Over time, various forums and blogs devoted to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) have pondered whether or not inbound links from poor quality sites can have a negative impact on your own site's ranking and it's performance within the search engines.
We've always felt quite strongly about this subject. Google is far from stupid, and is surely understanding enough to realise that some poor quality links are attracted naturally as opposed to actively searched for. That said, we've always said that as long as you don't go looking for trouble, you're unlikely to see any punishment due to bad inbound links.
Google rarely offers a definitive answer to SEO questions in a bid to keep the core of it's ranking algorithm a secret. Often, Google representatives will simply say something along the lines of, 'don't focus too much attention on this, just look to provide quality content to your visitors'. Fortunately, we've been able to get a pretty definitive answer in this case and what's more, it's the answer we've been looking for!
JohnMu, a Googler who is fairly active on a few of the SEO forums stated that 'in general, bad links [that link] to your site will not affect your site's crawling, indexing or ranking in Google's search results'.
What does this mean for SEO?
This is of course, good news for web-masters and SEOs alike. Nobody wants to have their site punished for something outside of their control. Whilst we are happy with the answer JohnMu gave with regards to this point, he also took the time to suggest scenarios which may result in Google punishing your site. He says that it is common for spammers to link to hacked sites, meaning it is important for you to keep checking to see whether you are still in full control of your domain and server. If you are sure that you are in full control, then you don't have to worry - so chill out!