Sorry this site requires JavaScript to be enabled in your browser. See the following guide on How to enable JavaScript in Internet Explorer, Netscape, Firefox and Safari. Alternatively you may be blocking JavaScript with an advert-related or developer plugin. Please check your browser plugins.

Google’s Matt Cutts broke out the FUD at SES San Jose explaining why webmasters should not sell links or if they do why they should block those links from passing PR. This clearly breaks the G Webmaster Guidelines while building dependence on Adwords. Google is out of line and should avoid alienating their users.
Comments15 Comments  

Comments

Avatar
from Lasvegasguy 3766 Days ago #
Votes: 4

Google can only suggest what to do. Personally if a site wants/needs to sell links, its nobody’s business if they do.

Avatar
from rmccarley 3766 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Right but should Google penalize sites that do buy or sell links? To me that’s just out of line. And I’m not talking about a legal issue, just a consumer one. As one of Google’s customers and someone deep in the industry I think they are full of it and that this policy should quickly and quietly go away. It’s all about the oil... I mean money anyway. No bans for links!

Avatar
from Asia 3766 Days ago #
Votes: -4

I think there’s too much generalization on paid links. Many SEM’s analyze it way too much and alternately create chaos where none should exist. I have a very clear understanding of the following guideline: Don’t participate in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or “bad neighborhoods” on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links. Is quite easy to understand. If you pay attention to the actual as opposed to the perceived, this policy should be of no threat. Seriously, I feel those SEM’s who think this is such an outrageous policy, should really consider the repercussions should this policy be abolished. If paid links are not to be penalized, what would stop the spammers from taking full advantage of the situation? Or are most SEM’s blind to the fact that spammers are a large percentage of their reader volume. I am in total support of the no paid links policy.

Avatar
from ANOnym 3765 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Actually, Google not only suggests, but penalizes sites that are out of its guidelines, whatever they are :) Maybe we need to forget Google and work for our customers/visitors/readers :)

Avatar
from mvandemar 3765 Days ago #
Votes: 6

Actually, Asia, you have it wrong as do most people. Google is trying to say we are not allowed to endorse a site if that site happens to pay us for the endorsement, and that’s none of Google’s business. There are millions of sites out there worth endorsing, and if I choose to set aside a section of real estate on my websites for those who are willing to compensate me for doing so, then I should be free to do so without threat of reprisal from an internet giant such as Google. If Google stuck to penalizing for linking out to crappy sites, rather than trying to bully people, the the damn problem would take care of itself. Btw, spammers don’t buy high PageRank links, they have no need to. Google is too busy bullying innocent webmasters to deal with actual spammers atm.

Avatar
from rmccarley 3765 Days ago #
Votes: 2

It really scares me that Michael and I are in full agreement. Spammers spam sites with security holes and build link farms. They don’t purchase links. As an advertiser I’d want to buy links that attract business - links from sites related to mine. What’s the problem with that?

Avatar
from shortbus 3765 Days ago #
Votes: 0

This makes me as mad as the price of Ink cartages. Its OK for google to sell me ads and put them at the front of the serp but if i sell an ad with or buy an ad with a link I’m manipulating the serp. I google went away tomorrow the Internet would survive just fine with out them. I may sue google for using my content to improve their search results. How would that be for a traffic driver. Lets make it a class action law suit.

Avatar
from shortbus 3765 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Im so mad i had to write again lol. Next google will tell me that i can’t put paid advertising on my car if it has a link on it(i guess it would be ok if i put a not follow tag on my car). Im going to get rid of all of my adsense and move to yahoo or some other paid ads. I have already closed all my adwords accounts. Next they will try to charge us for clicking on their adsense ads if we didn’t really have any intent to buy something. OK im going to stop ranting now and go start a google free internet zone, that will show them.

Avatar
from rmccarley 3765 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I know what you mean shortbus. Every time I see Google making this claim I shut the office door and start typing... Because we use links for something other than they were intended doesn’t mean anyone else can! And could you not because it’s messing with us. In fact, we’re going to start smacking sites around that don’t comply... Huh?

Avatar
from todd 3765 Days ago #
Votes: 2

The best point in that article is that Google is OK with us buying from a paid directory like Yahoo!. As you all know, it’s $300/year which breaks down to $25/month. So this is to say that it’s OK when a quality review is behind it? Who is to judge whether or not the paid link is receiving a "quality" review? I’ve sold some links, and, the reason why they’re wanting links on my site(s) is because they are RELEVANT links!!! So, obviously, these are links that could be of interest to my users and obviously links that would help out the site paying for the link because it is RELEVANT!!! Doesn’t Google rank the relevance of an outbound link and not give much credit for irrelevant links? So, why don’t they just leave it at this? If someone is that dumb to buy an "online poker" text link from a website that is about "dogs", then they’re probably not going to get a very high relevance rating from the link and won’t get that much google love from it anyway... correct? You cannot tell me that Yahoo! really cares what links are in their directory... come on, of course they review them and don’t accept the spammy ones, but so do people who sell links on their personal websites! When is the last time you relied on Yahoo! directory for anything other than passing some PR anyway?

Avatar
from Lisaweb 3765 Days ago #
Votes: 2

This just peeves me to no end. Google has got to be the most hypocritical company on the planet in this day, just one short of the tobacco industry. Telling site owners it’s "polluting the web" to use paid links - when they are in the business of mass selling links themselves! "Don’t be evil" - Yeah, right. *hews chunks*

Avatar
from Asia 3765 Days ago #
Votes: 1

@mvandemar Actually, you’re probably correct in your own perceptions. For clarity however, endorsements are always noted as endorsements in the advertising world (cash for word - Paid by so and so or I’m Michael Jordan and I wear Hanes) No deceptions - clearly Hanes paid Michael to endorse their product. By your generalization, Michael Jordan could turn around and say the same - it’s not your business what boxers he wears - but he’s paid to endorse, and therefore he endorses and makes it everyone’s business. A paid link without notice as paid, is not endorsement but merely a paid link. By FCC Ruling, no advertisement, printed, televised or broadcasted, is allowed to be publicized without properly noting who is paying for it. What makes the SEM community different? Just because Online Marketing is new, does not make us immune to the laws that protect the consumer. It’s after all, the consumer who is ultimately the person who needs to be considered, since it’s his dollar we need to fulfill the clients goal, not the client who pays us for a link. I completely understand the "fight for SEM rights" that seem to be the nature of many SEM blogs, I don’t agree, but I understand, however, from my point of view, there seems to be a lot of misconception about what is being fought for. The right to advertise our clients products for the benefit of increasing sales or leads is something to fight for, but there is no war here - Google doesn’t penalize Paid Advertising if it’s noted properly. The right to disguise Paid Advertising in the hopes of benefiting our clients with higher rankings is just simply Spam and I’m all for dumping that war right back into a tin can it came out of.

Avatar
from rmccarley 3764 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Asia, I know you’re addressing Michael but I’d like to butt in here. The issue is Google telling us to design our sites for search engines, not for users. And that is a problem. If Google wants to add a ranking factor to their algo its on them to figure it out. It isn’t a webmaster’s problem that Google jumped in late in the game and decided to make links count for something new: SERP placement. Links were being sold before Google came around and they will continue to be sold. Google has no claim on what links should be and if it messes up their program that is their weakness and their problem. If supergizmo.com (made up website, just imagine something bigger than Google) came out with a "must use" program that penalized sites for cloaking links through JS, 302s, nofollows etc. would they be right for that? Third party sites shouldn’t be telling webmasters how to code their sites - that’s up to the W3C... sort of. As a separate issue, I think identifying whether or not a site sells links is good enough. It’s an advertising policy or disclosure statement. Very simple to implement. I don’t think you need to make every "ad" a banner on your site though with a headline, etc. I think there is a better solution that can make everyone happy and the easy thing for Google to do isn’t good enough.

Avatar
from iamlost 3764 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Yes, hypocrisy exists. So? Google can set any ToS conditions that it wants, provided they do not contravene an applicable law or regulation and are consistently and fairly applied. As paid links can, with a little thought and imagination, be invisibly incorporated into content - just like non-paid links - where they !surprise! tend to convert better, it is generally the lazy, ignorant, and out-dated who get noticed. Adapt or die applies to any eco-niche including Google. And the more you thrash about in the blog-fora underbrush bewailing the G-Rex the sooner you will be SERP droppings. My problem with Google has never been their requirements but their application. They do play favourites; not perhaps with the initial algorithmic discovery but certainly with the subsequent degree and time of applied penalty. Not being a Fortune 1000 comapny I find it best to quietly pay attention to Google’s ToS, public statements, and patent applications, quietly apply creative conservative imagination, update site behaviour risk assessments, and continually develop non-Google traffic and revenue. It is your personal choice whether or how to identify links and ads. You can follow applicable regulation, Google guidelines, or the channelling of Mark Twain; it remains good business practice to know and accept the potential consequences of your decision. You can always opt-out and block Google’s bots. They don’t ’have’ to index or rank your pages and you certainly do not ’have’ to allow them in. Very few relationships are equal, work within the various constraints to maximise your portion. The other side is.

Avatar
from LocalHound 3763 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I’m surprised by the anger I hear surrounding this topic. If Google ever came out and said "paid links are cool, go for it" it would reduce seo to adwords... most money wins.

Upcoming Conferences

Search Marketing ExpoSearch Engine Land produces SMX, the Search Marketing Expo conference series. SMX events deliver the most comprehensive educational and networking experiences - whether you're just starting in search marketing or you're a seasoned expert.



Join us at an upcoming SMX event: