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Does Google Reward Backlinks Buyers & Sellers?
Boost of PR based on purchased backlinks!
reseller




msg:3103510
 4:23 pm on Sep 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi Folks

Last December Matt Cutts, Head of Google WebSpam Team, wrote a post which impressed me indeed:

Tell me about your backlinks [mattcutts.com]

Here is part of what Matt Cutts wrote at that post:

My favorite overall moment was when a totally legit company (micromatic.com) stood up and asked for advice. Overall, their site was great: good architecture and very crawlable. They had lots of really good backlinks, including industry-specific links. But I could also tell that they’d been buying some backlinks. And they were buying backlinks from the exact same place as one of the earlier sites! At the point when in a minute of typing, I can say: you guys are both trying to buy backlinks, and I can tell that you’re buying them from the same network, and here’s an example page from ketv.com where both of you are even on the same page, and it’s not doing you any good at all: that just made my day. Having a concrete demonstration is so much better than just making a claim, especially when one of the sites says beforehand that they’re not doing as well as they used to be. I told micromatic.com that they had a great site, so they should stop trying to buy backlinks and spend more money to reward their inhouse SEO who had done a great job on the crawlability and architecture of the site.

When you read that post you might get the same impression that I got; Google knows and penalize buyers and maybe also sellers of Backlinks. Not so, unfortunately.

However, it just happened that I know of a site (not mine) which purchased backlinks during the first 4 months or so of 2006. I know from which sites the backlinks were purchased. And I know approximately how much was paid for most of the purchased BLs. No rel=nofollow was applied, of course.

Then the current indications of PR update arrived. And I checked the PR of the site which purchased the said BLs.
WOW... boost in PR from PR4 to PR7!

And I checked the PR of the sites which sold the BLs.
WOW.. they retained their high PR!

Am I the only one who have noticed Google rewarding sellers and buyers of BLs?

Have you noticed the same?

Your feedback would be highly appreciated.

 

Reilly




msg:3103511
 4:29 pm on Sep 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

high pr do not mean good positions

i'm happy with my low pr and my real cool serp position :)

but you are right - i noticed the same.

The Contractor




msg:3103515
 4:35 pm on Sep 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

I believe they should penalize all those websites that buy TV, Radio, Print, and PPC ads too. I have no idea why people who invest in their sites should be rewarded over those that do nothing to promote their sites or businesses..burns me up..

Ok, seriously, I think Google should concentrate on other things than trying to figure out who is spending money that could otherwise be spent on AdWords.

whitenight




msg:3103517
 4:38 pm on Sep 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

reseller,

you're kidding, right?
This is some attempt to call out MC?

Am I the only one who have noticed Google rewarding sellers and buyers of BLs?

What makes you think their algo could even spot such things?

<insert nonsense about "brilliant PHD's, the all-knowing Googlebots, algos so complex not even rocket scientist can figure them out, MC being the chosen speaker of Internet's religion" as answer here>

Again I scream. Examine the SERPS.
Show me where in the SERPS G has ever shown they penalize either buyer or seller?!

Yea, yea, one or two sacrificial lambs posted on the "Arc of the Internet Convenant" blog has the masses cowering in fear of G's almighty all-knowingness.

Christmas is coming up soon. Maybe Santa Goog will publish who's naughty and nice on his blog? ;)

Remember how Santa always ended up giving the bad kids toys, as well as the good?

My question is, "Why did the rich kids always get better gifts from Santa?" :)

tedster




msg:3103595
 6:01 pm on Sep 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google never said they would PENALIZE sites that buy and sell links. What Matt did say was this: "and it's not doing you any good at all".

Neutralizing the effect of sold links does not mean there's a penalty. It means Google does not want to see links purchased just for a PR boost or a rankings boost. And so when they do identify such a situation, they can zero out any PR transfer or backlink influences.

But paid advertising on the web most of the time does involve a link. Google is not trying to repress this very common kind of marketing when it's done to acquire direct click-through traffic. They just don't want to see fat wallets and deep pockets manipulating their search results.

Of course, there's no way Google could possibly identify every paid-for link. But for several years now, they have had a mechanism that allows them to stop PR transfer in any particular case that they do identify. I've sometimes been amazed at the situations where they have applied this - would never have guessed it myself. But then again, I've been amazed at the "big names" who attempt some pretty lame kinds of influence peddling and even hidden keyword text.

Amarula




msg:3103617
 6:18 pm on Sep 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

tedster

They don't penalize, they give huge boosts in PR and SERP to the link buyers with fat wallets!

tedster




msg:3103628
 6:26 pm on Sep 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Just because some sites go undetected does not mean Google is intentionally rewarding them. Buy all the links you want - it can be a very good type of marketing. You will not be penalized, but you also might not see a Google boost. That's all that's going on.

reseller




msg:3103748
 8:59 pm on Sep 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Just wish to bring to the thread more of what Matt Cutts wrote about sell/buy links:

Text link follow-up [mattcutts.com]

Google’s stance on selling links is pretty clear and we’re pretty accurate at spotting them, both algorithmically and manually. Sites that sell links can lose their trust in search engines.

As you see, Matt claims that Google is able to spot sites selling links and do penalize them "lose their trust".

For obvious reasons, I have now great doubts about Matt Cutts claims.

[edited by: reseller at 9:05 pm (utc) on Sep. 30, 2006]

Amarula




msg:3103750
 9:01 pm on Sep 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

As you see, Matt claims that Google is able to spot sites selling links and do penalize them "lose their trust".

So I take it as yet another inaccurate claim from Matt Cutts

obono




msg:3103771
 9:14 pm on Sep 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

tedster, how can backlinks from sites ranking on top for very competitive keywords not be spotted? These backlinks jumped at you, like the ones coming from danish blogs selling advertising fueling backlink count at a steady rate - on a daily basis! Perhaps no pr benefit but apparent serps benefit.

goubarev




msg:3103797
 9:46 pm on Sep 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google’s stance on selling links is pretty clear and we’re pretty accurate at spotting them, both algorithmically and manually.

Manually, I have no doubt they can spot them. Algorithnically, maybe 50/50... what I think they are doing is finding some paid links with some algo and then review those manually. Of course, google wouldn't want to get some big company accussed of selling/buying links, do they? :c)

I can say: you guys are both trying to buy backlinks, ... that just made my day.

MC, give me 1 minute I'll find you 10 of them like that... here is what you do: go to www.google.com, type in any competative keyword, see the first 10 results. But wait, there might be an exception and you would need to go to the second page for a couple more results...

CainIV




msg:3103950
 2:44 am on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

As you see, Matt claims that Google is able to spot sites selling links and do penalize them "lose their trust".

If you were trying to stop websites from artifically inflating ranking by purchasing links, you may say the same thing, regardless of how much water it actually holds.

Personally I have yet to see many sites that lose trust or rank by selling links.

reseller




msg:3104055
 6:51 am on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have no doubt about Matt Cutts sincere motives and intentions when he wrote that famous statement.

However I doubt much the correctness of the statement

Google’s stance on selling links is pretty clear and we’re pretty accurate at spotting them, both algorithmically and manually. Sites that sell links can lose their trust in search engines.

It seems that Matt Cutts either was not correctly informed or had overestimated the capacity of his WebSpam Team to identify and deal with Backlinks sellers and buyers.

I wish to see more kind fellow members post on this thread in case they know or have indications of sites which have purchased backlinks and having the benefits of that. Also about "Backlinks Merchants".

We need to know the size of that problem.

whitenight




msg:3104066
 7:17 am on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

lol As much as I would like to rat out some of my fortune 500 competitors that only gather 1% of their links "naturally",
I'm honestly not against buying backlinks... nor selling them.

I still say the average "mom and pop" webmaster would be better off selling ad space on their website(s) than promoting G's impersonal, very weak-paying affiliate program aka adsense.

More steady income and more potential for profits for most keywords.

As far as buyers...

I made a post a while back about seeing non-soccer related ads plastered all over the World Cup panels.

Or G itself, spamming, err, "sponsoring" a car commercial for Pontiac.

That's how real companies do marketing and advertising.

G's hypocritical notion that the entire world of business must "change" in order for them to run their algo properly is simply silly and a battle they will lose.

Don't fall into their double-speak trap.

One day you'll be that "big" company who'd rather pay out the nose for backlinks than play silly "Google Games" (tm) cause you'll be too busy doing "real" business.

martinibuster




msg:3104081
 7:37 am on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

reseller, you didn't state whether the site was ranking better than it was before. You only mention Toolbar PR.

Tell us about the SERPs.

  • How has the ranking changed?

  • Was the site already a top ranked site?

  • Or did it come from nowhere and is now ranking?

reseller




msg:3104125
 9:31 am on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

martinibuster

reseller, you didn't state whether the site was ranking better than it was before. You only mention Toolbar PR.

My main interest at the said site (buying backlinks) has been whether purchasing backlinks will boost its PR4, and whether the site itself or the sites of the backlinks sellers will be affected by violating Google's guidelines and will suffer the consequences that Matt Cutts mentioned , "lose their trust in search engines".

As far as I can see the buyer site has gained a boost in PR from PR4 to PR7. Ranking for my few testing keywords of the said site show improvements in ranking. However, as I mentioned, ranking wasn't my main interest in that connection. The said site is around 6 years old.

I can see also that the sellers sites aren't affected as far as their PR. Have checked also ranking of some of the sellers sites under competitive keyphrases and can see they are not affected.

reseller




msg:3104137
 9:48 am on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

whitenight

One day you'll be that "big" company who'd rather pay out the nose for backlinks than play silly "Google Games" (tm) cause you'll be too busy doing "real" business.

It isn't that easy ;-)

If you are a SEO/SEM/Web Marketing specialist and wish to follow ethical methods and be in good standing with the folks of search engines, then you need between now and then to examin the effectiveness of your methods compared to what other SEO/SEM/Web Marketing specialists are doing.

Its in that connection, you migt also start asking yourself, which part of the equation would decide whats "ethical" and whats "unethical".

If Google isn't able to mandate or police their own guidelines in relation to backlinks sell/buy, then those same guidelines are useless, worthless and no need to follow.

martinibuster




msg:3104448
 5:29 pm on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

My main interest at the said site (buying backlinks) has been whether purchasing backlinks will boost its PR4...

Google does not reveal PR
What you see in the toolbar does not reflect true PR. So do not use it as a metric of what Google thinks about a site, including whether it's PR has been boosted, because it does not reflect the true state. Do not use it to judge whether a site is being rewarded as it won't tell you.

I don't know how much clearer I can make it:

  • The toolbar does not reflect REAL PR.
  • The toolbar is unreliable by design.
  • Toolbar PR is virtually meaningless.
  • Toolbar PR is not an SEO metric.

Google is not an SEO tool
All of Google's tools and searches have been tweaked to make them less useful as SEO tools. For instance, the backlink search only shows a sample, and this sample may or may not reflect what is counting to your PR. intitle and inurl searches are not predictive of how well you're going to rank, etc. Notice a pattern? Google purposefully, by design, has tweaked their tools, including the toolbar, to minimize their effectiveness as SEO tools.

Believe your eyes
For your situation, the only thing visible is PR's effect, which is why I am asking if they are ranking better or not. If they aren't ranking better then your question is answered- the links are not helping as per Matt Cutt's suggestion- or vice-versa.

whitenight




msg:3104495
 6:50 pm on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Reseller,

As a "SEO/SEM/Web Marketing specialist" your primary "ethical" interest should be to your clients, not to "be in good standing with the folks of search engines"

Just as Google's primary "ethical" concern is to make money for it's shareholders, not keep webmasters "in the know" or even be honest with them.

Once you come to grips with these realities, it's a lot easier to "figure out" what MC, GG, or Adam is saying and reading between the lines.

Until such time as I hear MC say buying backlinks is "black hat" AND see it posted on their website guidelines page, AND see big name companies (like Yahoo!) losing rankings with obvious bought links, then it is in a SEO specialist's interest to inform their client of potential consequences.

The words of MC should always be taken with a grain of salt as it is not his primary "ethical" interest to look out for webmasters or their sites.

As I've mentioned before, MC says alot of things that Google isn't able to mandate or police their own guidelines.

Sure I keep an eye out for proof (the SERPS) that indeed the new algo is penalizing or rewarding for said behavior.
But I most certainly do not take MC's word at face value.
It is not in my clients' primary interest to do so.

---------------

Buying and selling backlinks isn't using third-world children for slave labor (or illegally using copywritten foreign news articles, or even censoring results for large communist countries to make money) so let's also be careful about using the word "ethical" in terms of "staying in Google's good graces."

Again, here in the "real world," buying/selling advertising is a natural and "white hat" way to do business.
Just because Google's brilliant PHD's have set up a system that now gets confused by such conduct is really their problem.

And I don't foresee G pursuing the matter to any great degree.
They have more important issues that "corrupt" their results to worry about, rather than if "big brand name company" ranks for terms in which Joe Consumer feels comfortable doing business with anyways.

Leosghost




msg:3104515
 7:16 pm on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

And now you are going to have to dye the "tee-shirt" grey..and ranger les pom-poms and the ra-ra skirt ..unplug the coffee machine too..

C'est triste ..:°((

However ..it isn't that Matt has feet of clay ..
it can pay to watch the hand he is trying to divert your attention from ..just like any dove juggler or card sharp ..so his act is still worth catching as are the others ..

But PR is PR ..however friendly the smile ..and only exists to serve the speaker ..never the listener ..;-)

[edited by: Leosghost at 7:29 pm (utc) on Oct. 1, 2006]

Ecaterina




msg:3104558
 7:43 pm on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Isn't all black and white here. I know about G's declared intention on penalizing bought links. Anyway, think this way: Yahoo is a payed directory. Do you think this doesn't count? I doubt. In fact, you are paying for reviewing the site. If is OK is included, otherwise not (at least this should happen in an ideal world) Do then we have (at least in theory) a few directories that offers a collection of trusted links for them users. So that link shall count.
On the other hand: who needs directories when we have G? Or this may be G's point of view. Choose payed advertisement verrrrry carefully, it may works.

Practically speaking, I do think they are trying to penalize sites that buy links, or, at least to ignore the links.

Simsi




msg:3104560
 7:44 pm on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

The thing is, I can understand why Google would not want sites buying links for SEO purposes. But an algo can't 100% decide what is sold for SEO and what is for traffic. So it sounds like MC is effectively saying that Google doesn't like a webmaster monetising their own sites by selling links *just in case* it's for SEO purposes. Doesn't seem right, especially when we have to look at Adwords every day.

[edited by: Simsi at 7:45 pm (utc) on Oct. 1, 2006]

martinibuster




msg:3104605
 8:42 pm on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google doesn't like a webmaster monetising their own sites by selling links *just in case* it's for SEO purposes. Doesn't seem right

It's not that Google doesn't want advertisement sellers to monetise by selling links. It doesn't want advertising buyers to influence Google's SERPs.

All Google would have to do is dampen the links so they don't pass PR. Advertisers have their cake (purchased traffic and branding) and Google has their cake (purchased links don't influence the serps).

Everybody eats cake. How is the above scenario not right?

You as a link seller have the responsibility to sell a decent link which produces traffic and conversions. That's your responsibility. If your link cannot produce traffic or conversions, then your link isn't worth a nickel. It's worth is diminished.

How is it unfair that you are unable to traffic in a commodity (PageRank) that does NOT belong to you and is not yours to sell?

Simsi




msg:3104625
 9:22 pm on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

How is it unfair that you are unable to traffic in a commodity (PageRank) that does NOT belong to you and is not yours to sell?

You missed the point of my post I think: I am saying that selling links to facilitate traffic leaving my site to the link buyer's site should be okay, but because Google may assume you are doing it for SEO, that you can't. I actually understand that selling links for SEO is wrong in Google's eyes.

It's not my fault I have PR, but if I have valuable traffic from *any* source and someone wants to pay to get some of it, why should I have to take a Google penalty because they assumed wrong?

[edited by: Simsi at 9:24 pm (utc) on Oct. 1, 2006]

Lorel




msg:3104629
 9:32 pm on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I suggested a client pay for a link on a prestigeous site in his area of focus (cost $300)--the purpose was to gain trustrank. He also paid $5.00 for a link on a directory. Both showed up in Google's recent backlink update.

goubarev




msg:3104644
 9:48 pm on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Look, bottom line: google's algo isn't good - it relies on votes (links), which could be manipulated and is only “democratic” in the perfect world. Reality check: our world isn’t prefect… It’s like they made a car with oval wheels and now are trying to change all the roads in the world to be wavy so their car could drive smoother. No wonder it makes the rest of the world (with round wheels) feel a bit “uncomfortable”.

whitenight




msg:3104657
 10:03 pm on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Will someone please wake me when sites like the NYTimes, Washington Post, and others stop ranking for billions of searches because it sells text links which pass PR, SERP influence, branding or whatever
and "It doesn't want advertising buyers to influence Google's SERPs."

Poor, poor Google algo... getting gamed by companies with millions of dollars in advertising budgets.

Wait no, don't wake me yet.
Instead, wake me when they get control of the MFA spam.

Let's try cleaning up our own house before we go knocking on our neighbor's door about the mess in his yard, no?

[edited by: whitenight at 10:04 pm (utc) on Oct. 1, 2006]

obono




msg:3104658
 10:03 pm on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

> I am saying that selling links to facilitate traffic leaving my site to the link buyer's site should be okay...

since the purpose of that link is "selling traffic" adding a 'nofollow' tag should not hurt. Then, you have made sure it is just about traffic.

idolw




msg:3104666
 10:09 pm on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

i know at least one guy buying links for two of his sites. one of the sites is #1 for every major keyword.

trinorthlighting




msg:3104669
 10:13 pm on Oct 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

High page rank does not give you high serps though. I see many page rank 1-5 sites in the top ten for their perspective keywords. So have you considered may be your getting baited by that little green tool bar?

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