I was wondering. Lately for one of my sites people have been asking to purchase a simple site-wide sponsored link on my site. Currently I have like 5 of them and the sites are quality sites with fast growing rankings. Does having simple one-way links on your site hurt your ranking with Google? Does it matter the quality, PR or alexa ranking of the sites that you are linking to?
Yes, the quality of links (ie, the quality, reputation, PR etc of the site/page giving the link) will have an impact on your search ranking. But unless you have got links from a bad neighbourhood, it is unlikely to pull your ranking down. If you’ve got links from sites that aren’t doing anything bad, but haven’t got a lot of google-cred, that won’t harm you, they just won’t give you as much of a boost.
Links from bad neighbourhoods can have an impact, particularly if you have a high proportion of them to good links, but Google aren’t going to penalise that too much because it would be very easy to manipulate it and for people to harm their competitors!
Paid links should always be marked as ‘nofollow’, and so should have no impact at all in your search ranking, either for inbound links or outbound links.
To address the actual question in the original post: yes, the quality of sites you link OUT to does matter. The PR doesn’t matter (because you’re sending them PR, unless you nofollow the links) and Alexa ranking is more or less useless for any purpose other than selling your site, so don’t worry about that. But yes, the quality of those sites you link to can affect your rankings, especially their own linking practices. If you link to a whole bunch of spammy link farms just because they paid you, that can hurt your rankings. Only link to sites that have a genuine use for your visitors, and nofollow paid links to be on the safe side.
Yes, sure for Google is likely to penalize the websites or blogs that resorted to buying of links. Buying of links should be avoided.
That’s a pretty sweeping generalization. Think about it - is there really no such thing as a beneficial paid link? Yahoo Directory, anyone? Go take a look at the Matt Cutts video on Youtube about this topic. Editorial standards have a lot to do with it.
What about image links… ie: paid ads that are just an image with a link??? Does google take into consideration that you have an image that links to another site and does not hurt you because the site you are linking to has a bad or 0/10 PR?