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Who is going to use the no follow in paid links?
I sell links should I use it...
proboscis




msg:3313976
 9:48 pm on Apr 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

I sell advertising on my site and I know Google wants us to use the rel=no follow in all paid links but I haven't started doing it yet.

Wondering what all of your opinions are, should we start using it for all paid links?

 

ken_b




msg:3314849
 5:22 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

" I've started using the rel="nofollow" tag in outbound links even though they're not paid."

Who gets to start the "I've been banned/penalized for PR Hoarding" thread?

europeforvisitors




msg:3314850
 5:23 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

If I, as a web publisher (be it ecommerce, information, education....etc..) can't simple set an outbound "hypertext" link from one of my content pages to another resource that I deem as a valuable complimentary resource for my visitors...and then have to consider how Google will see this (paid or not paid)...and worry about some of penatly or devaluation for ranking....

Why would you worry about that? Google has no vested interest in penalizing or devaluing legitimate links.

Of course, if your site about the life of Jesus or the romance between Abelard and Heloise has "valuable complementary" links to sites that are selling diet pills, debt-consolidation loans, credit cards, and Viagra, and if those valuable complementary sites are getting all kinds of inbound links from domains that Google has identified as belonging to "bad neighborhoods," then maybe your outbound links could be ugly in the eye of the beholder--whether the beholder is Googlebot or a human being. :-)

rarethings55




msg:3314899
 5:44 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I feel like I'm paying taxes all over again!

simey




msg:3314906
 5:48 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've read countless posts over the years saying that the inbound links that were really valuable to get, that really 'counted', were on-theme, on-topic links.

If so, how come all those off topic paid footer links (viagra, credit-cards, diet pills) are supposedly messing up googles serps so bad? )

rekitty




msg:3314908
 5:50 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hmmm, I'm going to counter and say that using nofollow is more of a risk.

That's great contrary thinking. After a lot of though very much agree.

As soon as you put nofollow on any links you just raised your hand. You are telling the search engines you understand the issue of paid links and your website sells links. Not something I'd want to be advertising since that puts you with a very small minority of websites.

Using nofollow on comment links by flipping a switch in your blog software is fine. That is very common use and what nofollow was designed for in the first place.

Using nofollow on any other links on your site will flag you as a link seller to the algorithms. If I was coding up anti-link buying code at Google I'd give all the other links on your site more scrutiny since you raised your hand as a link seller.

The large majority of sites owners have never heard of nofollow, don't care, and never will. Often they don't even know SEO value of the link they are selling you. It's just an advertisement, sponsorship or a favor to some crazy webmaster that's willing to pay for a link to their site. Surf the web with a tool in your browser that highlights nofollow links. You will quickly see only a small minority of site ever use nofollow.

I'd suggest you never use nofollow unless you are selling links in a way that can be easily detected. That way you look like the huge majority of webmasters who are completely clueless about nofollow. As soon as you add nofollow you are volunteering for a Google link audit.

lfgoal




msg:3314942
 6:13 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

"As soon as you put nofollow on any links you just raised your hand. You are telling the search engines you understand the issue of paid links and your website sells links."

Not necessarily. There's always more than one side to a coin.

You may wish to list external resources on a site because they're helpful. But since there's no way to know WHO will own the site you link to 2 years down the road or WHAT they'll be doing seo-wise, you may wish to use nofollow simply to protect yourself.

Or, you may have one than site and think its logical to provide links from one site to another. You can avoid the whole "link algorithmn manipulation" thing by using nofollow.

Or you may have a news site and, as a consequence, link out to many different kinds of sites on a daily basis. Do you really have the time to investigate everyone you link to discern whether or not they're part of a bad neighborhood? If you don't, nofollow may be useful.

I have to say this and this is prompted by the post I just responded to. Does anyone here simply link out for the benefit of the user? That's rhetorical because I know many of you do. However, many of the responses seem to indicate that linking out is done primarily to boost sites in the serps versus soley to provide resources to users.

I don't like MC advocating that webmasters rat each other out, but, in some ways, nofollow has the potential to be a very liberating thing. Link to who you want, even your own sites, and eliminate some worry.

Mister Markup




msg:3314951
 6:15 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I was inclined to be dismayed at first by this news, but not now.

Some may wonder how they can build traffic and PR if paid links will all have the rel=nofollow attribute.

The answer is to develop content that your visitors like so much that they recommend it by giving it links.

I pay for CPM or CPC ads when I publish some new content, but I don't generally need to advertise any pages that have been around for a few months, because people like to link my pages.

The ones who are really going to lose out from rel=nofollow are the Made For AdSense sites, and in general sites that don't really offer any value to their visitors.

Google and the other search engines can only survive by presenting high-relevancy search results; it's in their interest, and the interests of the publishers of every legitimate website that they are able to do so.

madmatt69




msg:3314968
 6:30 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

But seriously - We're like the 10% of webmasters who keep up on this sort of thing.

Most people don't follow this at all, and someone sends them an email saying "I'd like to buy an ad, for $50 a month, here's the text".

So they say sure, if the ad isn't blatant porn or gambling (unless their site is too). And don't give it another thought.

Advertising is advertising. Ultimately google has to find another way of rating websites than relying so heavily upon links.

As stated in their guidelines:
Make pages for users, not for search engines … Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”

[edited by: madmatt69 at 6:32 pm (utc) on April 18, 2007]

trinorthlighting




msg:3314971
 6:31 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I do not see what the big deal on paid links using the no follow is. If I want to buy a link, I do not care about page rank flowing. I want to buy a link where I will get traffic and make sales right?

I can see exactly where google is going with them. They have always been cracking down on spam and link schemes because links are the base of the algo. If your selling a link what is wrong with letting people know and labeling the link as an advertisement and using a no follow? People who buy the link will not care, they will only care about traffic and conversions...

Unless, your in the business to manipulate PR and serps...... Then Google should have no mercy on you.

Want to be in Googles Search Engine, we are going to have to play by the rules.

[edited by: trinorthlighting at 6:39 pm (utc) on April 18, 2007]

wheel




msg:3314973
 6:33 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Bullcrap. It's not in my best interests to have google determine what links are paid or not. It's in my best interests to rank in google.

Here's a simple decision tree:
add nofollow - your site doesn't pass link pop through links.

Don't use nofollow and google doesn't know they're paid links - your site passes link pop; benefits your advertisers.

Don't use nofollow and google decides to stop your link pop passing - you're in the same situation as if you used the nofollow tag, just without the work. And being a Google shill.

I'm still amazed at the amount of people buying this spew from Google. Anyone remember the reason they originally promoted nofollows? Anyone? Hint: it doesn't include the words 'paid links'. This is a complete bait and switch on Google's part. Yet you can rub some people's noses in it and all they've got to say is 'it's helping build a better web'. Riiiight. How quaint.

Fact is, you use nofollow, you're making your site basically worthless from a web infrastructure view by breaking down the natural linking power - that's what the web is built on, not Google's continued domination. Why someone would do that for Google's benefit is beyond me.

As for the concept of 'build great content and get links', goodie for you. That mantra doesn't work in many industries. If it works, again, goodie for you. I don't think that gives you a moral compass to start hammering those folks that don't have it quite as cushy.

Ultimately, Google's trying to stop people from doing SEO. If you're doing SEO, why you would help them stop you from doing your job and ranking makes no sense. IMO it's short sighted and quite frankly poor business ethics against the entire industry.

Google's doing this 100% for their benefit financially. Try looking at it from that perspective. Then decide if nofollow on paid links is such a great idea.

Webwork




msg:3314974
 6:36 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Which of the following variations of paid or "paid in kind" or quid-pro-quo or "value for link" exchange should a link condom be applied to?
  • I'm a paid member of a professional organization, therefore there is a link to my website from the organization's website. Non-members don't get links, just listings.
  • I make a gift or a contribution. I get a link.
  • I'm a supporting member. I get a link.
  • I "contribute" an article. I get a link in return.
  • I do a review. I get a link.
  • I submit a photo. I get a link.
  • I provide a link. You return the favor.
  • I refer you a client. You give me a link.

Presumably all of them and likely many other variations of links that are given "in consideration" of something provided. That likely leaves an increasingly small number of links to tally. Now, if only we knew what motivated those links we might have a ranking system that worked based upon links.

It's 2007, not 1997. Isn't it now well established, at least in the web development community, that Links=WebTraffic and WebTraffic=Money? Circa 1997 assumptions of inert link voting are simply outdated. The virginal link has been slain. Search engines themselves set in motion the death of untainted link voting the minute it became known that they relied upon links for ranking. It's time to find another virgin to slay.

Let's move on with a real analysis of why any one page on the WWW ought to stand higher than any other in the SERPs, like a) does it do a really good job of answering a query; b) does the page support its 'answer' with authority; c) did this page 'do it - answer the question - first'; d) does it do it as well today as it did so a month ago; and, e) is this new page answering the question merely parroting what (c) already established with some authority.

If you fall into this mentality - that you must obey the mandate of no_follow - you may actually be contributing to the demise of Google, as you are accommodating a weakness that otherwise should be rooted out by the natural selection forces of technology. The no_follow is a band-aid being applied over a vast and growing infection. Don't apply it. Force Google to evolve or die (be outdone by another algo that does a better job).

The only real answer to this issue is the answer that takes links out of the equation and focuses, instead, on recognizing an answer as the most robust answer to a query.

Save linking voting for something of less moment, like who wins American Idol. See how well voting is working there lately?

[edited by: Webwork at 6:53 pm (utc) on April 18, 2007]

wheel




msg:3314977
 6:37 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>>>Unless, your in the business to manipulate PR and serps......

Hello? Maybe you don't want to rank #1 for money terms. In that case, move over.

It's kind of ironic to hear people talk about getting links for traffic, then somehow imply that getting a #1 link from a portal called 'Google' is all ugly and nasty.

europeforvisitors




msg:3314978
 6:38 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

If so, how come all those off topic paid footer links (viagra, credit-cards, diet pills) are supposedly messing up googles serps so bad? )

Who's to say that they are? But even if they aren't "messing up Google's SERPs," why shouldn't Google use their presence as a factor in its QC mechanism? Every little bit helps.

Mister Markup




msg:3314986
 6:46 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's quite ironic, that the members here will complain about the scrapers showing up in the SERPs, and their ads being for Made For AdSense sites, yet complain that the best way to promote truly-relevant websites is somehow wrong or unfair.

I'm sorry if you've built your Empire on C4n4d14n \/14gr4 and pr0n. Try writing some HOWTOs - it's fun, and the best part is reading the nice things people say about them when they link your articles on message boards.

calicochris




msg:3314990
 6:48 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

The no_follow is a band-aid being applied over a vast and growing infection. Don't apply it. Force Google to evolve or die (be outdone by another algo that does a better job).

Yes, I agree and would love to do that! Unfortunately Google will 'force me out into the cold' before I can 'force them to do what is right for the industry'.;)

Usually customers do not understand this stuff. They just want their search engine positioning ... This is kinda between the devil and the deep blue sea.

trinorthlighting




msg:3314994
 6:51 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

You do not have to buy links to rank number 1 in keywords. That is a huge myth now and we have about 50 sites to prove that.

Imagine, all these link pages and recip link pages that clutter up googles resources. I do not blame google for purging this out of the index. It takes up resources that google pays for.

If your not happy with it, take the chance of being banned. If you want to be in their search engine, play by their rules.

Its not up to the webmaster to decide whats best for google, its up to google to decide whats in their best interest for their searchers.

calicochris




msg:3315001
 6:57 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I would rather see the rel="nofollow" to be expanded into say ..
rel="paid" or "advert" ...
rel="trusted"

or something like that. This nofollow thing was not made for this. Seems to me it is being bent sideways.

rekitty




msg:3315009
 7:02 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

But seriously - We're like the 10% of webmasters who keep up on this sort of thing.

Exactly. You are better off looking to the algorithms like the clueless 90%. As soon as you put up your first nofollow link you flag your site as part of the 10% that keeps up on this silliness.

I don't like MC advocating that webmasters rat each other out, but, in some ways, nofollow has the potential to be a very liberating thing. Link to who you want, even your own sites, and eliminate some worry.

Sounds like the web before Google existed... back when folks linked without worry.

The large majority of webmasters still link however they want. You are better off looking like them than like someone who might be doing something suspicious. Adding nofollow to your links makes you look suspicious.

what is wrong with letting people know and labeling the link as an advertisement and using a no follow?

That's funny. Users can't see nofollow! If you feel a need to tell your users it's an advertisement, by all mean do so.

You have an obligation to your users, not to Google. Do what's right for them and forget about Google. You'll be better off in the long run by not flagging your site for a Google audit by adding nofollow to links.

cabbagehead




msg:3315010
 7:02 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

> "Bottom line: All of us (including Google) have the freedom to make choices. Isn't freedom a wonderful thing? "

Ha. Kinda like I have the freedom to drive 100 MPH on the highway while drinking tequila...doesn't mean there is no enforcable consequence.

> "I think Google has recently thrown in the nofollow tag into the algo to help combat the Google Bombing scenario and make webmasters responsible for the content they provide and link to."

Well this is scary! So now we're all responsible for Google's shortcomings and are suppose to turn each other in. Its the Communist 'Pinko' witchhunts of 2007!

Any of us who does this is automatically giving our power to Google and is a selfish fool! We collectively are clearly in control of this situation (otherwise they wouldn't be asking for our help). If we begin to fall for this one by one then we are defecting as they play divide and conquer. You see how the military treats defectors!

Google is our enemy and is only playing our friend in order to control us. Stay united. Don't support this crap!

jimbeetle




msg:3315015
 7:14 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I do not see what the big deal on paid links using the no follow is.

The big deal is that the use of nofollow has been twisted too many danged times from the original intent -- to help webmasters combat blog and forum spam: These are user-added links that I have not reviewed and cannot vouch for. If the links don't count, spammers supposedly give up.

Now folks use nofollow to control passing PR to external sites; they use nofollow to control the flow within sites; they use nofollow on recips; they use nofollow to "protect themselves two years down the line"; they've been told for the past year to use nofollow on paid links.

And now with the FUD that's being spread more follow-the-hysteria folks are racing to add nofollow to all links.

Until there's a new "standard" I say stick to the original intent: Only use nofollow on unreviewed user-added links. If the PHDs at Google can't suss out what's paid and what's not, heck, that's their problem.

wheel




msg:3315021
 7:16 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>>>> You do not have to buy links to rank number 1 in keywords. That is a huge myth now and we have about 50 sites to prove that

Sorry, you do. Maybe in little girlie non-competitive fields where there's three people selling light bulbs for a living, and you're all happy taking up the top three spots, and onpage optimization gets you over the top, well, no you don't need to buy links. Unfortunately, that only works well until you've got decent competition.

People blather on about 'natural links' as the way to ranking. Clue me in here, what makes someone so holy if they put up 'original content' with the intent to get links to rank (spare me the 'I only want traffic from my links, and the links from Google's serps somehow arne't worth bothering with for some obscure reason') vs someone who buys links to rank? I'll tell you the difference - inexperience in competitive industries.

I already do all that over the top content, get natural links, get links from national daily newspapers and tv media, industry regulatory bodies, universities, blah blah blah. So are 100 other people crowding out the front 10 pages. The ones whining about paid links like they're somehow wrong start on page 11.

netmeg




msg:3315022
 7:18 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

This seems like a tempest in a teapot for most of us. I'm sure not gonna start putting nofollows on my outbound links, (all of which are non-paid).

netmeg




msg:3315025
 7:21 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sorry, you do. Maybe in little girlie non-competitive fields where there's three people selling light bulbs for a living, and you're all happy taking up the top three spots, and onpage optimization gets you over the top, well, no you don't need to buy links. Unfortunately, that only works well until you've got decent competition.

Sorry, you don't. I never have, and I have plenty of client sites in the top #3 in fiercely competitive fields and keyword phrases. There's no guarantees either way, of course, but it certainly can be done without buying links.

trinorthlighting




msg:3315030
 7:25 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Gosh, if google could put 10 sites out of business that buy links and promote viagara knock offs, ring tones and porn it would save on our email server resources and it would alliviate the headache of some of the blog spam.

BTW, we just do not sell light bulbs. These are actually my favorite sites we build in the past year or two. We have a lot of sites that we are involved with in super competitive keywords. ;-)

night707




msg:3315034
 7:27 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

If you have good and valuable content, then give a F* about Google and their policy. Sell your links, be smart, become black hat or whatever.

IMO Google is overdoing it and the Internet should never ever belong to them.

It is your website and you are allowed to do with it, what you want.

Allow Google, to show what they want.

If they prefer, not to list the best quality content on top, then users will drop Google Search. There are already enough examples for search terms, for which Google shows junk instead of the real sites.

Google is rich, but not the owner of the Internet. Ok, they control the traffic right now, but not forever with that sort of policy.

First comes quality content and results, then comes Google :-)

flack47




msg:3315037
 7:35 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think that Google sees the good intentions of using rel=nofollow as an effort to "purify" the SERPS by getting out all of the people attempting to game them.
I believe that they SEE them, but that doesn't mean that they honestly hold these intentions above the potential for them to shut down yet another form of competition for them in the online advertising market. As far as I'm concerned, they don't give two poos about that, but that's just being cynical.

If linking weren't such a major deciding factor for SERPS and page rank, then people would spend a lot less time selling and paying for links. I wonder why they're such a major factor. . .oh that's right! Search Engine algorithms! Maybe the SEs should look into modifying their algorithms, rather than telling millions of people how to modify their web sites.

I have yet to decide which faction I want to fall into on this subject:
1. People who buckle and do what Google says with good faith and intentions
2. People who ignore what Google says, change nothing and hope.
3. People who disregard this as a principal of what they view to be fair and right in a free market.

In a capitalistic society, it's our right to sell anything that isn't deemed illegal - links. Just the same, as a business, Google is free to run anyway they feel inclined and provide any terms of service they deem necessary, no matter how much it may inconvenience others.

wheel




msg:3315038
 7:35 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>>Sorry, you don't.
Sorry, you do. Or your idea of 'fiercely competitive' is really 'sorta competitive'.

I'm fine with the idea that in your industries you don't need to buy to rank. But you try that in some industries, and like I said, try page 11 for those results.

Also like I said, I don't get the smug attitude. play in your small sandbox, waste your life dreaming up free linking ideas. In the meantime, others have bought enough links to rank and are out fishing. It's not smart, it's dumb when you try and be smug when there's a faster, easier and cheaper way to get the same job done.

callivert




msg:3315052
 8:07 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Unless, your in the business to manipulate PR and serps...... Then Google should have no mercy on you.

isn't that everyone?

You do not have to buy links to rank number 1 in keywords. That is a huge myth now and we have about 50 sites to prove that

Well said! Exactly.
You can spam blogs, forums, social bookmarking sites, trade links, set up fake websites, set up your own blogs, ping the hell out of everyone, establish myspace profiles, and all that other "white hat" SEO stuff. There's no need to buy links at all.
And the wonderful, pure companies at the top of the SERPs don't engage in these practices. Why, I've heard a rumor the folks at amazon and ebay have never even heard of google. And the CEO of sony was heard to ask someone at a meeting "what's a search engine?"
But yes, I'm afraid it is true. There are some unscrupulous types out there who have tried to manipulate google rankings from time to time.

lorenzinho2




msg:3315054
 8:07 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think every web publisher has an ethical obligation to tell their users which links are paid, and which links are not.

I feel no such obligation to take the additional step of telling Google. I'm sorry that they're having problems with their algo, but for them to try and unload this failure to the webmaster community seems ill conceived, and destined to end badly.

Does a paid link clearly marked "sponsored" in any way affect the quality or relevance of that page for the purposes of organic search? Of course it doesn't.

Webwork says it best: Google needs to evolve to deal with the link obsessed reality that they created. Trying to bully webmasters is not the way to do this.

europeforvisitors




msg:3315062
 8:12 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

In a capitalistic society, it's our right to sell anything that isn't deemed illegal - links. Just the same, as a business, Google is free to run anyway they feel inclined and provide any terms of service they deem necessary, no matter how much it may inconvenience others.

Exactly. All of us--including Google--get to decide how, where, and why we link to other sites and send them traffic. What's good for the Google is good for the gander, and vice versa.

night707




msg:3315074
 8:17 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

There is enough junk that rules No.1 positions at Google and their engeneers come across like big time losers.

Now Google wants to use informers .... what a joke!

Why can't they admit the end of their easy to manipulate algo strategy and hire a bunch of brains capable enough to select what deserves to be listed on top.

That would be cheaper, more efficient and certainly more relevant than what this non-functional based on links system will ever generate.

In fact, I could offer to provide IT savy folks in Asia, who would be 100% capable and happy to work a whole month for $100 to do nothing but trying to find the very best pages for any important keyword.

Matt's request for "informers" is nothing but a huge disgrace for this multi billion operator who is loosing it's quality roots in these days.

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