Due to some misconceptions that I have come across having to do with the Bad Neighborhood Detector tool, I need to clear up a couple of things. Let me say first and foremost that the tool is designed to help webmasters in determining whether or not they might want to link out to a particular website. It was designed to help reduce some of the effort involved with the manual checking process… the tool was not designed to replace the human decision making process in any way, shape, or form.
One of the things that the tool does is to flag any sites that could possibly be in industries that historically have been prone to high incidences of search engine spamming, such as the adult and pharmaceutical fields. Not all sites in those industries are involved with spamming by any means, but even when they aren’t many webmasters like to keep a family friendly experience for their users, and would still prefer not to link to them. To help identify sites of this nature, the tool examines the anchor text linking to the various pages, and checks for parts of certain words within them, such as “adult”, “sex”, and “pharma” (among others).
Just because someone links to a page using the anchor text “Unisex hair styles back in fashion”, “Family Fun For Adults and Children Alike”, or “Problem with drugs? Call our hotline today”, and the tool flags the website because of it, does not mean that you will get penalized for linking to them. The tools is intended to guide you to areas you might want to look at, not to dictate who you do or do not link out to.
There are sites in every industry that are involved in practices that could make them undesirable to link to, which is why the tools does more than just examine anchor text. The tool also does checks such as looking for a disproportionate amount of links from blogs. Since most commercial sites do not naturally attract the majority of their links from blogs, if you are scanning say, a site that sells lighting fixtures, and that has almost all of it’s links coming from blogs, then that site may have gained them from comment spam. If, however, you are scanning Michael Moore’s website, then it is only natural that a large number of bloggers would link to him. Again, human discretion is still needed to interpret the results.