoing links there are on those pages that link to you. It has nothing whatever to do with relevance and almost nothing to do with where your page appears in the search results.

How can you say that outbound link can’t get you penalized??? They can if link to a lot of sites off topic!

Well, I’ve read that links that are relevant are actually really helpful to your site. So, that leads me to believe that if you have links to websites and a good description about them (directories, for example) that should be good. But, it seems to be the opposite.

Also, from what I’ve gathered from an informant at Google, Google doesn’t explicitly rank the relevance of a website in terms of it’s content. That seems extremely absurd to me, but, this person knows what their talking about.

That being said, it implies that who you link to is much more important than how relevant the text is. Which makes sense, because a lot of these newer sites are not being linked to and are linking out to sites with low PR.

It’s very hard for me to believe that some of these sites have such low PR if outbound linking doesn’t directly affect PR. And, the above seems to explain how that could be possible.

Now, I don’t know much about Sphinn, but I think it’s relatively new. And, given the structure of their page, it would make sense how they’ve acquired to be PR 6 in a relatively short time and others are unable to get above 2 or 3.

Sphinn focusing on linking to more well known websites and focuses the information on their homepage very well. Also, Sphinn provides much better descriptions than similar websites. Additionally, Sphinn isn’t very popular, so this all seems to make sense to me.

Am I right? On the right track? Or completely wrong?

Outbound links don’t penalize the sites but they do give some of that link juice that they are receiving and redirecting some of it to other sites that they are linking to.

Wow, I’ve always thought that the number of outbound links was compared to the number of inbound link and that it was a factor to your PR! Thanks for clearing this one up for me

Google give all pages (other than those they’ve banned) a set PR to start things off.

Just remember that PR is only one of over 200 algorithmns that Google use to rank pages in the search results and many of the others relating to the relevance of the content and how relevant the links are have far greater importance than PR does.

Also the single digit numbers that Google publish are converted from the true PR using a logarithmic scale.

Not true. You can have a PR5 site and just a hundred inbound links from high PR sites. Putting a million outbound links won’t change your PR5.

Also, AOL doesn’t have PR. Only Google does.

Let me make it simpler.

Inbound links makes your PR assuming those links has PR as well. No PR, no PR juice pass. So you might get a PR1 if you have like 50 PR 1 sites linking to you with dofollow. Or get a PR2 if a couple of PR5 sites link to you (again it muct be a dofollow sites)

Outbound links (on your site) gives out PR. So if your site has no PR, you have no PR to give. But the more outbound links you have, the less PR you are giving to your links. Say, you got 10 outbound links, then you divide your PR to 10 of them.

So, if you intend to buy links for PR sake, then buy from a site or page with less outbound links. On the other hand, you might be able to sell links a lot higher if your site has less outbound links.

There are no penalties per say for link to off-topic sites. If there were then every site with a links/resources page would be penalized. LOL Your links to those off topic sites might be ignored or devalued by Google’s algorithm because they are not relevant to that other site’s URL, but the likelihood of you being penalized is zilch.

The only penalties associated with outbound links are caused when you link out to a bad neighborhood site. If you link to a site that is caught by Google violating their guidelines and they are penalized, depending on the severity of that site’s offense(s) your URL can also be penalized for promoting such a site if you linked to them with a FOLLOWed link.

If you’re not 100% sure that the site you’re linking to is a very reputable site, you’d be wise to NOFOLLOW the link.

You could have phrased that better, made it clear that you mean PR. Who you link to can have a massive effect on the authority of a page and you know that.