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This 56 message thread spans 2 pages: 56 ( [1] 2 > >     
Buying links - Always a bad idea?
Tonearm




msg:3428102
 5:31 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've read a few times in this forum that buying links is a bad idea. Does that only apply if the links are "obviously bought" like if they are surrounded by a bunch of other external links? Will Google penalize a site if they think it may have a bought link?

 

edd1




msg:3428389
 11:21 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

they seem to put a lot more emphasis on penalising the site that is selling the links because they are manipulating page rank knowingly.

It's very harsh to penalise a site buying links because that effectively is the same as any other advertising. The vast, vast majority of webmasters don't understand page rank, nofollow etc so why should they be penalised for buying an ad?

I have a question on this subject. If Google are so determined to stop people selling links why do so many high profile link brokers have page rank on their own websites?

For instance the biggest one I know of has a home page PR7 and that page clearly states they do something Google says is wrong. Wierd and contradictory and really difficult to take G seriously at times.

tedster




msg:3428401
 11:30 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Remember, a page can show Page Rank but still not be able to pass that PR on to another domain through outbound links. This kind of blocking has been one tactic Google talks about using.

edd1




msg:3428450
 1:20 am on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

But having those sites showing a PR7 homepage doesn't exactly stop people using their services.

If I was Google, I'd white bar anyone brokering those services and close them down overnight. Successful sites selling links often don't have a clue they're violating Googles guidelines and would be horrified to find out.

Link selling is easy to close down. Just go for the brokers who, to be fair, are the only ones who by definition are manipulating page rank on purpose. Many of the sellers and buyers don't realise they're doing that.

I just think that Googles says some very noble things but often just isn't prepared to do the right thing. Maybe they can't these days. Too many shareholders etc.

europeforvisitors




msg:3428486
 2:19 am on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's very harsh to penalise a site buying links because that effectively is the same as any other advertising.

Most ads don't use straight HTML links, and it's likely that most "advertisers" who buy text links know exactly what they're doing. And if they don't, c'est la vie--how many users are going to know or care that WallysWidgets.com slipped in the Google rankings because its owner got caught buying text links?

whitenight




msg:3428513
 3:06 am on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

I wrote a big long post dripping with sarcasm and disdain but decided to play nice.

Tonearm - If I told you that many Fortune 500 companies bought links and some of Google's strategic partners sold links, would you go do some research on whether it's "bad" or not.

And not take any opinions on this, or any other board, as even helpful advice?

edd1




msg:3428592
 6:29 am on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Regardless of whether its bad or not, Google say it is and they also say they will penalise the sites selling the links yet they don't visibly penalise the brokers which would be the obvious thing to do.

That's the thing that puzzles me - why be so transparently hypocritical. Doesn't make sense. With a lot of quality issues things are very complicated. With this it's a no-brainer. Close down sites that advertise for paid links as their USP and the house of cards comes down. Simple. No?

georgeek




msg:3428605
 6:48 am on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

With this it's a no-brainer. Close down sites that advertise for paid links as their USP and the house of cards comes down. Simple. No?

Simple yes but would lead to the mother of all lawsuits which Google would lose.


Bhavin




msg:3428692
 9:52 am on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have seen many big company purchasing links from another sites. I think its good but only relevancy site linking.

MrStitch




msg:3428909
 2:37 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Wow... lot of confusion in this thread.

First off, we're not certain that G 'penalizes' a site for selling links. They might look at it, and say "Yeah, thats an ad". Worse case scenario, they devalue the links come from that site.... some or all... who can tell. I just find it hard to believe that G would willingly tank a site in the serps just because the website owner wanted to make a couple of extra bucks. Even if all the links from a site were devalued, that doesn't mean that the site is completely useless to G's audience. Know what I mean?

Second, G can't shut down any site. Thats the craziest thing I've ever heard. hahahahhahah I can hear the phone conversation now.....

*ring ring* *ring ring*

Techie: "Uh, Hello?"

Matt Cutts: "Yeah, how are you... This is Matt Cutts over at Google, and according to the public records, your hosting company is hosting a site called Link Brokers Dot Com"

Techie: "Well... Uh... I guess I'd have to check that out for sure. Can you hold for a second?"

MC: "No no no, I can't hold. I'm too busy. Listen, we KNOW the site is there. And since their services cause us so many problems, we were hoping you could... you know.... pull the plug, so to speak."

Techie: "....... excuse me?"

MC: "You know.. shut it down."

Techie: "But I would lose my job!"

MC: "I don't give a _____ about your job! Uh... I mean... heheheh *ahem* Listen, certainly you understand how important Google is to the entire internet community. And I'm sure you can fathom the effects this sort of 'Link Brothel' has on our algo. See? You'd be doing a favor for MILLIONS of people! So what do you say?"

Techie: "I'm sorry sir, but I really need this money to get through college, and....."

MC: "THE STREETS WILL FLOW WITH THE BLOOD OF THE NON-BELIEVERS!" *click*

whitenight




msg:3428913
 2:44 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Too funny. You had me in "stitches" (sorry for the bad pun)

MC: "THE STREETS WILL FLOW WITH THE BLOOD OF THE NON-BELIEVERS!" *click*

Funny thing is, that's exactly what it sounds like when Google alerts people to what they "disapprove of". (at least to me)

Thanks for the laugh!

europeforvisitors




msg:3428934
 2:53 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

That's the thing that puzzles me - why be so transparently hypocritical. Doesn't make sense. With a lot of quality issues things are very complicated. With this it's a no-brainer. Close down sites that advertise for paid links as their USP and the house of cards comes down. Simple. No?

1) See tedster's comment about links not passing PageRank.

2) The standard excuse for buying text links is that such links are meant to be "advertising." Fair enough. If Google simply disables PR transfer from links that it believes to have been purchased, then the buyers are still getting their advertising value, and everybody should be happy...right?

whitenight




msg:3428951
 3:04 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

:full disdain mode on:

1) See tedster's comment about links not passing PageRank.

A. EFV, As someone who continually professes to never buying or selling a link nor even actively trading links, where in the world are you getting your information from?!

B. Noticing 1, 2, even 100 sites that have been "penalized" (which is very hard to do unless personally involved with site) does NOT make a pattern!

It makes an anomaly, which most likely occurred during intense human review for some other infraction that sent off alarm bells.

C. I am still waiting for the mass of known link buyers/sellers to come crying out about their loss rankings/ability to pass PR in the various forums where such things are talked about freely

.... Still waiting.

I find it deeply disturbing that mis-information is passed around here when someone is looking for a real answer.

---------------
Again, Tonearm, like every thing in business, there's a risk-reward for every action. You will have to determine what your personal level of tolerance is.

But by no means has Goog shown that they can find, spot, or impose "penalties" about link sellers to any a modicum of worry (IMO)
But honestly, that's for you to do research on.
DON'T Just take my word or anyone's else word on it.

Study the SERPS, study the buyers, study the sellers, see what, if anything, happens and then make an informed decision.

[edited by: whitenight at 3:14 pm (utc) on Aug. 22, 2007]

MrStitch




msg:3428952
 3:05 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Whitenight: No problem! ;)

Europfor..: On point #2. That, to me, would make the most sense. That way everyone is happy, but to do it with out hiring thousands of web-site-analists, they'd have to do it via the algo, on a link by link basis.

Sounds pretty difficult to do, almost too difficult. Which is probably why we have that little tool in the webmaster tools to report spam, link selling sites, etc.

I'm sure there could be a FEW things they could do via the algo.... but it'd be limited.

europeforvisitors




msg:3428961
 3:19 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

I find it deeply disturbing that mis-information is passed around here when someone is looking for a real answer.

OK, why not ask the source (Google)? Or do you seriously think that you're going to find a definitive answer here?

Also, Google doesn't have to identify link sellers or buyers. Google merely needs to think that it has identified link sellers or buyers before taking whatever action that it chooses. (Of course, if you think Matt Cutts's warnings about link selling or buying are just huffing and bluffing, you're welcome to say so.)

whitenight




msg:3428968
 3:28 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

OK, why not ask the source (Google)? Or do you seriously think that you're going to find a definitive answer here?

What?! Are you making my point for me?

I have continually said take everything MC or Goog employee #1-#3 says with a grain of salt, (and then toss the whole thing)

Why?

Because I actually study the SERPs and am in constant contact with others who study the SERPS.

I honestly don't have the time to read all the "The Streets will run red" false proclamations from the Goog PR campaign (as that's exactly what they usually are - wild rantings about impeding doom)

This isn't rocket science...

I can tell by the data set of sites I keep track of, when Goog is making any serious changes
which is why i'm usually in constant disagreement about what Goog Employee #1-#3 is saying.

But i'm certainly not going to parrot... err "advise", someone to listen to "impeding doom" warnings when my analysis and other expert analysis says otherwise...

europeforvisitors




msg:3428993
 3:59 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

I can tell by the data set of sites I keep track of, when Goog is making any serious changes
which is why i'm usually in constant disagreement about what Goog Employee #1-#3 is saying.

In that case, thanks for reassuring all the link sellers and buyers that they have nothing to worry about. Tedster can now lock the thread. :-)

Seriously: I'd be leery about predicting next month's weather based on last month's weather events. In any case, those of us who don't buy or sell text links can let others worry about who's right: you or Matt Cutts.

whitenight




msg:3428998
 4:04 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

In any case, those of us who don't buy or sell text links can let others worry about who's right: you or Matt Cutts.

Are you not reading what I'm writing on purpose?!

A. Why are you commenting on this thread?
ie. repeating what MC and then Tedster said,
if you have no knowledge about it?

B.
I say don't listen to me.
(No one here is paying me for my advice. I could care less.)

I say don't listen to MC either.
(He's definitely not working for anyone here either)

Do your own research. Shall I say it again?!

[edited by: whitenight at 4:08 pm (utc) on Aug. 22, 2007]

digitalghost




msg:3429001
 4:06 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Getting back to the original question, is buying links always a bad idea?

Certainly not. Why not buy some links to boost a site that isn't ranking well, increase its visibility so the site can acquire some natural link? Drop the paid links as you acquire natural links.

Will Google penalize the target site?

Nope. But if they found all your paid links and discounted them, the site would likely slip in ranking and appear to have a penalty. If they penalized sites that had what they determined to be paid links pointed at the site, it would be a real simple matter to smack your competition eh?

Why do link broker sites have PR?

Umm, because the broker site itself isn't pointing paid links at sites. Why does Google take ad money from link brokers if they are so concerned with the affect on the algorithm? Hmm...

Oh, and if you want to sell a few links from your site, add a few nofollows to links that you aren't being paid for, just to mess with Google and their idiotic nofollow 'policy' I mean if there are some links on the site with nofollow, then Google should trust the ones that aren't nofollowed, right? Yes, I was laughing as I wrote that...

europeforvisitors




msg:3429004
 4:12 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Umm, because the broker site itself isn't pointing paid links at sites. Why does Google take ad money from link brokers if they are so concerned with the affect on the algorithm? Hmm...

1) Left hand / right hand.

2) Why not? (That way, Google can profit from the link brokers and let the brokers show their hands.)

Oh, and if you want to sell a few links from your site, add a few nofollows to links that you aren't being paid for, just to mess with Google and their idiotic nofollow 'policy' I mean if there are some links on the site with nofollow, then Google should trust the ones that aren't nofollowed, right?

Why would you assume that? It would be more logical to assume that Google disregards the "nofollow" links (that's the reason for "nofollow") while treating the other links in exactly the same way that it would if the "nofollow" attribute didn't exist.

digitalghost




msg:3429013
 4:19 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>1) Left hand / right hand.

It's no surprise that you can justify anything Google does.

>>2) Why not? (That way, Google can profit from the link brokers and let the brokers show their hands.)

The smart ones aren't showing their hand, the smart ones don't publish a list of sellers. But you wouldn't know anything about how it works because you've never tried it.

>>It would be more logical to assume that Google disregards the "nofollow" links (that's the reason for "nofollow") while treating the other links in exactly the same way that it would if the "nofollow" attribute didn't exist.

Umm, yeah. Which is why nofollow is a bad piece of work and Google can't use it for anything other than to determine which sites have webmasters that are interested enough in SEO to use nofollow...

europeforvisitors




msg:3429019
 4:30 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's no surprise that you can justify anything Google does.

What strange logic! How does a suggestion that the left hand doesn't know or care what the right hand is doing "justify" anything?

randle




msg:3429039
 4:42 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Search, “paid links” in Google. I get a kick out of it every time.

digitalghost




msg:3429046
 4:47 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Let's talk about strange logic then for a minute? What logic are you using to arrive at the suggestion that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing?

It's just as 'logical' to assume that both hands know exactly what the other hand is doing or at the very least, since we're making so many assumptions, that Matt knows there are ads for link broker services since they are plastered all over SERPs for phrases like 'buy links'.

But here you are in a thread titled, Buying links - Always a bad idea? in which you have admitted that you don't buy links, so I logically have to ask, what insight do you think you can provide?

Is it always a bad idea? How would you know? Through rigorous testing? Or are you simply sharing an opinion? It's okay, to share your opinion that is, but it's not logical, to assume your opinion is correct, on a topic in which you admittedly have no knowledge.

europeforvisitors




msg:3429066
 5:02 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Digitalghost, I'm merely suggesting that "left hand/right hand" is merely a possible explanation for why Google apparently accepts ads from link brokers while Matt Cutts is preaching against bought links. That's a lot more reasonable than calling such a suggestion a "justification" of anything. As for the idea that only people who buy links should be able to participate in a discussion of paid links, that's ridiculous. However, if you think the forum should have that policy in the TOS, you can take it up with the moderators.

digitalghost




msg:3429073
 5:17 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>As for the idea that only people who buy links should be able to participate in a discussion of paid links

You do make a lot of assumptions don't you? I pointed out that your knowledge in this area is suspect.

Your explanation as to why Google accepts money from link brokers is an assumption with no empirical evidence, much like my assumption that Matt knows there are ads for link brokers in the SERPs. I have no evidence either way, nor do you.

The question is, Buying links - Always a bad idea?

So please, share with me you knowledge on why you think buying links is always a bad idea, if in fact, that is what you think. Most of us know why Matt and Google think it's a bad idea, but I am interested in why YOU think it's a bad idea.

matrix_neo




msg:3429092
 5:25 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

If Google simply disables PR transfer from links that it believes to have been purchased, then the buyers are still getting their advertising value, and everybody should be happy...right?

Yes I am happy. Google owns PR I don't mind they block, flow or flood with PR. But I am least bother to add nofollow for the qulaity and relevant sites I link to, just because they are paid. I expect google to care only about their PR and not advice or threaten me to help them to control the PR mess that they have created. Especially when I own my site and the links belong to my site.

Tonearm




msg:3429108
 5:34 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

digitalghost,

I found the first half of your post #3429001 very helpful. Sounds like buying links isn't such a bad idea.

In that case, is the preferred method of link-buying to contact relevant site owners (preferably those who aren't currently selling links) and inquire about purchasing a link?

Has anyone had good luck with link brokers?

Which are more desirable between home page and site-wide links?

Which links are of generally low value? A link on a page with a lot of external links? A footer link? A navigation bar link?

Trying to develop a strategy for this...

glengara




msg:3429111
 5:38 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Will Google penalize a site if they think it may have a bought link?"

It's within the realms of possibility that its linkage pattern gets a closer look, so it better be "clean"..... :-)

digitalghost




msg:3429120
 5:41 pm on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>In that case, is the preferred method of link-buying to contact relevant sites

Relevancy is always better.

>>Has anyone had good luck with link brokers?

Find the brokers that will chase links for you. They already have a system in place.

>>Which are more desirable between home page and site-wide links?

Forget about site-wide (ROS links) Try to get a good mix of homepage and deep links.

>>Which links are of generally low value? A link on a page with a lot of external links? (Low value) A footer link? (horrible value) A navigation bar link?

Better, but the best are in-context links, or a page like a pre-sell, that is nothing but a single page on their site, linked internally, filled with content that links only to your page. Those are the most expensive and typically provide the best return.

>>Trying to develop a strategy for this...

Keep it all about ROI. Make sure the links pay for themselves. The most important point to remember is that buying links should be just one tool in your box. Don't neglect other methods of acquiring links.

This 56 message thread spans 2 pages: 56 ( [1] 2 > >
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