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Sell links, lose trust, drop out?
glengara




msg:3339910
 9:47 am on May 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Link sellers can lose trust, such as their ability to flow PageRank/anchortext." - Matt Cutts.

That mightn't be seen as a particularly serious consequence by sellers, unless of course it also applies to internal links.

For many sites the loss of internal "juice" would have some pretty serious consequences...

 

rekitty




msg:3344144
 7:35 pm on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

I sell links that are very relevent and useful to my visitors. I dont take money from everybody who owns a website, only qualified website can buy links from my website and I have a strict editotial guidelines, so it should be counted as a vote only, inspite of me getting some money for it.

matrix_neo, you are 100% spot on. Great post! Matt, Adam and any other SE engineers lurking out there... you might read that over a few times.

Hopefully Google's competitors will put an end to this silliness from Google. As Google wastes effort trying to find and discount paid links, I bet the the other search engines realize there is very useful signal in matrix_neo's purchased links that helps them improve their search results.

The search engine that is able to discern the true value of a link regardless of if it was bought, begged, borrowed or stolen will win the SE race in the end.

europeforvisitors




msg:3344170
 7:57 pm on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hopefully Google's competitors will put an end to this silliness from Google. As Google wastes effort trying to find and discount paid links, I bet the the other search engines realize there is very useful signal in matrix_neo's purchased links that helps them improve their search results.

Why should Google adopt halfway measures when it could just eliminate the organic search results and replace them with AdWords? Think how happy the link buyers would be: They could buy their way to the top without worrying about penalties.

Of course, users would desert Google en masse, so those paid-for listings would no longer be worth anything to the buyers. But at least the buyers could take solace in the fact that they weren't being picked on by Google.

shallow




msg:3344246
 10:39 pm on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

So is everyone dropping their text link ads?!

I'm a relative novice when it comes to these issues and don't understand much about what I read here. In fact, I didn't even realize that one of the advertisers (who contacted my directly) was using the ad for SE0. It only hit me about three weeks ago when they mentioned that I was part of their SEO program and invited me to now become an affiliate too.

I have no idea if I should drop the text link ads on my home page (the only place I have them). If I did, it would mean about a 20-25% drop in monthly revenue. Ouch. Most of my other revenue comes from AdSense and Chitika.

I've worked very hard and long to develop good content for my site. I haven't the foggiest idea what to do, or if I even need to do a thing.

As an aside, during the past few years Google reps have contacted me about three times to help optimize their ads at my site.

mattg3




msg:3344272
 11:43 pm on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Whose "bog standard business decisions"? Do you have any idea how many businesses go under each year? Are you suggesting that Google should follow the example of businesses (including Web businesses) that fail because of their owners' greed, ineptitude, and inability to think beyond next week?

And you are suggesting that one of the biggest ad brokers of the world lets their ads out based on pure chance? This might work in a growing market, but after that adios muchachos.

What you interprete as greed, would be neccessary control in my world. :)

Besides having both departments in the same company completely isolated would lead sooner or later to tensions. Are they not allowed to talk to each other are they not allowed to use the same gym. Is this realistic?

Adwords guy can't say to SERP guy, your last uodate really screwed with our forecast. So the Adwords people have to have their own prediction team to forecast and interprete what the SERP people do?

Sounds unrealistic.

You essentially state that the SERP team adjusts the algo and the rest of Google runs after it, hmm.

europeforvisitors




msg:3344332
 2:05 am on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Besides having both departments in the same company completely isolated would lead sooner or later to tensions. Are they not allowed to talk to each other are they not allowed to use the same gym. Is this realistic?

Come, now. No one has ever suggested that Google search employees and ad employees aren't allowed to "talk to each other" or "use the same gym." That doesn't mean they sit down together and work out ad optimization strategies, however.

When I worked as an editor and writer at PLAYBOY, nobody ever told me to skew my work to meet the needs of the advertising sales department. (In fact, I never even met anyone from the ad department.) That's pretty typical in big media companies. It's really the only way that a company like Google can operate, if only because word would get out quickly if the search team were told to fiddle the search results. Google's search gurus are already rich and can get jobs anywhere--they don't need to sell their souls to the advertising department.

mattg3




msg:3344515
 10:24 am on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

How targeted were the ads in playboy anything dynamic, automated, where you regularily invited to techtalks?

This is not about proving some evil Google strategy, but no influence means effectively no communication. And no one has to sell their soul. Your picture of businesses seems to be always incorporate a bad motive.

I am just trying to guess what what means in practice. From the G videos (te once about G), one gets a certain picture.

I also worked for companies and for elite unis like Stanford (the british) equivalent. Based on that I find the mixture of the uni influence in G very interesting.

It could very well be that they don't communicate, but based on being a director (aka sitting on a board now and then) in an offline business with 60 employees I would say that internal communication is a key point in any business.

In my opinion the key difference is in Google that the ads are targeted via words to content, while Playboy can, while probably using also some form of positioning, put an ad anywhere. That's a one time editoral decision.

Google prides itsself and I see it every day on my server to dynamically target ads. That's a totally different process.

The serp results affect directly what is shown on many subjects, while Playboy has moreorless a limited topics and the ads are I guess pretargeted by old means. Even if you would translate old means viewing number, target numbers and so on onto Google there should be a link beyond words. and there is sites get smartpriced. The rational step next would be to drop sites that are deemed bad targets. So is it effective to rank a bad target site higher than a good one. How do you get rid of well targeted ads?

Try to think of it as technical process and not some moral crusade. Google employees go to tech talks to constantly improve their knowledge. From my PhD in biometrics, I feel that there are many things they can do with the data they constantly collect to make the process extremely automated and effective. And isn't that what Google is known for. Automation, PhD, biometrics. Google has the largest biometrics problem in the world. That's what the phrase you constantly quote "<i>Organise the worlds information</i>" actually means. So if you watch the techtalks with your biometrics hat on you can start guessing what's going on and you develop ideas how you would do it yourself.

That's what I am doing, not having a moral go at Google. There are of course philosophical implications of a mass operated soulless process. These are well known, and made it into a many books, films and TV shows.

My individual contact with G employees has been positive. They reverted errors their software made with my video content.

But I am not entirely sure if you actually understand what it means to "<i>Organise the worlds information</i>". It really means to model mathematically the desire and needs of the planetary population.

That's about the biggest biometrical problem you can get. Well and if you did once biometrical modelling you develop ideas what they could do. So from that it seems EFFICIENT to link your incoming ad data to your outgoing platform. It's also EFFICIENT to install an interative algorithm that targets the maximum by varying the variables. Additionally you want to check if your not stuck in what is called a local maximum (minimum). And they have data, not three animals in a swamp spotted in 1969 while some hermit had a pee.

So some of the most intelligent minds sit on the largest biometrics problem there ever was with so much data and you are trying to tell me based on some Playboy editor experience that they deliberatly neglect their own data and make their own system unefficient while faced with the worlds biggest biometrics problem? And their boss is an engineer that wants to prepredict what everyone wants (That's his vision as far as I understood it).

So if you want to actually implement this (although it is definitely a dream), you would NOT throw away information.

Please try to understand what Google actually wants to do: the biometric equivalent of the unified theory of everthing in physics.

Then you can start to ponder about the philosophical implications: Can the watch understand the watchmaker?

But as a modeller I would want as much data as possible to solve the worlds biggest biometrics problem.

But maybe the management withholds information from the engineers, who knows. But why collect all the info then?

Playboy is a bit easier it's just reproduction modelling. That's a geek joke. ;)

pontifex




msg:3344556
 12:28 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Try to think of it as technical process and not some moral crusade.

All well put, but also sometimes with too much emotion, IMHO.

If I transfer your "mood" of the posting to the actual topic of this thread, I come to the conclusion, that their calculation model gets polluted by factors out of their control (paid links). And now again, from my first posting regarding this topic:

If you are really scientifically dedicated to organize that data into SERPs by calculations of keyword density, link counts, neighbourhoods or hilltop whatsoever, I would like to compare it to a weather model:

Scientists try to predict the weather for tomorrow and they put all data into the equation. Now the south is creating unexpected storms, which influence your prediction. What do you do? Forbid the bloody storms? That, and nothing else is Google doing!

They are as far from their scientific background as they can get IMHO.

IF they want to really "Organize the worlds information", they must deal with errors/unexpected flaws/manipulation attempts so that the calculation works by concept, and not by forbidding storms!

But maybe I am wrong and we are all just complain about G like we do about the weather? :)

P!

europeforvisitors




msg:3344605
 2:05 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Scientists try to predict the weather for tomorrow and they put all data into the equation. Now the south is creating unexpected storms, which influence your prediction. What do you do? Forbid the bloody storms? That, and nothing else is Google doing!

That's a poor analogy, and not just because weather forecasters often (usually?) use human judgment to determine their forecasts.

Organizing search results involves more than science: it involves editorial judgment. That's why, not too long ago, a federal judge ruled that Google's "PageRanks" are "opinion" that are protected free speech under the U.S. Constitution.

Google obviously doesn't use human editorial judgment when picking results for each SERP, but it does--and must--use editorial judgment in setting up the automated mechanism that sorts and delivers search results. If Google's search gurus have made the editorial judgment that paid links have a negative impact on search quality, it's only reasonable for them to set up countermeasures.

In any case, Google has made its intentions clear, so the real issue isn't whether paid links are helpful or harmful to search results; it's whether the members of this forum should accept Google's guidelines or risk the consequences of continuing with business as usual. What's your game plan?

glengara




msg:3344670
 3:32 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

*..or risk the consequences..*

As they are today the "consequences" put nether buyers nor sellers off, and they'll have to become a lot more serious before they do, IMO.

Which is what prompted the OP :-)

europeforvisitors




msg:3344672
 3:33 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

As they are today the "consequences" put nether buyers nor sellers off, and they'll have to become a lot more serious before they do, IMO. Which is what prompted the OP :-)

Maybe you're right, but in any case, you certainly got a lot of people upset. :-)

reseller




msg:3344694
 3:59 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

glengara

As they are today the "consequences" put nether buyers nor sellers off, and they'll have to become a lot more serious before they do, IMO.

Well said!

Therefore I can't understand why backlinks sellers and buyers are so much upset since Matt Cutts called to report paid links. He assured backlinks sellers in good time (2005) that they are not going to lose their ranking on Google or their PageRank. I.e it was a very peaceful and backlinks sellers friendly call from Matt :-)

In fact backlinks sellers and buyers should be very grateful for Google because it hasn't let them down ;-)

nzmatt




msg:3344793
 6:33 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

You do the math: on the exact same site I can buy adwords for 2 to 4 bucks per click. I can also buy a text link for $150/month that delivers 300 clicks/month. Which would you pick?

I think Google knows this and is highly motivated to squash an often superior form of advertising to their own.

Agreed.

I thought half the idea of the internet was direct communication sharing and efficiency. Why do we need a 'middle man' that sucks up webmaster profits?

decaff




msg:3344810
 7:08 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google obviously doesn't use human editorial judgment when picking results for each SERP, but it does--and must--use editorial judgment in setting up the automated mechanism that sorts and delivers search results. If Google's search gurus have made the editorial judgment that paid links have a negative impact on search quality, it's only reasonable for them to set up countermeasures.

=> Certainly, on occasion, G has to step in and make a manual editorial decision based on some sort of SPAM attempt

=> Yes...there is extensive editorial judgement built into the algorithm...which of course... is tied tightly to their business/revenue strategies

=> If the paid link industry is having a negative impact on the SERPs from a quality point of view (for G's user base and the quality of the results sets per sector)...then editorial judgement comes into play...BUT...more likely they are crunching some serious numbers in the background (based on their vast usability data per each vertical/niche) .. and projecting business decline based on certain trends...then you can bet they will take countermeasures...

I thought half the idea of the internet was direct communication sharing and efficiency. Why do we need a 'middle man' that sucks up webmaster profits?

=> The principle of pointing one page to another as a value added reference for the originating site's user base to the destination site's user base is at the very core of the Web (thus G building it's core algo around this principle)...

=> G is the Master Blaster of Click Arbitraging

europeforvisitors




msg:3344902
 10:49 pm on May 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I thought half the idea of the internet was direct communication sharing and efficiency. Why do we need a 'middle man' that sucks up webmaster profits?

You don't. Simply disallow googlebot in your robots.txt file.

shallow




msg:3345664
 6:34 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Was my question out of place that it's been passed over? I'm really trying to determine if selling links will or will not cause me to "Lose Trust & Drop Out Of Google."

Thank you.

tedster




msg:3345685
 6:53 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

My understanding: Google says your site may lose the ability to pass PageRank to other sites. I haven't heard of any loss of internal pagerank flow, or loss of PR inflow that would affeect ranking. Right now I'm only expecting to see this hit really brazen examples of link selling for ranking purposes, as pageoneresults said earlier.

But, we don't and can't know for sure right now. The wind of change is blowing and something will probably shift in the near future. Adwords/Adsense is going after arbitrage but in a gradual stepwise manner. I would guess that Google's organic search will also go after the link market in a similarly gradual way. But the warning has been given, and it's time to adapt.

glengara




msg:3345711
 7:23 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

*... may lose the ability to pass PageRank to other sites.*

Don't remember seeing the "to other sites" part, is there a provenance for it?

tedster




msg:3345820
 8:52 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Don't remember seeing the "to other sites" part, is there a provenance for it?

No - that's just my understanding (my prayer?) from reading what Matt said and in the context of his comments, which were all about enterprise between sites selling and buying links.

<added>Taking away the ability of a page to pass PR is not a new idea. From what I've seen in the past, that step never impacted the site's internal links or ranking. But this is a new situation, so admittedly I am guessing.

pageoneresults




msg:3345828
 9:02 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Don't remember seeing the "to other sites" part, is there a provenance for it?

2007/04/14
Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO - How to report paid links
[mattcutts.com...]

It’s a pretty good review of our policies at the time (e.g. link sellers can lose trust, such as their ability to flow PageRank/anchortext. Also, we're open to semi-automatic approaches to ignore paid links, which could include the best of algorithmic and manual approaches.).

2005/09/01
Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO - Text links and PageRank
[mattcutts.com...]

A natural question is: what is Google’s current approach to link buying? Of course our link-weighting algorithms are the first line of defense, but it's difficult to catch every problem case in adversarial information retrieval, so we also look for problems and leaks in different semi-automatic ways. 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).

glengara




msg:3345834
 9:09 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Neither of those quotes mention/specify "to other sites", P1.

pageoneresults




msg:3345852
 9:19 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Neither of those quotes mention/specify "to other sites", P1.

Hehehe, where else would it go?

I believe that is one of those comments that doesn't leave much room for misinterpretation. ;)

Lose their ability to give...

Lose their ability to flow...

Surely Matt is not talking about internally?

reseller




msg:3345861
 9:31 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

pageoneresults

Surely Matt is not talking about internally?

Agreed. Matt mentioned the said statement in connection to paid links. I.e in connection to outbound links.

Therefore I keep saying its a very mild action against sellers of paid links ;-)

glengara




msg:3345867
 9:34 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

*Surely Matt is not talking about internally? *

Link "reputation" flows both internally and externally, if neither is specified....

reseller




msg:3345872
 9:39 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

glengara

Matt mentioned that paid links seller's ranking wouldn't be affected.

If internal PageRank flow would be affected, that would for sure results in affected ranking. Which contradict what Matt said ;-)

glengara




msg:3345878
 9:45 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

MC said they wouldn't have their rankings/PR "penalised", but as we know G has a different view of a penalty than we have, they wouldn't see a page dropping ALL ability to pass link reputation as a penalty, we probably would.

tedster




msg:3345887
 9:53 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Given some of the folks who sell links, I highly doubt that Google would poke a stick into those nests.

reseller




msg:3345908
 10:20 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Agreed, tedster.

However, seeing how Google treating those big links sellers very gently, and keeping in mind the parody of BMW, I wish Matt has left those links sellers alone. Better no action than a very weak action, IMO.

Because now we risk that folks would go around saying that Google only penelize small to medium sites!

europeforvisitors




msg:3345926
 10:37 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Given some of the folks who sell links, I highly doubt that Google would poke a stick into those nests.

Can't they just prevent PR from being passed by the big link sellers without openly "poking a stick into those nests"? The mere suspicion that such links are worthless (except for whatever traffic they send) may be enough to discourage link buyers from shelling out big bucks.

steve40




msg:3345927
 10:40 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I suspect that the ability to pass pr to external links will be devalued but and here is a question

A lot of sites last year moved to absolute links rather than relative links to stop some of the problems of sites framing content also to ensure ranking went back to the correct page on the site, so the question is will those absolute links be considered internal or external links from the point of passing the PR juice , I think this could be more interesting than many think

steve

pageoneresults




msg:3345954
 11:24 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Can't they just prevent PR from being passed by the big link sellers without openly "poking a stick into those nests"?

If I'm not mistaken, haven't they (Google) been poking at these nests (Brazen Brokers) for the past couple of years?

hutcheson




msg:3346003
 1:19 am on May 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

>Link "reputation" flows both internally and externally, if neither is specified....

True. But realistically speaking, it's probably beyond the capability of Google algorithms to detect that you're paying yourself for links from one page on your domain to ... another page on your domain? Especially if you pay cash, don't give yourself a receipt, and do it in an abandoned mineshaft on a moonless night.

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