I was asked to remodel a website, and decided to check its rank on alexa. Surprisingly, there are many, many different websites linking to it, none relevant.

One particular thing about it is that none of these urls work, and they all display the exact same error when accessed, which to me is a very good indication that this is some sort of linking scheme. (besides the somewhat obvious names, it even says scheme in one of the urls !?)

If so, how should i proceed about this website? What can i do if this is in fact a scheme, how can this hurt the website, what types of problems can i face, and what can i do about it?

addurlnow . info
dirlist15.addurlnow . info/Business___Economy/Services/page-12.html 

linkdirectory101 . info
dirlist16.linkdirectory101 . info/Business___Economy/Services/page-15.html 

seonetblog . info
dirlist52.seonetblog . info/Business___Economy/Affiliate_Schemes 

addurls . us
dirlist21.addurls . us/Business___Economy/Services/page-10.html 

webdirectoriessite . info
dirlist20.webdirectoriessite . info/Business___Economy/Services/page-6.html 

addurlstore . info
dirlist10.addurlstore . info/business___economy/services/page-14.html 

ukwebdirectorys . info
dirlist21.ukwebdirectorys . info/Business___Economy/Services/page-13.html 

It does sound like some sort of scheme. The problems with such practices are discussed in this thread about buying back links.

If these sites are dead, there may not be anything to worry about, but if you wish to be sure you could use link disavowal tools in Google and Bing WMT to indicate that you don't wish to be associated with them.

  • Before using the disavow tool, can you check whether those links are passing any SEO benefit or not (this seems to be more of some automated directory submission tool at work). – Prasad Ajinkya Dec 19 '12 at 14:12
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    @Prasad Surely, if he suspects them of being part of a scheme, then there is by definition no SEO benefit, only a large risk. Also, he's not clear if by "error" he means HTTP error, but if he does, then these things are dead anyway. – GDVS Dec 19 '12 at 14:24
  • True! Upvotes all the way! – Prasad Ajinkya Dec 19 '12 at 14:26
  • They all give this error: Fatal error: require_once() [function.require]: Failed opening required 'include/config.php' (include_path='.:/usr/local/php5/lib/php') in /home/content/f/u/y/fuyun014/html/init.php on line 134 – riseagainst Dec 19 '12 at 19:24
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    @guisasso Just a PHP error, then. As per my answer above, use disavow tools to clean up any links that look anything other than legitimate. Besides, if those links have harmed the site's performance, the harm's already done - it's not going to look like your re-design screwed things up. In fact, if you clean this stuff up and do a great re-design, site performance should improve. – GDVS Dec 19 '12 at 21:12

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