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Purchasing Links - Is it a problem?
F_Rose




msg:3278183
 5:33 am on Mar 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Is purchasing links from other sites to your site (in the same niche) a problem with Google?

If it's a problem, how could Google detect it?

 

Komodo_Tale




msg:3278223
 8:13 am on Mar 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Purchasing links is an area most optimizers would classify as gray hat. There is a healthy debate whether or not this is an acceptable (ethical) activity. Google has stated two positions on purchased links:

1) If a link is purchased that link should carry a nofollow attribute. The reason for this is that the link is not an editorial vote of confidence and should not pass strength.

2) If a link is purchased that is editorially placed than it does not require a nofollow. An example of this is the Yahoo! Directory.

Many well regarded optimizers discount Google's position for a variety of reasons. They range from 'dishonest optimizers are not going to nofollow paid inbound links so honest optimizers should not be penalized' to 'site operators should not be required to act against their own best interest' to the less than elegant 'why should we do Google's job for them?' Some arguments are better than others.

Can a paid link be detected? That depends whether or not the link or the page on which the link resides shows its colors.

Google, and any search engine for that matter, can look for clues. For example, if a link is within a column marked 'sponsors' you can be pretty certain it has been paid for. Another giveaway is when link brokers publish the domains on which they place links. Some types of web sites, like school newspapers, have a reputation for selling links so the search engines may simply disallow those pages to pass strength.

If a site is discovered hosting paid links Google has the ability to keep that domain from passing link strength.

The 'best' paid links are purchased directly from the domain owner and have no telltale signs. These can be solicited through one's own efforts or purchased through brokers or optimizers who employ link ninjas to seek out high quality placements on your behalf. On benefit of the direct approach is that you can often purchase these links for much cheaper than on the open market.

lfgoal




msg:3278300
 10:33 am on Mar 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Is purchasing links from other sites to your site (in the same niche) a problem with Google?"

What's a "paid link"? Is it a directory link? Google states that you should submit to relevant directories. Is it an advertising link? Matt Cutts has stated that there's no problem with purchasing advertising on other sites.

Google says that its ok to purchase advertising but its not ok to purchase links for the purpose of manipulating the rankings. But advertising links tend to do that, and for a quality source of advertising, the decision to carry or not carry your advertising link is in fact an editorial decision.

F_Rose




msg:3278365
 2:07 pm on Mar 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

How do you obtain high PR, high Alexa links w/o buying those links?

I purchased around 15 links from Text Link Broker over the past 2 months, they are high PR relevant sites.

At first our rankings where great and now our entire site plunged all the way to the bottom.

Is it because we purchased links?

seoArt




msg:3278366
 2:08 pm on Mar 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

There's nothing wrong with purchasing links to your site. Don't expect them to carry as much weight as natural links though. One way Google can detect paid links is by where they are on the page, length of time they've been there, "link churn" - meaning the links in the group change fequently.

It's my opinion that the ones easiest to detect are those sold by large ad firms where they put 20 on a page. That group of links stands out from the rest of the page. Advertisers who don't know any better, typically think they will get an instant boost from the search engines by buying the links, so they quit after 3 mos. = link churn.

So it's better to try and set up advertising on your own with sites if possible. Also, the more relevant the better. An irrelevant text link buried in a site with 20 other text link ads is a waste of money IMHO.

You won't get penalized for it, and I really don't think there's anything "Grey" about it. Think about it - if you buy a bunch of banner ads on a site that doesn't use tracking or an ad rotation script - is that "Grey Hat" because the links point directly to your site? No. Sites have been buying links to advertise since this whole thing started.

[edited by: seoArt at 2:22 pm (utc) on Mar. 11, 2007]

Halfdeck




msg:3278384
 2:44 pm on Mar 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

If a link is purchased that is editorially placed than it does not require a nofollow. An example of this is the Yahoo! Directory.

Not quite. If a link is reviewed and if the review is paid for, then that link does not require a nofollow. In Yahoo!'s case, according to Google you're not paying for the link; you're paying for the review.

Note that whether a buyer is paying for a link or a review is not something that can be detected algorithmically.

Google has a hard time detecting individual paid links, as Adam Lasnik recently pointed out, but if your overall link profile is weak, then its more likely for paid links to be detected OR for Google to mistake a good link for a paid link.

On the other hand, if you have a solid link profile with 90%+ of IBLs coming from organic sources, then Google is likely to mistake paid links as natural links.

Like any black hat tactic aimed at manipulating search results (e.g. hidden text, keyword spamming), you play your odds here. Your best bet is to maintain a high percentage of organic links and then push the envelope with a few artificial links. If a majority of your IBLs are artificial, then your paid links are more likely to be detected.

Google has threatened to penalize both buyers and sellers, but I've only heard of a couple cases where a site actually got penalized.

Bottom line: if you're buying/selling a link for traffic and not for improved ranking, use nofollow. If you're buying/selling a link for PageRank/higher ranking, do not use nofollow. If there are nofollows on them and you don't care about traffic, there's no point in buying.

Robert Charlton




msg:3278542
 6:37 pm on Mar 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Is purchasing links from other sites to your site (in the same niche) a problem with Google?

If it's a problem, how could Google detect it?

F_Rose - In fairness to the other posters, you need to connect some dots here that you seem to be avoiding.

In the Link Development forum, you very recently posted...

Sitewide Link
Coud this hurt us?
[webmasterworld.com...]

I have purchased a link from a PR6 relevant site..

They have placed our link on their navigation which causes a sitewide link.

We have approximately 5,000 links listed in Google Webmaster and Yahoo Link Manager from this particular site?

Should I have them remove the link? Could this hurt us in any way?

In my opinion, this raised a flag that prompted Google to look at your site... and they found your other links...

I purchased around 15 links from Text Link Broker over the past 2 months, they are high PR relevant sites.

At first our rankings where great and now our entire site plunged all the way to the bottom.

Is it because we purchased links?

It's very likely that your other links also had obvious patterns of purchased links, that Google devalued them because they've stated that they don't like purchased links, and your rankings therefore subsequently tanked.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 6:43 pm (utc) on Mar. 11, 2007]

F_Rose




msg:3278687
 9:28 pm on Mar 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thanks Robert..

Now what approach do I take?

Should I cancel the contract with the company that sold us the links, which will remove all of our purchased links?

From now on, what approach should I take in obtaining links?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 10:39 pm (utc) on Mar. 11, 2007]
[edit reason] Removed specific reference to company name [/edit]

Robert Charlton




msg:3278726
 9:54 pm on Mar 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

From now on, what approach should I take in obtaining links?

F_Rose - You might start by doing some of the reading that I suggested to you in your earlier thread on this subject, and then applying what you learn to your site and to your linking situation.

I think you're looking for shortcuts where none exist.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 10:12 pm (utc) on Mar. 11, 2007]

Robert Charlton




msg:3278759
 11:01 pm on Mar 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

If it's a problem, how could Google detect it?

F_Rose - A PS to the previous answers on this....

This is conjecture, but a likely scenario. Once Google noticed that another site had given you 5,000 links, it checked your site and then checked all your other backlinks. Some, which fit the pattern of bought links, were devalued.

At this point, the sites linking to you which have been devalued were probably also devalued for the other sites buying their links as well... and probably the backlinks of these other link buyers have been checked, and some of the sites selling links to them may get devalued too... and so it goes.

Should I cancel the contract with the company that sold us the links, which will remove all of our purchased links?

It depends on whether you want to help Google or want to help the link vending company and other sites that might buy links. It may be already too late to stop the damage to the linking network you were in, but, if you notify the link vending company, they may stop selling links from those potentially-detected sites. Or, they may not. If you don't tell them, chances are they'll be selling more links from these sites for a while and Google will be able to spot more link buying networks.

I don't know what your contract says, though, and whether, if you do tell the link vending company, you'd get either a refund or thanks... or they might cuss you out for not telling them sooner. ;)

Simsi




msg:3278766
 11:11 pm on Mar 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

seoHat: Think about it - if you buy a bunch of banner ads on a site that doesn't use tracking or an ad rotation script - is that "Grey Hat" because the links point directly to your site? No. Sites have been buying links to advertise since this whole thing started.

There is one major difference here though: buying "advertising" to attract customers is subtly different to the newer art of buying links to improve SE rankings, albeit the target of improving revenue is the same. I think, personally, that as far as Google is concerned, they don't want the latter, hence why "grey-hat" is an applicable term.

Any webmaster with top quality content would probably prefer to see their site and others ranked on on-page quality rather than off-page factors that can be manipulated. But with Adsense now so important to Google's bottom line, whether it's in their best interests for this to happen now is now open to debate. Thus, although I don't do it, I don't see a problem with link-buying myself.

[edited by: Simsi at 11:17 pm (utc) on Mar. 11, 2007]

Chris_D




msg:3278790
 12:21 am on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Its worth reading United States Patent Application 20050071741 Information retrieval based on historical data [appft1.uspto.gov]

Specifically ".....a rate at which the one or more links appear over time, and a number of the one or more links that appear during a time period...."

[edited by: tedster at 1:17 am (utc) on Mar. 12, 2007]
[edit reason] add link [/edit]

F_Rose




msg:3278893
 2:38 am on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

As per my contract I can drop the links at any time being that I pay monthly for those links.

I understand how to obtain new links, I totally understand that obtaining links does not happen overnight and I've got to work hard in order to get links coming in.

My question is being that I am penalized for our keyword at this time and we are assuming it's from the links I purchased. Do I just drop those links and if I do how is Google going to react?

1. Being that I am dropping the paid links will it confirm to Google that we did something spammy (although I wasn't aware) and they may penalize us permanately?

2. Will it help us if we leave the paid links and from now we will try to obtain IBL's in a natural way only?

I want to do the right thing..And I truly want to be precautious at this time what I am doing and not make the damage I have done a permanant damage..

Please advise and I would appreciate a very specific answer..

[edited by: F_Rose at 2:39 am (utc) on Mar. 12, 2007]

nippi




msg:3278904
 2:56 am on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

seoArt

I Don't see how link churn, could have anything to do with how a links on a page is seen. There are plenty of reasons for a link page to change daily.

eg. Today's list of hotels with great deals, or this week we are featuring restaurants in soho, here are some of our favorites.

An outbound link need not stay for long, to be real.

Crush




msg:3279117
 8:51 am on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

BUY LINKS IT WORKS!

All links work. The only ones I would not touch are probably the most well known most expensive service. They leave a footprint on for advertising their service. Something called ........ ads

If your sites is trusted you can get the most amazingly crap links and as long as google indexes them it means they are OK.

ClintFC




msg:3279125
 9:05 am on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Buying links is a definite no no. Google have decreed it so. And so, it must be.

There are few things more black-hat than purchasing a link to your website. I mean, why stop there. Why not pay for a TV advert, a billboard, or even a full-page newspaper ad with pictures in glorious technicolour? Plainly this would be ridiculous.

No. If you want to advertise your site, then stick to the only Google-approved method: AdWords.

Komodo_Tale




msg:3279164
 9:40 am on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

If a link is purchased that is editorially placed than it does not require a nofollow. An example of this is the Yahoo! Directory.

If a link is reviewed and if the review is paid for, then that link does not require a nofollow. In Yahoo!'s case, according to Google you're not paying for the link; you're paying for the review.

Which is exactly what I meant when I wrote 'editorially placed,' similar to how subjects are included in a newspaper's editorial page, not as in edited text, which could be construed as contextual or placed within a paragraph or sentence. Thanks for clarifying this.

Komodo_Tale




msg:3279179
 10:16 am on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

There are few things more black-hat than purchasing a link to your website.

Many prominent and capable yet largely unknown SEO practitioners would vehemently disagree with both this statement's subject and its predicate. I could list several practices that I would term Black Hat and consider more egregious than purchasing links for weight. Notice, I said 'for weight' because Google condones purchasing links for traffic along with their admonishment to include a nofollow on paid links that have not been editorially reviewed.

The other end of this statement assumes that purchasing links for weight is unethical. I've listened to and read many honest opinions that Google is wrong on this point. Sure, if you want to be listed in Google you ought to follow their terms of service, but just because Google says something does it make it so? Is Google the final arbiter of SEM ethics? And how are we to persuade Google that they are wrong, to change their policies if no one challenges them?

Think about it. If I have a network of domains and, if I take a dip in the rankings for a particular keyword, and if I set a link from another of my own domains, a strong domain, to the crumping domain with the express intention of giving that domain a boost....if I do this is it considered unethical? Typically not. Yet, if I purchase a link to do the exact same thing I am ethically on shaky ground. The only difference is that in one case a payment is made for value and in the other no payment is made because I own both domains. The search engines may not necessarily appreciate either approach. They may even combat it algorithmically. But few, perhaps some strict contextual constructionists, will suggest that I not interlink my own domain properties on ethical grounds. This capitalistic approach is just one of many arguments against Google's policy.

[edited by: Komodo_Tale at 10:18 am (utc) on Mar. 12, 2007]

Syndicate29




msg:3279237
 11:46 am on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I first saw this <blog> post about a large corporate manipulating Google rankings a few weeks ago and instantly thought "Ouch, that's being caught red handed" but thinking about it now I'm not so sure.

Is it really manipulating anything or is it just buying advertising? Where do you draw the line?

The answer for me is simple: This particular company's activities were first raised publicly on 22 Feb 07 (and Google must have realised before then that they suddenly had literally millions of inbound links appear) and yet today that company's site is still #1 for that key phrase.

So either Google doesn't care or else they have no way of telling which links are bought rather than gained naturally.

[edited by: tedster at 6:56 pm (utc) on Mar. 12, 2007]
[edit reason] remove non-authority link [/edit]

sem4u




msg:3279243
 11:56 am on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

That company is buying a lot of links but does Google really care? Maybe not.

Is the site about the search term and is it relevant? Yes it is.

Also being a well known brand the site probably has a load of organic one-way links as well.

Syndicate29




msg:3279252
 12:11 pm on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Also being a well known brand the site probably has a load of organic one-way links as well.

I'd agree with that if this was their corporate site we're talking about but it's not, it's their online shop subdomain - typically (i.e. organically) people would link to www.domain.co.uk not shop.domain.co.uk.

Using Yahoo Site Explorer:

Their main domain : 13,935 inlinks
Their shop domain : 2,479,715 inlinks

Oh and for reference:

www.google.co.uk: 531,574 inlinks

Now tell me that their IBLs that are 5x that of Google are organic! ;)

This tells me that buying links is OK with Google despite what they've said elsewhere.

[edited by: Syndicate29 at 12:13 pm (utc) on Mar. 12, 2007]

sem4u




msg:3279267
 12:20 pm on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I see what you mean - a massive link buy then! ;)

I wonder if this site will get a Google slap anytime soon?

It would be interesting to see what Matt Cutts makes of it :)

lfgoal




msg:3279292
 12:48 pm on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Buying links is a definite no no. Google have decreed it so. And so, it must be.

There are few things more black-hat than purchasing a link to your website. I mean, why stop there. Why not pay for a TV advert, a billboard, or even a full-page newspaper ad with pictures in glorious technicolour? Plainly this would be ridiculous.

No. If you want to advertise your site, then stick to the only Google-approved method: AdWords."

Absolute nonsense of the highest order. Purchasing links for advertising and purchasing links for search engine manipulation are two separate things.

"Why not pay for a TV advert"

If I thought it would be cost-effective, why not? And who's to say that I can't? Google?

F_Rose




msg:3279483
 4:04 pm on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Now that Google is banning our keywords due to paid links does that mean don't ever purchase a link again for SEO purposes?

The other ways of obtaining organic links it much too complicated. Is everyone going through this complicated route to obtain quality links?

Syndicate29




msg:3279586
 5:35 pm on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Now that Google is banning our keywords due to paid links does that mean don't ever purchase a link again for SEO purposes?

How do you know your ban is due to paid links?

The company mentioned in a previous post appear to have bought over 2 million links at least a month ago (Marketleap shows they had millions on 14 Feb 07 - are there any other tools that might show historical linking info?) and yet are still #1.

How long ago did you buy your links and how many did you buy?

[edited by: tedster at 6:53 pm (utc) on Mar. 12, 2007]
[edit reason] remove non-authority link [/edit]

F_Rose




msg:3279626
 5:53 pm on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I bought 15 links in three months time.

High PR links, relevant sites.

1 link went sitewide (w/o my knowledge) and broght me in over 5,000 links.

I am in total loss and have no idea how to proceed.

PLEASE HELP!

UK_Web_Guy




msg:3279765
 7:39 pm on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am amazed with the link buying that is going on and IS working..

We are in 2007, have been through no end of algo updates and aims to tackle link manipulation, yet there are so many VERY BIG brands that are buying links from some of the big players in this area that are working a treat..

Having said that, if it takes me less than a minute to figure out that XYZ company is ranking because they are buying links via ABC company, then it probably takes the likes of Matt Cutts, less than 10 seconds with his secret tools.

Time will tell.....

eschulma




msg:3279786
 7:59 pm on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think the "Buying links is a definite no-no" was a JOKE, guys! And a funny one. He is absolutely right. It's OK to pay *Google* for placement via AdWords, but no one else.

FrankWeb




msg:3279787
 8:01 pm on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

F_Rose: are you sure it is the purchased links that bring your site down? I know how stressfull it can be. I am currently also way down under in the results, for google. I had to ask and still do ask myself why the rankings are so low. It could be duplicate content, over optimizing and so much more.

My tip: don't try to panic, tip from my wife :)
Look carefully and list the possible problems and go from there. Good luck!

Robert Charlton




msg:3279807
 8:17 pm on Mar 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

F_Rose - I don't think you were "penalized." It's just that your paid links were discovered and nuked, and now you have no inbounds. And you are maybe on Google's "watch list," if there is such a thing.

So, you're going to have to bite the bullet and put in some effort building inbound links. If you do acquire some good quality links, chances are you will come back, but it will take time and effort, and maybe some good content on your site.

If you don't have time to read what's been suggested and to build and promote your content, and you choose instead to buy links once more, you're going to have to take the chance that...

a) Google isn't watching your site and that maybe you'll get away with it this time.

b) You know more about buying links than Google knows about detecting them.

Some link buyers are savvy enough to get away with it. You've had some bad luck and are now faced with some choices.

This 52 message thread spans 2 pages: 52 ( [1] 2 > >
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