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What Do You Think About Paid Links?

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Paid links and PR drops were a hot topic at Pubcon Las Vegas last week. We talked to Matt Cutts about it in a video interview, and he explained it quite rationally.

What’s interesting to me though is the reaction we see from our readers. Some are vehemently opposed to what they consider Google strong arm tactics and then there are those of you who think Google is performing a service to the internet community by cracking down on paid links.

What Do You Think About Paid Links?
What Do You Think About Paid Links?

As such, I wanted to post some of the more interesting comments we’ve received to the issue so far and basically ask for some more feedback from WebProNews readers on the subject.

Are paid links a necessary evil? Are they necessary at all? Is Google taking a proper stance when they say ‘NO’, or should they maybe try to find some middle ground? Keep in mind, Google has created the ‘link economy’ with it’s algorithmic emphasis on links=quality… so is Google really serving the ‘greater good’ or just looking out for number one here?

» Natural Products Says:

Great interview. Seems like big brother is putting the hammer down on paid links. Thanks for the video.

» Submitted by Bill Inman

Google decided to become a dictator a long time ago. Trying to control every aspect of our web sites, where we now spend more time worrying about what Google is going to do with our web site, than we do trying to design a site that will best serve the needs of our potential customers.

Google created the whole issue of "links" which has resulted in all the silly link pages everyone created, and now thew paid links.

My advice to Google is to get out of the role, and the opinion, that the world should revolve around them, and controling everything about our web sites.

Google is a good idea gone mad!

» Submitted by Dave Robinson

I think Google’s stance on the whole link debate is fair and honest. The reason for linking being seen as a measure of a sites importance has it’s roots in academia where peer reviewed papers would reference other works of note. Google wasn’t playing some game, it created a system that rewarded hard work. Now this has been circumvented it’s only right that Google tries to address this.

IMHO

» Submitted by SEO book Uk

There us a way to get even with google just pull adsense from your sites if 1 Million website pulled adsense for just a day google would notice a drop in revenue and will think twice before make webmaster angry again

» Submitted by David Jenkins

I’m all for the demise of paid links having spent over seven years building an information site that has never paid for a link and never will.

I am delighted that Google is taking this stance and would be glad to see "content is God" dominating the search results again.

» Submitted by Jim

In reference to Google’s insistence that they are a private company and can do what ever they want. Les we forget, the power of Google is granted by the web users and masters. Currently web masters are the biggest users of the Google browser. It is web masters pages posting Google adds, and Google searches that built Google’s popularity. The foundation of Google rest with the web master, combined we propelled Google to the top, and combined we can kick the feet out from under it. Change you adds to Yahoo, Change your search engines. In short, stop using Google, and Google shall fall.

» Submitted by Nicole on Tue, 12/11/2007 – 14:53.

As a small business web-site owner, AND as an in-house SEO writer for a large company, I frankly am happy that Google is downgrading paid-link sites that pass on link juice. When wearing my small biz hat, I can’t afford to buy paid links and it gives bigger companies an advantage I can’t yet afford. I think Google is indeed living up to their ‘do no evil’ company motto by doing this.

» Submitted by Kevin Hillman

People that support Google in any way just further the scam. Every link on any Google site is there because Google was paid to place the link there. They just like to make every site conform to their heavy handed rules. They want to own the entire internet and will crush any website they don’t agree with.

Do you agree or disagree with the above comments? Are paid links just part of business, or are they something evil when they influence search results?

Add your thoughts here

Watch the video, and read the article where our readers above commented.

 

 

What Do You Think About Paid Links?


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  • http://www.industry2industry.com Mary Wells

    While I’m happy that people can’t falsify the authority of their site by buying paid links, the Google devaluation of paid links affects resource sites who were counting on the revenue from those links to pay for their site. While my site does not charge for links, the prospect of charging for those links at some future date has been squashed by Google’s devaluation of paid links. Other sites affected by this devaluation are GlobalSpec, Thomas Register, Kelley Search and other industrial online resources.

  • http://www.weboptimist.com Richard V. Burckhardt

    It’s just so hypocritical. Google is the largest seller of links on the planet. Take away any benefit of buying links from the little guys and that leaves Google.

    As far as I’m concerned, they’re blowing smoke about cracking down on paid links because of search “quality.” They want Adwords “quantity.”

    They’re definitely looking out for #1.

  • http://www.jumbocdinvestments.com ChrisCD

    We haven’t paid for links, not to say we wouldn’t. But if we did, it would be purely for traffic purposes. Which is probably the reason to do it.

    When it comes to Google creating this monster in the first place, how do you rank two pages which in all respects are equal. Now multiply that by hundreds of millions. Links had to become part of the equation.

    We wouldn’t mind selling links, but it would be for traffic purposes. [Note: Matt we aren't at this time]. If we did we would add the nofollow tag.

    The other side of the coin is SEO/SEM itself is a “game” of using “approved” techniques for ranking your site above other sites. So with that in mind, how is utilizing paid links vs. paid SEO/SEM people much different?

  • Bil Bahooka

    I think alot of people are getting immune to the paid links that pop-up in search engine results. I automatically turn a blind eye to PCC ads… all of my clients are getting page 1 returns with the organic SEO we do for them – only 2 of my clients have opted to add PPC campaigns to their optimizations. Organics… more bang for the buck in the long run.

  • http://airtravelcenter.com/ Steve Brungard

    Google has a vested interest in paid links. Roughly 90 percent of its earnings come from paid links. By the use of page rank to punish a web page for intruding upon its turf, Google acts effectively against the website and against paid link programs at the same time. It seems a strong armed, unethical and possibly illegitimate means of thwarting competition when other means of protecting the relevance of search results are available and would actually produce a less skewed set of results. As is, the search results presented by Google favor those websites which do not compete with GOOG in the paid links arena. A search customer could well be missing that one website that holds the information or tool or service they seek, for no cause but that website sells links. This becomes even more certain when Google applies the hand edited plus 30 algorithm penalty to even more diminish the challennge from a site that sells paid links.

    Google has better means to preserve and enhance the value of its search product but chose to focus on paid link competition instead.

  • http://www.munaeem.org M. Munaeem Jamal

    Google says PayperPost campaigns destroy the integrity of its indexes.

    My Question :

    When AP or Reuters published a story. The story is published by millions of blogs and Newspapers. Does this not destroy its indexes?

  • douchrti

    I agree with Nicole, I cant afford paid links.
    I try not to involve Google with my business at all if I can help it.
    Im a old school user, I believe sites should be rated based on customer satisfaction and usefulness.
    But Google is here to stay as a dominant influence and its not going to change.

  • http://kickasswebdesign.com bj

    Yes, paid links should be discounted but it should NOT be the webmaster’s responsibility to do this. That’s just plain ridiculous.

    If Google wants to use links as “authority”, and write the algorithm that way, then they should be smart enough to tweak it without us putting “nofollow” on stuff. It is just way beyond ridiculous for Google to put this responsibility on webmasters, given that they don’t practice what they preach. Just look at the source code of any google returns page and search for the “nofollow” attribute. It isn’t there. Not on paid listings and not on organics.

    And that really burns my butt. People who pay google for adwords get link juice yet I’m supposed to discount people who pay me? Get real, Google. If Google expects us to get behind this move to improve search returns they should be practicing what they preach.

    • http://workinggirlgems.com Deborah

      “bi”…I wish you had included the “business” that you are in in the commentary…because it matters. I was wondering if you were trying to set yourself up as a search engine provider – something far beyond what I think your mention of a “webmaster” is…did you mean to imply that Google is a “webmaster”? Is a “webmaster” required to be available for online help 24/7? Google is….while they don’t always fulfill this goal…as a company they come pretty close….especially in filtering out flotsam and jetsam (what I refer to when speaking of “trouble-makers” and “time-wasters”). Google has a resonsibility to the PUBLIC to do this, or ANYBODY can charge for providing similar services as a “webmaster”….without providing any of the truly relevant services or support. Providing “THE GLOBE” with a world class search engine requires diligence, excellence, and the ability to recognize the need to accept responsibility for the products/services provided therein…not just receiving payment for orphaned services that have grown out of those environs! Perhaps the easiest way to explain this is as follows:

      “…in the transfer of blood from the host to the succulent, the host is the “victim”, NOT the succulent (or vampire)…”

      Perhaps you should consider selling your “link juice” in a more entrepreneurial manner, like…say…, how about “cutting” Google in on a percentage of your links? (Of course, Google might decide that they weren’t really worth all that much to them or their client base, but, who knows?….you might just get lucky and rich at the same time!

  • http://www.rock.x.se Ronny Forslund

    Don’t you see the obvious: Google is punishing sites that carry paid links because they are striving for a monopoly of selling links. What good is a search engine where you can buy your position? It is hardly relevant anymore.
    Personally, I have a site which is about selling vinyl records but I have alloved a few paid links because some companies asked for it. The big mistake many sites make is focusing on designing their sites to stand up to Google’s requirements instead of serving their customers in the best way. We don’t need Google! There are lots of other ways to get traffic (and qualified traffic, at that). Fight for a free web – without monopoly search engines!

  • http://www.villageloop.com/ Steven Alig

    Google is a search engine.
    It is a very good search engine and is currently number #1 because its results are relevant. It’s results are relevant because they developed a strong algorithm (which included link popularity). The concept of link popularity only effects relevancy if it is natural. If it is spammed(or paid for), then the concept of link popularity no longer becomes relevant for your search.

    Being such a popular destination, everyone wants to be listed at the top of google’s results and as such is willing to do whatever it takes to get there.
    If paying for links gets you to the top of the results, those with the most money will always be listed at the top. This would compromise relevancy and users would eventually leave google and find another search engine to use.

    Google is forced to continually adjust their search algorithm in order to obtain the most relevant results.

    You may want to reconsider your line of business if you base your business model on an unknown algorithm that can change at any moment and for any reason.

    • http://www.rock.x.se Ronny Forslund

      “If paying for links gets you to the top of the results, those with the most money will always be listed at the top. This would compromise relevancy and users would eventually leave google and find another search engine to use.”

      Well, what about Google selling their own links then? What good is a search engine where you can pay to be listed at the top?

  • http://www.whynotad.com Larry

    Why on earth would anyone pay for links when there are so many sites giving them away for FREE whynotad.com hotfrog.com and recog.com to name a only a few.

    Sometimes I wonder what happening to the e world.

  • simon

    Since when was it a crime to pay someone for a favor for linking to you? You can pay for an ad in a newspaper, radio, or TV or use GOOGLE ADWORDS and pay for traffic. Why can’t I pay someone to have them put a link to my site? WHY? Because can’t you see – this is cutting into Google’s profits!!! They are losing out on this revenue that companies like Text-Link-Ads have created with their networks. It’s all about Google strong arming the competition and dictating what they want to do simply because they have market share. Have we heard anything from MSN or Yahoo? No, because they are trying to dominate the web like evil G.

  • http://workinggirlgems.com Deborah

    In my humble opinion, Google is trying to stem the tide of water coming from the proverbial dyke…that IT created! There is a big, big difference between informational oriented or driven (content) sites and ecommerce sites. Most consumers visiting ecommerce sites (those that are more “product” driven) are looking for sites OTHER than those that are well-capitalized and have a lot of PR bucks to advertise… hence, the “public-driven” W3! Smaller companies just cannot afford to continually pay for “link-farming”, nor, does this provide any service to the public in finding appropriate websites for the items they are wishing to find and “zero-in” on exactly the type of products they are looking for (something that Google is very interested in, especially around major buying seasons). Google has taken the only avenue that they ethically and morally can as a business AND as a business that is on the frontlines of the W3 community… that of Security Officer! I believe it will pay them and the rest of us back in the very near future. Let’s just wait and see what the fallout is after the major holiday season coming up…like after Christmas, New Years and Valentines’ Day!!!!

  • http://www.poolcueworld.com Chuck Valentine

    I’m a small internet business owner, not an seo expert, nor a webmaster. I purchased Dave Espino’s Auctions for Income program and with that came the opportunity to start my own web business. Included in this package was a contract with Links4Trade. So now my pagerank drops from 3 to 2 just because I don’t know squat about linking? In my particular case, I feel I’ve been screwed because I worked hard for a year to get my ranking up and get listed higher and higher on google and now I practically have to start over. I was ranked number 1 on Google for the keyword “poolcue”. Now you can’t even find my site. Thanks a lot!
    Enough said.

  • http://www.in2itmarketing.com Scott

    I am not sure what everyone is complaining about. If you look at it .. Google gives you FREE advertising through Page Rank, results and SEO.. Awesome!! but the natural course of advertising and business has always been you have to pay to play it’s just the way it is. If people feel that google should give away their services and pay for all of the bandwidth themselves then find another place to post your website.. It creates a “SEMI “even playing field if somewhat biased towards big money but that problem has always existed too! Aggrivation creates inovation find another way.

  • http://www.dueysdrawings.com/ Brian Duey

    I think it’s great that Google is punishing paid links. It gives my site a fair fight in the struggle for top 10 listings. I don’t have the resources that other people/businesses do to spend on links. I think it’s more fair to let natural links speak for a site. If people think it’s important, they will link to it. Rather than if people get paid enough, they will link to it. Build a content rich/relevant site and you will have nothing to complain about.

  • http://www.inmocostablanca.com Mark Baraniecki

    Nobody wants a natural search result that’s a ranking of who can pay the most (for links)??
    Google know this and doing the obvious to protect the value and usefulness of their company.

  • http://www.chassis-plans.com David Lip

    Google has created a monster with PR tied to link popularity. So much SEO effort is going into finding link homes instead of quality content. Paid links are just another down side to this continual siphon of advertising dollars from small companies. I know a company with a PR=6 only because they have a paid link on a PR=7 home page. None of their other metrics justifies their PR.

    As with the paid link problem, look at the mess Adsense has become with a large number of no-content sites simply rehosting Adsense and Overture ads. These sites crowd out legitimate sites and steal money from companies placing Adwords ads while offering no value to the advertiser.

  • http://blog.smtusa.com/index.php/about-us/james-watt/ James

    Trying to eliminate paid links from passing “link juice” seems to be inline with Google’s mantra of attempting to serve the most relevant results to users. It will help eliminate money from being a swing factor….except of course time = money and good content and natural link building takes a lot of time…..but I digress.

    Bottom line? Google didn’t bully its way to the top; it gave users what they wanted and they continue to try and do this. It is probably just a coincidence that the decrease in value of paid links will drive more site owners to use AdSense for revenue ;)

  • https://www.ridehomehappy.com Caleb Eastman

    1.) We have no right to be angry at Google no matter what they do, its their search engine, they can do what they want.

    2.) Paid Links have always been a way to circumvent what is good for the consumer, and Google is right to address this.

    3.) People who offer paid links are essentially scamming the system, if your website isn’t important enough to get where it needs to go of its own volition, then your content must be pretty crappy.

  • http://www.weboptimist.com Richard V. Burckhardt

    It’s just so hypocritical. Google is the largest seller of links on the planet. Take away any benefit of buying links from the little guys and that leaves Google.

    As far as I’m concerned, they’re blowing smoke about cracking down on paid links because of search “quality.” They want Adwords “quantity.”

    They’re definitely looking out for #1.

  • http://www.micahfk.com/blog Micah Fisher-Kirshner

    Essentially with the SEO experts disagreeing, you’re now having Paid Links becoming Grey Hat SEO as Google still cannot algorithmically rid these links from counting currently without input from other online users.

  • http://sunrise-lmg.com Gerard Appelman

    While I agree that links to my page are an indication of the value of my site to others, I have never quite understood the share of importance that this has in relation to Page Rank?

    Google is the biggest guy in the school yard, so like it or not, it’s always going to be better to stay on his good side. Paid links makes no sense whatsoever in my view and allowing it will have the same result as where rich F1 teams versus poor F1 teams? (F1 Grand Prix)

    Content and quality should be king!

  • http://marketsecrets.biz/googlepayload.htm Caleb

    …so they have a service that’s based on paid links -which is what google adwords is- yet they disallow anyone else from using paid links within their system?

    Sounds alot like a pimp or one of those James bond villains who’s bent on world domination…but who’s the modern 007?

    That’s where we -as a webmaster community- come into play.

  • http://www.body-rockin.com James

    I’m lil slow at times and from the country…but uh what am I missing here “paid links” crack down?

    Since when did the Google ads I see all over the place not themselves not be “paid links”

    Sorry all I don’t get this one.

    A cow still a cow ain’t it, or based on who is doing the naming?

  • http://procontentwriter.com Rob

    Google’s stance is completely fair. This gives the griping website owners the chance to improve their website’s content to earn their rankings instead of paying for them; if they can’t create an atmosphere where their website has “linkworthy” content, maybe they should find a different gig.

    Search engine indices are already overwhelmed with low-quality & factually misleading content – lowering the visibility of the websites that can’t rank on their own merit sure can’t hurt the quality of the index.

    As Matt Cutts has stated numerous times, it’s up to Google what they want to do with their ranking algorithm. . . We’re guests in Googles’ house – it doesn’t matter the motive behind their actions, their actions rule supreme when we choose to use their services or have our websites listed in their index.

    If website owners think Google is the ultimate in evil, they should ban the Googlebot from accessing their website & use the “remove URL” tool to completely separate themselves, and their websites, from Google.

    Sure, Google’s stance may inadvertently hurt some innocent website owners & may very well negatively affect the financial bottom line for others who sell links, but at the end of the day most of us are guests, not majority share-holders.

  • http://www.searchengine.ltd.uk Angry Man

    I agree with SEO BOOK UK definately give google a kick in the snots and drop adsense for a day.

    There are many sites that opperate in a niece that just doesnt generate natural links no matter how many artiles you knock out. Paid links are important to help generate traffic and increase search engine visability without them they will struggle to get seen… but wait we can still use the very expensive adwords and make google a pile of cash the size of mount everest at the same time blowing our brains out on our profit margins.

  • planedriver

    I think the blanket stance that all paid links are evil is unfair. There are some very good reasons (other than SEO) for a website to get a link from say an industry publication. Its great PR. Its great for branding. And it helps traffic apart from passing pagerank.

    The problem is that almost all industry pubs generate revenue by selling ads. They consider links as ads and therefore are unwilling to just give them away. I know its difficult for Google to judge motive when they see a paid link but we all aren’t out to game them.

  • http://www.cheaplance.net Bob Josephson

    It seems to me that Google needs to be careful or they are going to get sued for discrimination. There are several popular websites selling links that Google will not downgrade because of their size and popularity.

  • DD

    Having been on the web selling goods since 1996, long before google, before yahoo, and before many of the current systems, I feel I certainly have experience in paid links. What went from the freedom of information system, with the best text writer and price winning the day, is now a big boys game with all the ecoutraments of greed.

    The small biz owner is systmatically being driven out of business by paid links, as all of us watch any profit we make go down the tubes trying to keep up with the cost to be on the front page, as well as the price/time it take to create the ads, in bound links, out bound links, or whatever new shimmy they come up with to charge us more money.

    I have watched more and more small companies fold over the years because of the extraordinary cost of maintaining this type system, instead of just, well say, selling a great product at a great price!

    More money down the tubes with paying for and maintaining this sliding scale crap, attempting (they say) to give everyone a chance. Why? How about I pay for an ad, I pay for the top spot, so I get it? Sheesh.

    Information? Bah, not even anymore. Its like saying Hitler gave out information when he dropped propoganda flyers. It’s what they WANT a person to see, that is seen, even if paid for!

    One wonders who they will charge when we’re all gone? Or will they be laughing their rich butts to the bank?

  • http://www.semcoinc.com/ Wesley Upchurch

    I think the most ironic thing here is that Google wants to crack down on paid links, while they themselves sell them (though Adsense).

  • http://onlynothillary.info zbatia

    Since Google introduced the PR rating that indicated somehow the popularity of the web sites, people applied many efforts to gain the higher PR. In this case, Google created the problem in the first place. I don’t blame people who are buying the PRs (even on eBay). Who doesn’t want to get more viewers and convert them to customers? Finally, it’s the marketing, and people who buy the link spend money on web marketing the same way as you would spend money for ads in the newspapers.
    And the last:
    ISN’T IT THE SAME AS TO BUY THE RIGHT TO PLACE A BANNER?!!

  • http://www.chainzonline.com CrankyDave

    I don’t really have an issue with Googles stance on paid links. I do have an issue with how they’ve chosen to combat them.

    If a business owner came to me and said…

    “Dave, the way you’re conducting your business won’t allow the way we want to conduct ours work the way we want it to. We are not going to change “our way” so you’ll have to change yours or else…”

    I’m not likely to be full of hugs and kisses.

    Google can do what they wish with links. Their machines, their algorithm, their weighting. THEIR business model and source of income. To “request” that anyone build sites or pages to suit them or fear reprisal is wrong in my opinion.

    If the model doesn’t work the way you want it to, fix your model.

    Dave

  • http://www.1websitedesigner.com 1 Website Designer

    I think it’s great that Google isn’t counting paid links towards site placement anymore. When I search with Yahoo I often find a bunch of sites that just link to other sites, that just link to more sites – all from paid links or pay per click advertising. Much better that I get what I’m looking for and I think not valuing paid links makes this more likely. That said, penalising against them seems unfairly harsh – why doesn’t Google just ignore them?

    I also don’t think Google are the bad guys – the only reason everyone tailors their sites to Google is because Google have become the most successful search engine by giving searchers the most relevant results and this is just another step in that process.

  • http://www.surreypcsupport.co.uk/pc_help_desk.html Surrey Help Desk

    Hi

    You asked whether Google is performing a service to the internet community by cracking down on paid links.

    They are not doing this. If you put a site up tomorrow with thousands of paid links, you won’t hear from Google.

    You are entitled to do what you wish to further your business model, so are they. The fact their model involves better search results is hardly a drawback.

  • Mike

    It’s quite simple.. Some industries such as technology generate natural links. Others industries would never receive any. I’m sure Google is aware if the world didn’t offer web content to index then what would they offer? Unfortunately, someone will always try to give them content. The spammers ruined it for everyone. Arbitrage cuts Adsense profits and Google’s profits increase. They owe webmasters nothing, in reality they owe us 90%. Rank me Google!!!

  • http://www.tricityswapmeet.com CoreyJRoman

    I am 100% for paid links. I think if an administrator wishes to sell ad space on their web site then so be it. I am a supporter of Google especially for their efforts in the “green” sector. I think that Google has made a good move keeping the search engine relevant to whatever you are looking for by dumping paid link sites from their page ranks. First… in my opinion… I feel that sites that accept payment for links would not have been able to do that unless they had established themselves already so people will still flock to that site regardless of page rank thus leaving them virtually unaffected. I do however believe that there should be a double standard. Google should have a secondary page rank system that would allow paid link sites to flourish after the first page or top ten relevant searches have been displayed. Page 2 is not as glorious but it would at least give some relief to those sites that have been tossed into the refugee category. The debate continues only as a result of those relevant sites that have been dropped as a result of these changes. But remember that just because Google is number 1 amongst search engines does not mean they are the only one.

  • http://www.lukelive.org Andrew Luke Nichols

    I think paid links shuts out very good websites, in lieu of bigger corporate sites getting preference. Also, as a small website owner, it is very hard to promote your site. Most of these so called “Free Submit” sites don’t work. Even if you do make it on the Search Engines, you’re so far down, no average user goes that far into the search to find you. There should be a better way to promote sites. Maybe a Yellow Pages of Websites, like they had back when the Net first started up. Then, if the big dawg sites wants to buy advertising in it, they can. But smaller sites are not shut out.

  • http://www.allyearfootball.com All Year Fantasy Football

    I think people are missing the big picture here – Google is not in business to help/hurt websites, its goal is to give users the most relevant sites to their search. A number of people say that Google is wrong for devaluing paid links, however, their responsibility is to the user community, not to people trying to do SEO.

    The bottom line is that if Google gets better search results by not counting paid links, they did the right thing, if they don’t, they did the wrong thing, and will most likely correct it.

  • Jaan Kanellis

    People can sell all the links they want, you just may not rank well in Google because of it. Now I dont agree with Google penalizing websites for doing this, but it is their algorithm and website and can choose to do what they want to help alleviate SPAM. it just sucks that Google looks at paid links as

  • Louis Lyons

    I can’t beleive the hot chicks in the photos. Were you really at the computer geek conference or somewhere else?

  • http://internetmarketingreview.org/blog2 Denise

    I make a living reviewing products and services through paid to post services. I posted what I have always thought about doing this on my blog today, very similar to what GrayWolf said. Are you insulted when you see an ad in the text of a magazine article? No, you look at it or ignore it, which blog readers have sense enough and the choice to do. There is nothing wrong with paid links as long as the review is informed and done in a quality way. Google shouldn’t be in the advertising business and the search engine business. They should have to choose one or the other or it is a distinct conflict of interest.

  • http://www.tagdiri.com Tag Directory

    Off-line, I become more and more popular [ie: I sell] if I invest in advertising. Investing in advertising, the relevancy of my product/service on the market is increasing.

    By cracking down on paid links, Google takes my right to invest in market relevancy.

    Google’s approach is a romantic one: just wait until [only!] the content of your web site will bring you the market relevancy you desire.

    Come on, we’re [almost] in 2008!!!

  • http://www.onequartlow.com blogtommy

    I think in general there will always be the pros and cons of paid linking. It’s one of those opinions that will likely always be 50/50. I think a bigger concern is the changing landscapes surrounding the rules on such things. One day you’re doing things right by using a paid link strategy and the next, you’re penalized for the same. To me, that’s the issue. I get that businesses need to adjust with the times and that what’s good today may not be tomorrow, but that’s not how this (whole page rank issue) went down at all. I think in general anytime a company corners a market, you’re either going to have to play by their rules or you don’t perform so well in that market context especially as it relates to web marketing. When ya crown that King sometimes they behave “royally.”

    Blogtommy

  • http://www.andysautosport.com Eric

    Google’s organic search is an attempt by them to produce the results of a democratic voting system for websites. They are making it clear that ‘paid votes’ shouldn’t be counted, just as, for example, paid votes should theoretically not be counted in the election of a government official. Makes sense to me that Google would do what it can to maintain the integrity of its organic search results and keep it as democratic as possible.

  • http://www.hpgiftnhome.com Jerry W. Hastings

    My idea of Google’s business practices is mixed at best. Maybe Google is trying to level the playing field between small business and very large business and maybe they’re looking out for #1. I don’t know because I can’t see inside brains.
    I do know that some of their practices and methods dilute small business’s attempts to gain PR, however.
    Maybe if they worked toward helping small business people, they would ultimately help their bottom line in the end.
    Small businesses would become bigger faster, wouldn’t get into as much of a financial crunch and able to spend more money on Google’s paid inclusion, etc.

  • http://www.pc-chaperone.com Kevin Whynot

    Can someone please explain how paid links are different then buying TV, radio, or newpaper ads? In all cases the medium is making money through ads for the owners based on their audience, and the advertisers are paying to have their product put in front of that audience.

  • http://travel.blizzardemail.com Mary Bowling

    In one way or another all links are paid.

    You can invest the time and effort to create content that attracts links.

    You can pay to join groups that give you links (not just link brokers, but also groups like the Better Business Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce and SEMPO.

    You can pay someone to write articles or press releases about you that result in links.

    And on and on. We all pay for links, although the curenncy is not always cold hard cash.

  • http://www.learn2earnfromhome.net Learn2Earn Marketing

    I think it’s great that Google is cracking down on paid links. Someone’s got to. Speaking as a small business owner, it’s hard enough getting a website to the point being viewed as important by Google without being trampled into the dust by companies who can just afford to pay for thousands of links and get there 10 times faster (and stay there).

    For once, there should be a way to even the playing field between small businesses with small budgets and companies who choose to throw money at all of their issues. I think Google is doing just that! Let the big boys actually put some working into something just like the rest of us for a change. Building credibility should take effort and time. Google, IMHO, is just keeping to the natural order of things!

    So Google seems to dominate the search platform. So what? They also provide tons a great tools for webmasters to build and grow their websites and businesses, and most all of them for FREE! It would be another issue entirely if Google did nothing to give back to those of us who work hard to create good websites. But as long as they’re providing so many great tools and delivering 90% of the traffic that comes to my site, they can dominate whatever they want!

  • http://www.TapestryBiz.com Roxie Boyd

    I may not be the sharpest tool in the toolbox but I don’t know much about paid links. I use a link exchange service for my website and am wondering what Google’s take on that is. Any comments?

    • http://www.simplyjewelry.com.au Colin Elliott

      Google don’t always like link exchange programs, Roxie. A lot of the sites in these programs are not relevant to your own. Google likes to see sites linked that are compatible or similar.

      ie: travel, air travel, countries/places to visit, etc., do you know what I mean?

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