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This 164 message thread spans 6 pages: < < 164 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 > >     
Who is going to use the no follow in paid links? - part 2
willybfriendly




msg:3316428
 3:04 am on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

< continued from [webmasterworld.com...] >

>>>- The "nofollow" attribute was created to prevent "linkspam" in blogs, Wikis, forums, and other anyone-can-post venues. Matt Cutts has suggested that it might also be useful as a way to handle paid links that exist to drive traffic and not to manipulate PageRank. (He and his coleagues have suggested other methods as well; take your pick.)<<<

If we acdept this statement, the we must conclude that no follow was not intended to deal with people choosing to monetize their websites.

Google has a problem with their algo. It is in large part due to their dominance as a search engine. They can solve their own problem without infringinn on the right of others to make money.

I will grant that it is an intersting approach to get site owners snitching each other off when it is Google's problem. We have no obligation to assist Google in their search to maintain dominance, especially if it infringes on our ability to monetize our sites.

If Google can sell adspace, then I can damn well sell ad space. Further, I can do so according to my own policies and guidelines, not those imposed by Google.

And, if Google attempts to control my internal policies and guidelines by using their market dominance to impose what are ultimately fianancial penalties against me, well then I guess we need to start discussing unfair trade practices.

WBF

[edited by: tedster at 5:50 pm (utc) on April 20, 2007]

 

Play_Bach




msg:3317221
 9:01 pm on Apr 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

> Clear enough?

No. You seem to be trying to make a case that adding nofollow to the links somehow makes them not work - almost as if the HTML got screwed up. That's not what's going on at all - the links still work fine, they just don't skew page rank anymore, and that's a good thing.

willybfriendly




msg:3317345
 12:06 am on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

On one or more of my sites I have links going to Matt's blog and various Google pages.

Perhaps I should no-follow them...

Wasn't all that long ago that people were complaining about link-misers hoarding PR by misusing the no-follow tag.

WBF

MikeNoLastName




msg:3317370
 1:04 am on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>So? Use JavaScript for your advertising links. That way, you won't need to feel guilty about using "nofollow." :-)

Seems like a whole lot of additional complexity, page load time, requiring the visitor to have Javascript enabled, etc. We've prided ourselves from the beginning on using no frames or javascript, we're not about to start now.

If the intent is to keep the big-money-guys from "buying" their way to the top of the SERPs, I don't see why the poor mom and pop who are struggling to learn HTML 101 just to post a notice about their pie baking biz and link their local partners, need to read another two chapters to get the system to NOT HURT THEM. Think they have a clue what Matt means about redirecting through a robot.txt'd domain?I'm not even sure I do, doesn't this require a second independent throw-away domain to ensure avoiding the problem?

The other 95% of the webmasters who don't read this thread or Matt's blog (like me until today) won't be using it, so is G going to be penalizing ALL of them simply for linking which is what they've always incouraged? How many sites will be mistakenly penalized for improperly linking and not even making a cent off of it?

What about UNPAID links to your OWN other domains? Are these, more often than not, going to get caught up in the same mix?

I'm about to side facetiously with the others who say, EVERYONE should add nofollow to EVERY single link (just to be absolutely, positively safe and sure ;-), then G would have no more search engine left since it would have no way to calculate PR.

europeforvisitors




msg:3317394
 2:23 am on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

The problem here is this. Google tells you to create sites for the user, and has been since day 1. Explain to me the benefit of doing this to the user?

Excuse me, but since when have paid links been for the benefit of the user?

That's not what's going on at all - the links still work fine, they just don't skew page rank anymore, and that's a good thing.

Yes, and a federal court has ruled that Google's "pageranks" are opinions that are protected by the First Amendment.

Enough of idle lawsuit threats against Google. Let's try something different: How about threats of lawsuits against THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW or Roger Ebert by people who are unhappy because they can't get coverage of their books or movies?

lammert




msg:3317411
 3:34 am on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm about to side facetiously with the others who say, EVERYONE should add nofollow to EVERY single link (just to be absolutely, positively safe and sure ;-), then G would have no more search engine left since it would have no way to calculate PR.

As Play_Bach tried to explain a few posts earlier, nofollow doesn't make links unusable, nor undetectable by Google, in contrary to JavaScript links and links through scripts in directories that are excluded from robots.txt. The links are seen by Google and recorded in their system. You will see those links in Google's webmaster console for example.

It is up to Google to decide how they value links and they may decide to give (some) nofollow links value in the future if they have fine tuned their spam-links algorithm in such a way that nofollow doesn't add much value to their ranking system. At this moment Google already devalues many non-nofollow links because their link filters define them as spam or undesirable, so why shouldn't they re-value nofollow links if they think these links have value?

PageRank, and all other ranking parameters in Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines are their own property and they have the right to decide which underlying data (links, nofollow links or both) are used in the calculation of these parameters. It is a silly idea to think that adding nofollow to links on your site will somehow break Google's pagerank calculation. Wasn't the introduction of nofollow not to prevent manipulation of the pagerank algorithm in the first place?

What about UNPAID links to your OWN other domains? Are these, more often than not, going to get caught up in the same mix?

As I mentioned in the first part of this nofollow thread, I have marked the site-wide inter-domain links nofollow. They are there to inform the visitor, rather than manipulate the SE algorithms. My definition is, that I wouldn't have had those links in place if these domains were from different owners, except when someone paid me for it. So they are more or less paid links in my definition, I only don't transfer some amount of money from my left to my right pocket on a monthly base :)

steveb




msg:3317442
 4:41 am on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Excuse me, but since when have paid links been for the benefit of the user?

Since forever. What kind of question is that?

Most Internet advertising is of value to users. Some isn't, but obviously most paid ads are there for the benefit of the user.

activeco




msg:3317480
 6:51 am on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

What I don't understand is why suddenly such the hype about the issue.
Google has been advocating it for a long time.

Look at this post [mattcutts.com] from September 2005(!):

Using nofollow is a safe way to buy links, because it’s a machine-readable way to specify that a link doesn’t have to be counted as a vote by a search engine.

And the announcement of the measures:
I wouldn’t be surprised if search engines begin to take stronger action against link buying in the near future.

So it took them almost two years to implement that and now everyone is surprised?

The only question remained is how does Google react to paid links. Has it accepted the given suggestion?:
Reputable sites that sell links won’t have their search engine rankings or PageRank penalized–a search for [daily cal] would still return dailycal.org. However, link-selling sites can lose their ability to give reputation (e.g. PageRank and anchortext).

reseller




msg:3317517
 8:52 am on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

activeco

"The only question remained is how does Google react to paid links. Has it accepted the given suggestion?:"

Reputable sites that sell links won’t have their search engine rankings or PageRank penalized–a search for [daily cal] would still return -----.org. However, link-selling sites can lose their ability to give reputation (e.g. PageRank and anchortext).

IMO, that will be a very week response and measure from Google's site.

Because especially those high PR value sites (PR6, PR7, PR8, PR9 & PR10) which sell links without the rel=nofollow attribute and accordingly attempt to manipulate PageRank, deserve to lose their PR entirely.

Marcia




msg:3317523
 9:00 am on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

reseller, are you saying that it's a mere slap on the wrist for committing the equivalent of a felony?

reseller




msg:3317586
 12:22 pm on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Marcia

Thanks for asking ;-)

Allow me to start by a simple definition:

PageRank-Parasite (PRP): A site selling backlinks (without rel=nofollow attribute) for the main purpose of boosting the buyers site(s) PageRank. I.e PRP is attempting to manipulate the PageRank system.

Matt Cutts said: "However, link-selling sites can lose their ability to give reputation (e.g. PageRank and anchortext).".

Problem here is that nobody outside Google will know for sure whether a PRP site isn't passing PageRank juice anymore, if the Toolbar is still showing a "green PR10", for example. I.e the demand on paid backlinks from that PRP site will continue.

Therefore I'm asking Google to change for example the "Green PR10" to a "White PR0" inorder to allow people to evaluate the PRP site correctly. Its also an excellent effective preventive measure!

Sooooo...

"Don't Go Wobbly On Me", Matt :-)

wanderingmind




msg:3317693
 4:15 pm on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

**
Ooooh, that would mean a lot of angry newspaper publishers, Reseller! I can bet G would not do that. Most top visited newspaper websites do everything from selling text links to blending in Google Adsense (being premium publishers) into site navigation and content so well that even an experienced Adsense publisher may get fooled into clicking them. Remember that they are often helped directly by a Google rep in such matters.

**
Also, while we occasionally talk about lawsuits, how about this one - G actively encourages publishers to blend ads into content and navigation. I am sure most succesful publishers have received mails and advice/ phone calls from G reps asking them to do it. How about a class action suit on requesting publishers to deliberately mislead visitors into clicking on ads? I mean, I don't know if there is a case there but if there is, there are millions of emails to prove it. :-)

**

Back to paid links. Paid links were there before Google too - the purpose was to get traffic and it was an opportunity for publishers to monetise their sites. Once Google came along, that changed and they became a commodity that can pass link juice and provide a boost in search engines. A perfect SEO tool. Now, G wants to stop paid links entirely, or make sure they follow G's rules.

The way I see it, it is their job to detect paid links, and their right to value/ devalue paid links the way they want. Courts have said that G is in the right in deciding how to rank sites, and sadly, I guess this too goes under that. I don't like it, but thats how it is. But there is another aspect - paid links are a problem for Google, and they have no business asking people to change the way the Web operates, spy for them etc. Go ahead and devalue page links if the courts say you can do it, G, but don't ask publishers to surrender to new HTML conventions to suit your business purposes.

One thing we would all do well to realise is, G is a business - it is not operated by the government or UN, and aprt from its mission statement etc, it is an index and ranking system according to them, and is not so far a utility which provides justice to the world. (Added - Considering how much of the search engine traffic they control, I wish they were but then thats not a good idea either in the long term...)

[edited by: wanderingmind at 4:19 pm (utc) on April 21, 2007]

rekitty




msg:3317694
 4:18 pm on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Play_Bach, I said nothing about the HTML getting screwed up. Stating that is an obvious red herring. You either didn't bother to read the post or you simply don't understand the forces in play on the Internet today.

I'll state the monopolistic behavior I see from Google very simply:

Google is using its dominant market position to systematically make it increasingly difficult for the average webmaster to gain enough links to rank organically. This is putting hopes of traffic from organic search results out of reach for almost all websites. Google is doing this knowingly and intentionally so that most websites have no choice but to purchase and become dependant upon advertising from Google.

My long post above about the dentist is a detailed description of exactly how this behavior by Google is harming an average website.

Play_Bach




msg:3317699
 4:33 pm on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

rekitty: I don't agree with your take on this, sorry. Buying page rank is wrong, and that's what using paid links to accomplish this is. Period.

[edited by: Play_Bach at 4:35 pm (utc) on April 21, 2007]

lammert




msg:3317704
 4:37 pm on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am sorry to say rekitty, but your "small town dentist" example is not valid.

The number of people searching for the term "small town dentist" is independent of the number of paid links to your dentist's site. If his site is on page one in the SERPs when he had paid links, and ranks lower when those paid links are devalued, there will be another site that will be placed in the SERPs on his previous position. Lets assume this is also a site from a collegue dentist in the same town. That site will be there because it has more natural incomming links than your dentist.

So more Google users will be redirected to the dentist site with natural links, and less to the site with paid links.

From the perspective of the visitor there is no directly visible difference, they are sent to a dentist site in "small town". There is however a difference because that site is there because it was mentioned on other sites with natural links (reviews, recommendations, etc) and not because the site owner bought his position with paid links. Chances are that the visitors are better of with this dentist, because he is more often mentioned on other websites. So in the end the user experience of the visitor will be better.

Paid links--in general--blur user experience because it is the siteowner trying to promote his own business, not independent site owners recommending it.

rekitty




msg:3317743
 5:23 pm on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

... there will be another site that will be placed in the SERPs on his previous position. Lets assume this is also a site from a collegue dentist in the same town.

True, the dentist site will be replaced int the SERPs. But not by another dentist site. Most likely it will be replaced by an Adsense site with listings of dentists.

Just a couple years down the current path will result in no small sites having the means to rank on the first page. There will be nowhere for them to get links to do so. This is Google's mechanism to make money off organic listings in addition to paid listings.

The other part of Google's plan is this: the owner of the dental directory will have no real choice other than Adsense. Adsense will be the only viable way to monetize their site after their directory listings were de-valued with nofollow. Per Matt Cutt's threats they realized their dental directory wouldn't be on the first page of Google if they didn't add nofollow to their directory listings. Quite the pickle for the dental directory. Quite monopolistic behavior by Google.

Google won't be happy until nearly every listing on the first page results in Google revenue, both paid and organic.

[edited by: rekitty at 6:00 pm (utc) on April 21, 2007]

Play_Bach




msg:3317747
 5:27 pm on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

rekitty: This is specious at best. There's no reason to believe that sites with good content and genuine interest won't continue to rank well.

alvin123




msg:3317748
 5:28 pm on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Do a search for buy links and you'll find tons of sites selling links, not only in the regular search results but in adwords as well.

A few quotes from some adwords ads,

"Guaranteed First Page Ranking of Your Site - Flat
$999/Year!"

"Instant Traffic + Higher Rankings + Buyer's Guide + $100 of Free Links!"

"Unique Domains, Oneway Quality link Fast, Easy Links Only $24.95/mo"

The average "mom and pop" site, who doesn’t know that buying links is a bad thing, may just fall for one of these ads ( that Google endorses ) then the next time their site is spidered they are 950ed and don't know why.

IMHO Google should clean up its own site before dictating to others what they should do with theirs.

Play_Bach




msg:3317757
 5:31 pm on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

> Do a search for buy links and you'll find tons of sites selling links,
> not only in the regular search results but in adwords as well.

Hopefully, their days are numbered. Tick-tock.

SullySEO




msg:3317795
 6:03 pm on Apr 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Just a couple years down the current path will result in no small sites having the means to rank on the first page. There will be nowhere for them to get links to do so.

That's a very myopic view of how sites can rank.

Gavolar




msg:3317962
 12:21 am on Apr 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

< moved from another location >

OK.. Im a little confused with using the "no follow". I sell text links my self and dont want to use it as I know some of my customers are just trying to buy PR.
I think I have looked through all the posts and Im not sure if the "no follow" goes in the link or if its a meta tag.

Also is there any way of telling if the links are being reported as paid?

Many thanks!

[edited by: tedster at 12:44 am (utc) on April 22, 2007]

tedster




msg:3317974
 12:46 am on Apr 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's an attribute added into the anchor tag in question:

<a href="[some url]" rel="nofollow">link text or image</a>

And no, only the person doing the reporting would know -- and Google, of course.

Gavolar




msg:3317983
 1:19 am on Apr 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thanks a lot tedster.

But surely you can just view the "source" of the page and see that?

tedster




msg:3318010
 2:28 am on Apr 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

I guess I misunderstood your question. I thought you meant knowing which links were reported to Google directly as Matt Cutts requested. Of course you can view source to see who is tagging their own links as rel="nofollow".

willybfriendly




msg:3318051
 4:23 am on Apr 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>>I don't agree with your take on this, sorry. Buying page rank is wrong, and that's what using paid links to accomplish this is. Period.<<<

If only this were true.

Due to the commoditization of links (and contrary to EFV's earlier assertion, this is most definitely a result of G's dominance), it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain "free, organic" links - even to a high quality site.

Everyone and their mother's uncle knows the value of links, and they by in large want something in return for a link.

It was asked many, many posts ago - How will this effect paid directories? What about Yahoo, BOTW, business.com? How about BBB? How about a myriad of professional organizations that will list a website for a fee above and beyond a basic membership in the organization?

Some blithely respond that those are all examples of links subject to editorial review. Shucks, most paid links are subject to editorial review. How many knitting blogs offer paid links to p*rn sites?

Google's push to disincitivize paid links is directly related to its business model, which of course is paid links. Organic SERPs are nothing more than a loss leader, and there is little reason for Google to have commercial sites returned in its organic results.

The latest "suggestion" of the use of no-follow is contrary to its original stated purpose. Further, the idea of using JS or redirects are widely acknowledged to interfere with usability and/or SE algos.

It is Google's problem. Let them solve it. It is simply not our responsiblity to fix it for them, or to stop monetizing our own sites.

WBF

Sweet Cognac




msg:3318071
 4:46 am on Apr 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Is there a difference between using this one:

<a href="[some url]" rel="nofollow">link text or image</a>

or this one?

<a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.example.com/">Anchor Text</a>

I can't seem to get the first one to work. So I'm using the second one.

Just testing...

Whitey




msg:3318088
 5:36 am on Apr 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

europeforvisitors - Neither Matt Cutts nor Google has suggested using "nofollow" for normal, everyday editorial or reciprocal links. There has been NO suggestion that plain-vanilla linking per se is a bad or dangerous thing. (Why on earth would it be? Google depends on links for crawling and PageRank.)

Matt has said "all paid links". So it's not what he hasn't said, it's what he did say that counts.

This might include "paid" editorial links.

Matt has also said that reciprocal links have little impact on ranking a site anymore [ back in early 2006 ].

So I say, "FUD" until there is a categoric clarification from G which overrides our interpretations and speculations of what was fully meant, what is likely and what is capable of being omitted by G's algo.

For now, simply ALL forms of "paid links" put a site at risk.

This is a great peice of "FUD" PR by G.

M_Bison




msg:3318093
 5:54 am on Apr 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Seems like another case of who's paid links look less like paid links than the others.

If Google think they can design a search engine where only organic, earned links are counted they are horribly wrong.

IMHO, nofollow tags should only be used for user generated content, that is content you have no control over.

Everyone says that a link is like a "vote". Well, in all western democracies, how many votes are paid for?

Maybe Matt Cutts and the rest of Google should run for president and see how far he would get without any advertising (vote buying).

[edited by: M_Bison at 5:58 am (utc) on April 22, 2007]

steveb




msg:3318112
 6:59 am on Apr 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

"For now, simply ALL forms of 'paid links' put a site at risk."

No, any link does. Despite some of the bizarre assertions in this thread, any link could be mistakenly considered a paid one... while likewise, any link on any page might actually be a paid link.

Linking to anyone might get you a penalty, period, if only because Google utterly sucks at doing what it tries to do.

reseller




msg:3318120
 7:50 am on Apr 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Here is someting "fresh" from Matt Cutts [mattcutts.com] underlining links quality as an important scoring factor in ranking a site:


Matt

In deciding which pages to return, we look at on-page matches (topicality) as well as links and the quality of those links (reputation).

As you see its of importance to Google to identify the quality of links (reputation). Paid links without rel=nofollow is nothing but an attempt to sell reputation regardless whether the backlinks buying site(s) deserve such reputaion or not.
I.e paid links represent attempts to manipulate the way Google returns a page!

Unfortuantely until now, I see Matt signaling very weak measures to stop paid links manipulation. It isn't enough to say:


Matt

However, link-selling sites can lose their ability to give reputation (e.g. PageRank and anchortext).

I wish to ask Matt Cutts, why are you so soft on paid links manipulation than you are on hidden text, doorwaypages.. etc spam?

Is it because you see paid links manipulation less harmful on the way Google rank pages than for example hidden text [webmasterworld.com]?

Or is it because its the PR9 & PR10 big paid links merchants you are avoiding to upset?

Matt! No Guts... No Glory

whitenight




msg:3318130
 8:28 am on Apr 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Linking to anyone might get you a penalty, period, if only because Google utterly sucks at doing what it tries to do.

This seems to be what alot of people are missing.
If you link out at all and a competitor reports your site, what the guarantee that G does NOT see it as a paid link?!
Whether it is or isn't...

Cuz we all know, your competitors will never, ever, ever use such a tactic,
and Google, never, ever, ever makes mistakes
:rollseyes:

Seems like another case of who's paid links look less like paid links than the others.

Another great point.
My goodness, when G first announced the "crackdown" on paid links over 2 years ago, knowledgeable link buyers were already forming Plan B for paid links that would "count".
They may have gotten lazy, but those plans still exist.

It's extremely naive of people to think that link buying or selling will now go belly up.

Like prohibition, those who are able to avoid the authorities will simply get paid more and those willing to pay the premium will reap even greater rewards.

whitenight




msg:3318134
 8:43 am on Apr 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

And for all of you who think this is a brilliant idea.

Please, please, please don't come complaining when you start losing your rankings because:

A. 20-50% of your existing links don't count anymore because the site owners have put rel=nofollow on them out of fear.

B. 20-50% of your existing links don't count because those great PR7 editorial "completely natural" links were on sites that also sold a link, (or 2 or 10) to pay their site expenses and now can not pass PR to other sites.

C. 90% of the new links you now get have a rel=nofollow because the owner doesn't want to fall under G's mistaken wrath.

D. The sites who links to the sites that link to you fall under A, B, or C.

Might want to Stop & think about that for a minute....

[edited by: whitenight at 8:58 am (utc) on April 22, 2007]

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