Search engine optimization (SEO) executives have been advised to check that incoming website links do not come from sites that contain malware.

Loren Baker, editor of Search Engine Journal, said that it is possible links from malware-infested sites could lower search rankings.

While Google takes pains to emphasize that inbound links do not necessarily hamper search rankings as webmasters have little control over these, some SEO executives have claimed that they have actually seen website rankings fall due to bad links, Mr Baker explained.

He advised that professionals make use of Google’s Safe Browsing Diagnostic Checker tool to ensure inbound links do not come from malware-hosting sites.

"If Google feels that the site is malicious, chances are linking to these bad sites, or building links from them, can hurt your rankings – which in the long run, can damage your business," Mr Baker stated.

Tom Griffiths of digital agency Cheeze recently said in a column for Netimperative that one way of attracting good inbound links is to ensure the company has adequate online press exposure to naturally build high quality incoming links.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.