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Our audit of paid links from PR-penalized sites
grant




msg:3509486
 5:19 am on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I was really blown away by this.

One of the SEOs I work with finished an audit of links he bought on sites that had a toolbar PR drop (or even elimination). I'd appreciate it if we don't divert this post into a discussion of the irrelevance of toolbar PR.

(We did the audit so as to remove links that appear to be wasting money).

Here's the shocker:

A site launched a few months ago had all of its links purchased on TLA.
25 links were bought. 20 of them had the PR hit.

But it hasn't effected the site's ranking.

Planet Ocean reported last month that the toolbar update was "cosmetic", but I fully expected Google would be negating the link juice.

We're still pulling our link buys in anticipation of Google negating the link value.

But I'd like to know if anyone else has observed a loss of efficacy in paid links?

 

CainIV




msg:3509540
 7:22 am on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

It doesn't sound that shocking to me. The best way to get webmasters thinking twice about buying links is to 'wink wink' target sites that sell links and target their visible page rank.

I use paid links for some sites, and some have dropped in visible page rank dramatically, but none has lost any ranking.

There is no proof at this stage that a toolbar drop even equates to the bigger picture - how can Google accurately tell that a link is absolutely paid - and if so, what are they willing to do about it.

whitenight




msg:3509543
 7:40 am on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

We're still pulling our link buys in anticipation of Google negating the link value.

This statement contradicts the whole conclusion to your "study"

A. Why would you pull links if you've seen no difference in ranking?

B. Again, (for the millionth time) why are you(anyone) listening to what Google Public Relations campaign (the real "noise" on this board) says. Especially if your research says different.

You've done the research.... Who are you going to believe?
Google's infinite FUD or your lying eyes?...err ... SERPS and testing.

C. If your links are working, again, why are you pulling them now?
Wait til you see some conclusive proof in the SERPs and then act appropriately.

Nothing wrong with preparing for the worst, but if it never happens, you look pretty silly hiding out in the nuclear shelter for 30 years waiting for the "inevitable" nuclear war to come.
(Believe a movie was made about this...)

Not sure what answer in this thread is going to make you happy.
If everyone here is getting penalized for X and you never do, who cares what everyone else's issue is?

Heck, I'm still waiting 5, no, 6 years now for "reciprocal link schemes" to be punished.

Miamacs




msg:3509642
 12:35 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

(Believe a movie was made about this...)

Blast from the past... that movie was hilarious.

...

By the way, has the test been initiated in time of this latest PR update? During september, early october the latest?

I mean did the target site, the one getting the links show a PageRank update in this round, and if so, was it in line with the decreased TBPR of the source sites, or the conclusions of the audit ( only 'visible' PageRank being lowered, but the weight passed to the target staying the same )?

Not that it matters more than what you experience on the SERPs, just as a curiosity.

It'd be interesting to see that while TBPR is lowered on the source sites, the PageRank they may or may not pass ( you know my opinion on other factors involved ) isn't affected.

...

The Contractor




msg:3509685
 1:21 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Heck, I'm still waiting 5, no, 6 years now for "reciprocal link schemes" to be punished.

Yep, me too.

To get back to the point, anyone who places value in the little green pixels are kidding themselves. This is the easiest way for Google to manipulate the mindset of users of the toolbar. If a site ranks for the keywords/terms you are going after, why not see if they sell advertising or contact them about getting your site listed on the page? Leave the green pixels out of it...

jakegotmail




msg:3509795
 3:04 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

loss of efficacy in paid links?

No.

Googles latest tactic is FUD at its finest. Can we move on?

glengara




msg:3509841
 3:44 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'd see the PR drop as a warning shot, no damage yet but a course change should at least be considered, IMO....

europeforvisitors




msg:3509844
 3:46 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Maybe it's intended to be a three-step process, with enough time between each step for Webmasters and SEOs to clean up their act:

STEP 1: Give a public warning.

STEP 2: Drive that warning home by adjusting toolbar PR without affecting rankings.

STEP 3: Take action against offenders who have chosen to ignore or thumb their noses at Google's two previous warnings.

Of course, it's always possible that the warning and toolbar PR adjustments are nothing but FUD. But if they aren't, and if Google does take action, no one will be able to argue legitimately that the offenders weren't given adequate warning.

jakegotmail




msg:3509856
 3:58 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Drive that warning home by adjusting toolbar PR without affecting rankings.

The problem here is a TON of sites that dropped in PR were not doing anything "wrong". No paid links, no PPP posts nothing.

I have seen sites drop in PR that have NO external links or advertisements whatsoever.

This whole PR downgrade was across the board IMO. Your old PR of 5 is now 4, 3 is 2, etc.

europeforvisitors




msg:3509861
 4:07 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

This whole PR downgrade was across the board IMO. Your old PR of 5 is now 4, 3 is 2, etc.

You're probably right, so maybe Google is just using a two-step process (warn now, whack later). :-)

The Contractor




msg:3509890
 4:37 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm sure they hit the one's blatently selling "links" and have already devalued them. As far as anyone charging for listings or advertising, I believe Google will watch it's step on this as it doesn't want legal issues. If they feel a site is selling "links", they will be devalued (the links).

Don't forget a couple/few months ago they were going to hit recip links/sites.... which are as "paid for" in my opinion then someone charging for listings/advertising. Recips are nothing more than bartering the value. If they are not considered barter, try to recipricate a link asking for a PR7 link and promising to return a link on from a PR1 page and see what kind of answer you get...hehe

jakegotmail




msg:3509910
 4:49 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

" I'm sure they hit the one's blatently selling "links" and have already devalued them."

Proof?

Seriously people stop spouting off unless you have tested this and proven this. These kinds of comments are what have spun all this out of control.

ortelius




msg:3509913
 4:51 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have a blog that I only sell image ads on -- no text links sold. It dropped from PR 4 to PR 3. No noticeable difference in the SERPs however.

The strangest one was a site that used to have PR 5 -- it first got downgraded to PR 3, then a few days ago, to PR 0. On this site, I used to sell TLA,s but stopped selling at least six months ago, because I saw the handwriting on the wall. Maybe Google is using an out of date list? Since the broker I was using to sell ads through made the selling sites easily visible at that time, it would have been simple for a Google spy to manually scoop up every site selling ads through that broker.

I admit the site did not deserve PR 5 -- it's an old site, and hasn't been updated in years. Still, PR 0 is equally stupid. Oh, and it doesn't seem to have affected the serps for that site.

In conclusion -- I agree with whoever said Google is having a lot of fun spreading fear and confusion. And I believe they will go a long way to achieving their goal. (I have just made all the image ads on my blog into "no-follow" links).

Ort

The Contractor




msg:3509919
 4:54 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Seriously people stop spouting off unless you have tested this and proven this.

Uhmmm.. remember BlueFind?

Maybe you shouldn't spout off until you get your facts straight...

[edited by: The_Contractor at 4:55 pm (utc) on Nov. 20, 2007]

jakegotmail




msg:3509925
 5:05 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Uhmmm.. remember BlueFind?

Bluefind has absolutely nothing to do with large scale paid link devaluation your assuming has happened. An isolated site being devalued doesn't prove much.

CainIV




msg:3509931
 5:09 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)


I'm sure they hit the one's blatently selling "links" and have already devalued them.

How do you know this? What the originator of the post and myself are both saying is that in fact even though the page rank on the websites we buy some paid links from and in my case my own website have gone down in page rank, rankings are better than ever and have been right the summer and to this date.

The Contractor




msg:3509934
 5:15 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Bluefind has absolutely nothing to do with large scale paid link devaluation your assuming has happened. An isolated site being devalued doesn't prove much.

ok, how about SearchKing? C'mon, Google has and will hit sites that blatently sell "links" and "PR". Not sure where you have been if you don't realize this...

The Contractor




msg:3509940
 5:22 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

What the originator of the post and myself are both saying is that in fact even though the page rank on the websites we buy some paid links from and in my case my own website have gone down in page rank, rankings are better than ever and have been right the summer and to this date.

I have NEVER said they penalize, devalue the link, or lower the PR on all sites that charge or listings/advertising can be purchased. Of course they don't and they shouldn't either in my opinion. I'm merely stating they do hit sites and devalue links from certain sites that are blatently advertising they are selling "links" and/or "PR". If a site goes into how a "link" from their site will help in rankings or boost "PR"....it is my opinion they have been hit and know it, they have been hit and don't know it, or they will probably be hit down the road.

tedster




msg:3509945
 5:32 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

This whole PR downgrade was across the board IMO. Your old PR of 5 is now 4, 3 is 2, etc.

In October we saw three distinct PR events in quick succession. In the first week of October we saw the first round of PR downgrades that were aimed at some high visibility sites in the link selling marketplace. That first round hit just some of the more visible link sellers with drops of 2 and 3 PR points. A second round of PR downgrades rolled out mid-month, and it seemed to be more widespread, impacting some less obvious players.

Then a more general PR Update around October 26 [webmasterworld.com] also hit the toolbar. During that general PR update many pages went down 1, while others went up. That's inevitable in a regular rollout of data to the toolbar.

In addition, over this period some of the earlier PR demotions were lessened or even reversed. In a few cases, the demoted urls began showing even higher PageRank than before their demotion.

That makes three different PR events in October. Talk about complicating any attempt at analysis!

europeforvisitors




msg:3509946
 5:38 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

What the originator of the post and myself are both saying is that in fact even though the page rank on the websites we buy some paid links from and in my case my own website have gone down in page rank, rankings are better than ever and have been right the summer and to this date.

Whether Google has or hasn't punished sites recently for paid links is irrelevant to whether it will or might do so in the future.

Google has made its feelings clear. You're welcome to take its words as a warning or as PR fluff, as you choose.

The Contractor




msg:3509959
 5:44 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

In the first week of October we saw the first round of PR downgrades that were aimed at some high visibility sites in the link selling marketplace.

I agree as many high-profile link sellers lost 3-4 points in PR. There are also quite a few that won't come up for their own name, let alone the rankings they once had. There is little doubt they were hit for selling "links/PR".

The drop/raise by a point are normal fluctuations and should be expected, but there were a lot of sites hit in this time for link selling.

I'm not sure how anyone does not believe Google goes after blatant link/PR peddlers.

Miamacs




msg:3509980
 6:09 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yeah but the initial test grant mentioned wasn't really about *selling* links, but rather *buying* them.

I mean if I was purchasing my way onto the SERPs to get some initial boos edit: not bad of a typo ( and not as a long term strategy ) I probably wouldn't care if the sellers lost a couple of 'Visible/Virtual/TB' PR points.

However I would care whether these sites pass their real PR nicely all the same, or not. Ranking the same is one thing for those sellers which aren't penalized by any other means than their TBPR lowered 3-4 points. But being able to pass the original PR is another.

This of course only makes sense if Google now only SHOWS different TBPR for 'penalized' sites, but doesn't actually penalize them.

In other words if:
Site A, PageRank 7 sells links
Site B, PageRank 4 buys links from Site A

Is it like...

Site A gets penalized. On the next update it shows a TBPR of 3. Ranks the same.
Site B gets the full value of the real PR. Next update shows it as PR 6.

Or...

Site A gets penalized. PR3. Ranks the same.
Site B shows PR4, no change. But ranks better, as if it was 6.

Or...

Site A gets penalized. PR3. Ranks the same.
Site B doesn't rank any better... but, uh... wait Site B *does* rank better, that was what the audit concluded, wasn't it?

( my interpretation )
Unless link buyers are penalized, and they won't be, ever, this will have little effect on SEO practices, and aims more at the 'publisher' side of the link trade. I... think. *rolls eyes/doesn't care*

...

[edited by: Miamacs at 6:15 pm (utc) on Nov. 20, 2007]

CainIV




msg:3509986
 6:18 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure how anyone does not believe Google goes after blatant link/PR peddlers.

Go after them in what regard? Lower their visible page rank? Filter their rankings? I see tons of websites that sell links and had no measurable ranking drop. I also see websites that did have ranking drops. Can you afford to assume these drops are for selling links, are a Google bug, or are drops related to some other algo adjustment or issue at those websites?

Assuming something in SEO just because you see it in 10% of the cases is not wise.

It's easy to measure and weigh results when you use controlled data.

As Miamacs pointed out, we are not the sellers, we are buying links. In my case, links I have purchased are 'in content' of the websites who are selling these monthly links to me.

I might also add that the websites are exactly on topic, although I do not believe that this currently matters from a ranking standpoint.

The Contractor




msg:3510003
 6:30 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I see tons of websites that sell links and had no measurable ranking drop.

geez... let me repeat it one more time....

I have NEVER said they penalize, devalue the link, or lower the PR on all sites that charge or listings/advertising can be purchased. Of course they don't and they shouldn't either in my opinion.

I am stating they do hit some sites as I have repeated a few times in this thread. You are stating they hit no sites for selling links/pr. That would mean the SearchKing lawsuit/case never happened... and that was years ago. That case is proof they will hit sites...not sure what else you need for proof?

I gave you "proof", now please give me proof they do not hit any site for selling links/PR...

[edited by: The_Contractor at 6:31 pm (utc) on Nov. 20, 2007]

europeforvisitors




msg:3510011
 6:38 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

That would mean the SearchKing lawsuit/case never happened...

Or the KinderStart v. Google case, for that matter (which Google also won).

whitenight




msg:3510091
 8:19 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I see we're back to throwing chicken bones again.

Does Google ban sites? Of course they do.

2 "major" sites out of hundreds of thousands doesn't make any type of case study.
Not to mention none of the aforementioned sites have anything to do with THIS topic
(And Both of those examples are over 3 years old)

Now, back to reality...instead of FUD.
(Sorry FUD prognosticators. I deal with what is. Not with what possibly, maybe, could be if a butterfly lands on a leaf in China...)

As Tedster pointed now, and I pointed out at the time [webmasterworld.com],
If Goog was trying to send a "warning shot across the bow", they did a poor job of mixing it all in together with the normal PR update and a non-existent job of "officially" announcing the issue on any Google-owned property.

And although I hear "rumors" of certain sites losing rankings, my stats and testing say none of the "important" link selling sites (ie. Goog's strategic partners, friends, and high profile sites) have lost any rankings.

But feel free to throw the witch bones on what that "could possibly mean in the future if MC is cranky and his cat is sick and it rains in Mountainview on the 3rd of January..."

SEOPTI




msg:3510096
 8:21 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

All sites which have lost PR keep their rankings, but do they still pass on the same amount of PR as before, who knows..

idolw




msg:3510197
 11:12 pm on Nov 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

STEP 3: Take action against offenders who have chosen to ignore or thumb their noses at Google's two previous warnings.

yep, and the step 3 will take place in 202020

minnapple




msg:3510256
 2:28 am on Nov 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Global toolbar changes will happen every update and the variance between old and new pr will increase as the length between updates increases.

Any significant effect in rankings based upon actual pr is, and will continue to be governed by a rolling mulitple step cycle built into google's algo.

Hand edits, either imagined [ algo based ], or real are the wild card.

If you really want to know what it takes to get a site wacked, add certain factors to a site until it is dust.

My personal record, is dust in three weeks.

menial




msg:3510312
 4:33 am on Nov 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I wonder if there are webmasters who buy links through Google Checkout ...:d

This 63 message thread spans 3 pages: 63 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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