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Does Google Penalize Paid Links in Javascript?

Google's Matt Cutts Addresses Remaining Concerns

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You may recall back at SMX Seattle earlier this year, Google’s Matt Cutts talked at length about paid links. He touched upon the topic of Google being able to read javascript after giving out advice for so long to use javascript as a way to keep Google from reading paid links.

When asked about this, Matt said Googlebot had gotten smarter. He noted that Google began changing its messaging on the subject around 2007-2008 to stop mentioning javascript but to nofollow or do a redirect through a URL which is blocked through robots.txt.

Cutts noted that even on the onclick in javascript, the crawl and indexing team had submitted code so that it would respect a rel="nofollow". So you can put a rel="nofollow" attribute on a link that’s running in javascript, and more often than not, Google will make sure it doesn’t flow pagerank even if they’re executing the javascript.

Cutts did say, however, that if you want to be completely safe, to nofollow or link through things that are blocked.

Cutts revisited the topic in a recent upload to the Google Webmaster Central YouTube channel, in response to the following user question:

Now that Google can crawl JavaScript links, what is going to happen with all those paid links that were behind JavScript code? Will Google start penalizing them?

Matt reiterated that Google has gotten better at crawling javascript, and that URLs you put into javascript that you didn’t think would be crawled, might now possibly be crawled and indexed. He says the vast majority of people who do javascript links are ad networks and that Google handles these very well.

He then reiterated the use of nofollow, even within the javascript code, and the use of robots.txt to block out URls, and redirects.

"We find that the vast majority of paid links are typically not done with javascript," says Cutts. "They’re typically completely straight text links. so that’s where we’ve been spending the vast majority of our time."

Cutts says that Google is not currently penalizing paid javascript links, but they may start looking down the line. He says it hasn’t been a big issue at all in his experience though.

"If you’re selling text links, just make sure they don’t flow page rank and they don’t effect search engines," he says.

Does Google Penalize Paid Links in Javascript?


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  • http://www.mkv-converter-mac.com/ mkv

    I guess it will be a debate if Google really penalize them.

  • Web Dude

    Let me get this straight, we should place no follow links within javascript in order to properly pagerank sculpt, er not pass search juice for paid links?

  • http://lamujermaravilla.wordpress.com LaMujerMaravilla

    Yeah I guess by saying “If you’re selling text links, just make sure they don’t flow page rank and they don

    • http://www.redevolution.com RedEvo

      Google is saying if you are selling links to others to help them rank artificially high in the organic search results then don’t do it – just like they have always been saying. By all means sell links for traffic but not for anything else.

      To the best of my knowledge Google don’t sell links that improve your chances in the organic search results, maybe you know different?

      d

  • http://www.laokay.com Steven

    Basically no follow all the free links you put on a page and leave the paid ones without that tag.
    Including affiliate links.
    Including ad network feeds (unless the specific network doesn’t allow that).
    This way your direct advertisers will get the juice off the page and the others will not, even if they are in a script. Problem solved.

  • http://surveymoney.x10hosting.com Guest

    I am a single mom and lost my job about 3 months ago due to a layoff. I was scrambling to find work and came across online paid surveys. I thought why not try it well to my suprise I made almost $2000 dollars last month doing surveys from home and I didnt have to spend a dime up front.

    This has saved my house from foreclosure and I wanted to share this story so that others with the same plight might do the same thing.You can work from home and make a living it does take a while to get up to $2000 a month. I made about $500 my first month and this is month 3.

    This is a legitimate paid survey opportunity with no upfront money needed.I have detailed exactly how I did this on my webpage here http://www.surveymoney.x10hosting.com you may have to copy and paste that but check it out I detail exactly how to this for free.

  • http://www.surveymoney.x10hosting.com Guest

    I am a single mom and lost my job about 3 months ago due to a layoff. I was scrambling to find work and came across online paid surveys. I thought why not try it well to my suprise I made almost $2000 dollars last month doing surveys from home and I didnt have to spend a dime up front.

    This has saved my house from foreclosure and I wanted to share this story so that others with the same plight might do the same thing.You can work from home and make a living it does take a while to get up to $2000 a month. I made about $500 my first month and this is month 3.

    This is a legitimate paid survey opportunity with no upfront money needed.I have detailed exactly how I did this on my webpage here http://www.surveymoney.x10hosting.com you may have to copy and paste that but check it out I detail exactly how to this for free.

  • http://www.metacafe.com/watch/2579262/west_coast_vinyl/ West Coast Vinyl

    Great google is doing more and crawling javascripts, makes it easier for us to advertise with javas and not worry if we will be penalized.

  • Nedguy

    I’ve been SEOing my own sites since 2002. I used to hoover up every morsel from Matt Cutts’ mouth and watch the data centres as ‘dances’ propagated through them. Then I realised I was spending more time Google-watching than concentrating on my sites.

    I have a travel directory – which makes me a sick and twisted monster in Google’s eyes – and a couple of years ago I did get bullied by Google into attaching link condoms (nofollow) to all my thousands of outgoing links… for a few months. Then I thought, “wait a minute. Google is making me do the exact opposite of what is true”.

    ALL the companies I list are good companies that I DO approve of. That’s the stated purpose of my site. I’m linking to them precisely because I think my visitors should know about them. I don’t have paid links. 1.1% of my links came through my pay-for-review system (yes Google, e-commerce on a directory! Must be dodgy!). Most get through, some don’t. ALL descriptions on ALL links are written by me, NOT by the company.

    My attitude since then has been: screw Google – if it isn’t clever enough to assess my site, it’ll just have to get cleverer. I’m not waiting for it to catch up, because with the growth of social media my audience is increasingly finding me other ways, and even Google’s dull-witted algorithms can spot that.

    I recently started adding affiliate ads and text links to the site (after a tour operator mentioned they had just made a

    • http://website-in-a-weekend.net/ Dave Doolin

      I totally agree: google isn’t your audience, and you have to write for your audience or the whole enterprise is an exercise in futility.

    • http://www.medlawplus.com Joe

      Well said Nedguy. My feeling is like yours. I create sites for users, not google. I have a professional services directory in my website. It’s full of links. They are there to help the users find doctors, lawyers, accountants. I’m not going to “nofollow” the entire site just to suite google.

    • http://www.letsgototurkey.com Ozgur

      very cool aproach friend, although I still do not understand the link issue, mouth to mouth is always the cheapest, and most trustable way of adv, if you do your job good. And maybe it s time for everbody to do their business well, and deserve the interest of audience, not struggling with dodgy robots.

  • http://www.madrastravels.com Travel Agents Chennai, Travel Agency Chennai, Tours and Trav

    the information is useful

  • Guest

    IMO, Dayton, this is just an affiliate for one of the “survey taking” scams. This is especially annoying, leaping from spam emails to spamming forums. Most likely a copy and paste job by an affiliate with no scruples.

    So as not to let the spammer ruin the topic, it is distressing that Google can follow my JS links. They’re not even paid links and I have had them in there for years to link to a maximum amount of relevant material without bloating the page with code. It is also more flexible when I have to add or delete listings. One line of comment and it is out. It also makes it easier to add a link and minimize typos. We are not all nefarious just because we are clever.

  • http://www.kafe-iklan.com/ Jerry

    I hope better not.. I don’t understand how to add nofollow tag to the links on javascript

  • http://lakecountytravelguide.com Scott Galvin

    Seems to me that Google has a pretty flawed system. Think about it, they need to tell people how to setup their website a certain way to make it possible for them to rank websites. They have creating a system that is completely dependent on counting links pointing to a website. It is doomed to be gamed and fail. I can’t wait for a better system where content really is king.

  • http://www.woofahs.com Bob in Sunny Queensland

    Aren’t paid links a form of advertising? Isn’t advertising a site showing that you believe in a site? That you believe that the site is offering something to people.

    Paid links would appear to be the same as Google Adwords, except that the person presenting the ads has total control over who advertises.

    • http://dedlines.com dedlines

      I think its funny how Google offers publisher ads to anyone then revokes, denies, or refuse’s to respond to requests for PIN codes. I wonder how many other people get or got punked by Google in the same fashion?

      http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=Google+PIN+request&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&oq=&aqi=

      (That’s cash Google is not paying people through denial of pin codes….)

      You will notice that webpro offers advertising that is not Google Adword based, they might have Google ads in rotation somewhere but they have their own sponsors to worry about. Google AdSense is not the way to go unless you are the top dog in some kind of weird niche that makes you go why didn’t I think of that?

  • http://str82u.net Str82u

    By adding “nofollow” to the link, we’re saying “This site isn’t worth my page rank and I don’t want to be associated with it” and now “This might also be a paid link”. Of course, we also use it for terms of service or other pages we don’t want included, but I’m just wanting another opinion or two.

  • http://www.webpronews.com sachin

    we dont offer paid links but we have so many Affiliated link on the every pages in javascript. the link is called using function on the page and not using no folllow. sud we go for the rel-nofollow or sud we redirect the all url using a redirection file and we sud block that file in robots file including no follow tag on the page…

  • http://www.happytiffany.com Guest

    I guess it will be a debate if Google really penalize them.
    tiffany silver rings

    Tiffany 1837

  • http://www.gardenfurnituresets.net/index.php?cPath=1 garden furniture sets

    This doesn’t affect me at all as I don’t use java script links. I don’t get involved with any paid links anyway as I think it’s all a bit dodgy.

    Cheers
    GFS
    home garden furniture

  • Kain

    Once again the spam nazis at Google tighten their stranglehold on the web.

    First the forced webmasters to add no-follow to normal urls in case they passed pagerank, now the want us to rewite javascript code to make up for deficiencies in their aglo.

    The nofollow attribute was designed to state that I do not vouch for this site and have no connection with this link. Now it means it could be advertising, a link trade etc or any other perfectly normal web practice.

    Time to go to Bing

    • http://www.controldatainc.com Collection agencies

      I agree google has played so many games with its black art of ranking I think many people are tired of it. We have switched to Bing and never looked back.

  • http://www.tmdesigner.it Tmdesigner

    ..ci sar

  • http://www.partystuffonline.co.uk Guest

    Hi

    We used to have adsense on our website and use Adwords for Promotion

    How does this effect us at www.partystuffonline.co.uk

    Do we get penalize for using Adsense or Adwords

    Thanks for reading

  • http://www.belrouge.com/ Guest

    It looks automated to me.

    Anyone know of a class you can take on SEO?

  • Googler

    Google’s continuing obsession to punish non-compliant sites is reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials. Too many innocent white hat websites get caught up in Google’s unrelenting de-indexing of “non-compliant” sites.

    My site has been repeatedly tortured throughout the last 8 months be a reoccurring penalty which has cost me far too much time and money to ensure that my 100% clean site stays out of the penalty box to no avail.

    I wish Google would concentrate on better communication with innocent and wrongly punished webmasters whose sites and livelihoods are being destroyed by misplaced penalties, as opposed to dreaming up more and more complicated ways to ruin small businesses for perceived non-compliance.

    To be sure, if your site is a victim of this new penalty, Google won’t let you know. Your site will just disappear from the SERPS and you’ll be left chewing off every limb trying to figure out the mess.

    Google, please let webmasters know why they are being punished! A simple explanation after reading reconsideration requests would save everybody, including yourselves, a lot of wasted time and money.

    • Bj

      Could not agree more. Google needs to work with webmasters to help resolve problems.

      As it is now Google are judge, jury, and hangman and there is NO appeal.
      My Adsense account was suspended with NO reason given and despite asking why, I am still waiting for a response 12 months later.

      It is very clear that google do not want anyone making any money unless they are getting a cut,
      and they will suspend any account with false accusations of click fraud just so that they do not have to pay you your share.

      If you ask what exactly is wrong they will tell you nothing quoting thier “No information supplied” policy. It is blatantly clear even to a deaf, dumb and blind corpse that has been dead for 100 years that they are thieves, liars, and con artists.

      My account was on sites that I NEVER EVER advertised – all the traffic came from search engines , primarily Google themselves, yet they stole almost $100 from me.

      • DC

        Google insisted on taking money from my credit card after reactivating an inactive advertising campaign. They reactivated the advertising campaign without advising me. I only new because large chunks of money got taken from my credit card.

        In the end I had to issue a chargeback. my bank supported my claim and I got my funds back. google continued to harass me over it for 12 months. They seem to have given up now.

        I emailed them multiple times but their responses were blunt, “The ads ran therefore you owe us” even though it was them who activated the ads six months after they originally rejected them.

        Anyway Google gets away with the crap they do because few can afford to challenge them. If you took them to court under Discovery they would be forced to reveal the reasons for terminating your account AND the proof. Otherwise the courts will find against them. Is it worth it for 100? probably not.
        A class action may do the job, there must be hundreds if not thousands out there with a similar story. but make sure of your own facts before you do. otherwise it could be a very expensive exercise.

    • http://www.xlpharmacycanada.com Joe J

      I agree that Google should tell 100% compliant sites why they end up in the sand box and help them become fine tuned in order to be listed and ranked. It is cruel that they just throw you out or skip you over and not tell you why. I have used many tools to ensure my site has good code, descriptions, keywords, etc…and all say that my site is 100% satisfactory to be picked up by SE’s. Yahoo, MSN, they all pick it up, but Google always penalizes yet never says WHY?

  • http://vista-sg.blogspot.com/ Vista SG

    You’re all right. Seems Google wants to be the no #1. might be the King of search engine and didn’t want any competitors like Yahoo, MSN beats him. We have to served Google like a King, just accepted what is going on. LoL. It doesn’t apply if you have the bargain power as John cow do.

  • http://www.suround.com suround

    I strongly agree with your writing, that the paid links dangerous for owners blog, because it can drop the pagerank. blogs can also disappear from Google index if it is proved to have the practice of buying and selling links. www.suround.com auctioned with price of $ 1000 or negotiations .

  • http://www.shows-and-movies.com/category/video/shows/skins/ Movies

    You already know thus significantly relating to this subject, made me in my opinion believe it from so many varied angles. Its like women and men don’t seem to be involved until it’s one thing to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your personal stuffs excellent. Always deal with it up!

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