Bad neighborhoods are groups of websites that search engines have downgraded because they violate search engine guidelines. Bad neighborhoods include sites that post spam content or use negative SEO techniques. Search engines may penalize your site's ranking if you end up in a bad neighborhood.
Search engines create bad neighborhoods by direct or indirect association, such as when site owners pay for backlinks or search engines find external links to and from low-quality websites.
Your website may be placed in a bad neighborhood if it has:
- Spam — Websites that contain irrelevant, low-quality content lowers the website’s SEO value
- Bad links — Websites with links that lead to parts of the internet called PPC (pills, explicit adult content, casinos) can have a lowered reputation and ranking
- Too many external links — Sites with too many links unrelated to the core content can be classified as link-building sites, resulting in a lower ranking
- Too many ads — A website flooded with ads will be indexed as low quality, especially if the ads don’t relate to the website's content
- Misleading content — A website that links to sites with misleading or inaccurate content or content that spreads misinformation can end up in a bad neighborhood
- Paid links — Buying links for SEO improvement is an old method to gain search preference that Google's algorithm now punishes