Some good folks on this thread [webmasterworld.com...] have highlighted some key statements :
hvacdirect - Google works hard to ensure that it fully discounts links intended to manipulate search engine results, such link exchanges and purchased links.
Does this mean human edited referal links are dead? [ On topic sites and human directories ]. Surely not - imagine if all links that were rewarded in some way [ PR , editorial , contra exchanges , deals were axed ]?
Reseller - And it seems that they have improved the section under:
Quality guidelines - specific guidelines
by linking to more info.
Does that mean linking out to authority sites could be important and taken into account for ranking purposes [ I've seen some successful sites doing this, but can't measure their impact, except that they are No1 achievers ]?
[edited by: tedster at 12:03 am (utc) on June 6, 2007] [edit reason] fix link [/edit]
It's more than PR that may not pass -- all kinds of backlink influence may be stopped. Matt Cutts has clarified this several times in recent weeks, and been rather consistent on it since 2005. Here's one reference, with a link to a second:
Q: Iím worried that someone will buy links to my site and then report that.
A: Weíve always tried very hard to prevent site A from hurting site B. Thatís why these reports arenít being fed directly into algorithms, and are being used as the starting point rather than being used directly. You might also want to review the policy mentioned in my 2005 post [mattcutts.com] (individual links can be discounted and sellers can lose their ability to pass on PageRank/anchortext/etc., which doesnít allow site A to hurt site B).
Weíve always tried very hard to prevent site A from hurting site B.
I've thought about that statement quite a lot the last 2 months. Matt doesn't say that site A CAN'T hurt site B - just that Google tries very hard to prevent it. Which makes perfect sense.
But he doesn't say that a site will never be penalized due to having paid links.
If they see a clear pattern of large scale link purchasing for the sake of manipulating serps, do you really think they will just discount the links?
I think they are already looking at patterns, and sites can lose trust if the link profile is too suspicious. A few paid links - not a problem. Paid vs Natural link ratio too high and you may end up 950.