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Any changes from Google about selling links?
wmuser




msg:3560167
 12:20 am on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Can anyone please tell me whether there is anything new in regards to TLA, does Google still or even more consider websites selling linsk thru TLA as SPAM and punish them by lowering PR and such?

[edited by: tedster at 10:20 pm (utc) on Mar. 14, 2008]

 

Pico_Train




msg:3602161
 5:01 pm on Mar 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's easy enough for Google to check suspects of selling links. Send them an email directly as john@somewhatrelevantsite.com and ask to buy some advertising and see what answer comes along.

Some blurry parts to that obviously, you need a whole army of emailers - easy enough, 200 people in India doesnt' cost a fortune.

What if they don't quote prices on the first reply? You just send a request for "How much for an ad on page X?"

What else?

That said, I agree with Whitenight. Make cash now and worry about it later. If it doesn't affect your serps then what's the problem? You might lose your advertiser whoa re looking for TBPR but then who needs them, you focus on your high end customers and sell them more links.

Or you don't sell links at all, use AdSense and keep on working for "THE MAN". Because that's exactly what it is, again...

[edited by: Pico_Train at 5:03 pm (utc) on Mar. 16, 2008]

tedster




msg:3602240
 6:41 pm on Mar 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

Folks, the topic of this thread is "Any changes from Google about selling links."

The debates about whether Google should be doing this, what might be their hidden motivations and so on are VERY old and are no longer welcome. You can find too much of that already with a site: search here, if you really want to aggravate yourself that way ;)

I've cleaned out some off-topic comments, and I will clean some more. Let's stick to real news on the topic, new observations about what's going on that is verifiable and such, and avoid the editorials.

[edited by: tedster at 8:34 pm (utc) on Mar. 16, 2008]

martinibuster




msg:3602278
 7:13 pm on Mar 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

...seriously doubt anyone can show me that the PR reduction had ANYTHING to do with link-selling to begin with. PR has been reduced by 1-2 for millions of sites which various Goog Employees explained by "less PR in general being passed" around.

It's true that there have been general PR reductions. However many link sellers experienced toolbar PR removals down to zero, as in they lost all their Toolbar PR. I think you're mixing up two separate events. It's fairly clear the TBPR removal was done to punish certain link sellers.

From what I've read on the boards, these PR removals were not accompanied by a loss in traffic. Buying links works. If a competitor outs you you are toast.

I don't subscribe to smile-now-cry-later philosophy. It's not smart but common sense to understand any possible consequences, and many of us in this thread know about consequences either first hand or an acquaintance.

whitenight




msg:3602318
 8:52 pm on Mar 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

My point about "PR reduction had ANYTHING to do with link-selling to begin with" was in reference to the discussions I had with Adam Lasnik concerning Goog purposely publishing false TBPR and Goog's already buggy 0/nil TBPR for pages that obviously should have some TBPR.

Because if you could prove "fairly clearly" that Goog removed TBPR ie knowingly, published public and false TBPR then that would be a rock-solid case of defamation...

See my point? ;)

I don't subscribe to smile-now-cry-later philosophy. It's not smart but common sense to understand any possible consequences


As I've given multiple options (several times) for those of various risk tolerances,
I think I've clarified this point ad nauseum in this thread.

But still another 2 months since this thread started, I've yet to see a banned link seller...
and also given the reasons why it's improbable they ever will.

martinibuster




msg:3602468
 2:03 am on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>>as in reference to the discussions I had with Adam Lasnik...

Adam Lasnik is not an engineer. With all respect to Adam, who's a great guy and a wonderful soul, you're on shaky ground to make any assumptions based on something you think he told you.

As I've given multiple options (several times) for those of various risk tolerances, I think I've clarified this point ad nauseum in this thread.

I was referring to where you said:
My advice - live for today's SERPS, and worry about tomorrow's SERPS, tomorrow.

Sounds like smile now, cry later. Forgive me, I didn't see the other post where you changed your mind or repudiated your remark, sorry. ;)

CalArch90




msg:3602520
 3:23 am on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Hopefully I'm not diverting too much from the topic of this thread, but can anyone really say they are completely clear on what Google deems as link selling? Is a paid directory a form of link selling? Why then has Yahoo's directory not been penalized, since it is essentially a paid directory? Does this mean that only free directories are immune to the PR penalty? Are we essentially being told by Google that paid directories are no longer acceptable? I'm just not clear on this.

malooga




msg:3602528
 3:30 am on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

CalArch, very good question re: Yahoo. I'd like to know the answer to this too.

tedster




msg:3602578
 5:15 am on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Google reps have said this: a directory that charges for editorial review, and that doesn't just automatically accept anyone who pays the fee is not considered a paid link. That certainly describes the Yahoo Directory. However, there are some second level directories who seem to have strict editorial policies, we might even say they seem more strict than Yahoo, but those directories still have seen their toolbar PR go down. I'm not sure what the deal is on those - there may be a hidden story that I haven't heard.

Pico_Train




msg:3602580
 5:15 am on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think but I may be wrong and the last I heard was that reputable directories that do a manual, quality, review of a site are fine. Like Yahoo does.

So I guess our little reviews are worthless? - is the next question.

Yes is the answer.

It's easy enough to assume what kind of process Yahoo goes through for reviews. Get money, look at site, view source, looks good, let it in? Looks bad, don't let in and get $$$ somewhere else. I'm not sure of the quality of the review but anyhow.

So the position is still rather interesting since selling a link is selling a link.

robsoles




msg:3602584
 5:24 am on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks wmuser, I'm guessing you dropped the TLA connections but otherwise stuck by your guns, if that's true then G probably can't tell what your other one is - I'd be real quiet about any details of it if I were you too!

I've yet to see a banned link seller...

They don't need to ban us to hurt or upset us, the visible reduction of TBPR is a stern enough slap in-as-much the points made by others about what losing it did for them at the time. Also, who say's all the link sellers that may have been banned knew to let everyone know they were banned?

icedowl




msg:3602615
 6:40 am on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Regarding the Yahoo directory, my very first website has been listed there for years and I never have paid anything for the listing. I've never bought or sold a link and have no plans to ever do such a thing. However, I now have to wonder if having that listing in Yahoo might have an effect - good or bad?

robsoles




msg:3602690
 8:15 am on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's good, I was thinking of PMing you the answer of why it's good but, as much it strays from the 'g-changes-on-link-selling' topic, I think others who aren't SEO and SEM aware may benefit from this as well:

As much as more than 90% of all search traffic comes from Google (or did last I checked), there are people who visit Yahoo itself, go through their directories (which turn up in Google searches from time to time too) and so some percentage of the traffic you've had since the link went up on their site is directly from the link itself.

While Google don't dismiss it as a paid link (re-read tedster's post 4 or 5 above this) it is counted by Google algo as a vote for your site, the vote 'strength' is given by how 'respected' the page it occurs on is. Unless it's the only way Googlebot finds your site on the internet, this link isn't strictly the reason your site can turn up in results in searches but it is some small boost in at least some way.

The big discussion here is manipulating how 'respected pages are' by buying/selling links from a 'well respected page' and getting punished by the 'respect system's owner for doing so (*or at least, if the owner has changed their stance) - your post makes it sound like you should never have to worry about this at all, icedowl.

Good thing about forums is that if I'm that sorely mistaken then someone will usually type-up, I'm going to have to read something to learn better - may as well be a response to something I said/wrote.

whitenight




msg:3602851
 12:45 pm on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Martini,
Since I like a good debate and can't tolerate those who rewrite history, especially when it's written for all to see on these boards, I will address your off-topic comments.
----------

Adam Lasnik is not an engineer. With all respect to Adam, who's a great guy and a wonderful soul, you're on shaky ground to make any assumptions based on something you think he told you.

(The basics of any academic paper relies on the reader to research the author's footnotes to understand the context of said comments, not for the author to re-explain the entire underlying basis of his argument)

My discussions with Adam had to do with the legality of reducing or misrepresenting TBPR, not his knowledge as an engineer.
As Adam does have a legal degree, as do Goog's lawyers, if one hadn't researched my footnote (and Adam's comments) of the quote you took -- which is below -- then it's quite obvious why you're not understanding my point.

footnote and quoted text- emphasis mine
4. (You'll need to reference several of my arguments from the "07 reduction and rel='nofollow' threads) I seriously doubt anyone can show me that the PR reduction had ANYTHING to do with link-selling...

--------------
Forgive me, I didn't see the other post where you changed your mind or repudiated your remark, sorry. ;)

Again, see my earlier reference about the reader's responsibilities as opposed to the author's.

I'll make this point simple.
Here's the quote -

"1. Stop selling links. Easy."

And i repeated it at least 7 times, in bold, in italics, paraphrased, with and without explanations.

--------------

I certainly can not run other people's business according to their goals, but on a public board where it is the reader's responsibility to comprehend the various opinions, i think repeating the same statement more than 3 times is beyond "helping" the reader understand their options.

Or I will leave my traditional advice --
Stop reading SEO boards completely for 3-6 months. Spend that 3-6 months studying no less than 100 different SERPS from various niches of various ranking difficulty, keeping regularly updated databases on all sites and SERPs, and study the changes you encounter...

Then one won't need to listen to MC, AL, mine, yours, or any "opinions", informed or uninformed, on SEO boards to know when to "live for today" and when to "worry about tomorrow"
... according to their goals not MC's, AL's, mine, or yours.

CalArch90




msg:3603452
 10:33 pm on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

"However, there are some second level directories who seem to have strict editorial policies, we might even say they seem more strict than Yahoo, but those directories still have seen their toolbar PR go down."

Tedster, this is exactly the situation I find myself in. I review every site listing that is submitted, edit descriptions if necessary, and have no problem turning down sites that do not meet the editorial guidelines of my site. Yet I was hit with the proverbial 2 PR drop after 3-4 years of steady page rank.

What's even more absurd is two of my pages which contain links that I've hand-picked myself for quality of content, because I feel they are useful to my audience, have been completely greyed out. These are pages that are not only NOT paid, but don't even include reciprical links!

I think Google has gone too far this time around, and the fact that they are making exceptions for some sites such as Yahoo just because of their size and brand does not sit well with me. Isn't Google supposed to be about giving everyone an equal chance?

What's even more frustrating is there is nothing I can do to change my situation since Google does not make it clear what they are penalizing these days. Those who simply say "Stop selling links. Easy." need to realize that it's not that simple, it goes much deeper than that. I'm not sure anyone fully realizes what Google is up to this time around, including myself.

whitenight




msg:3603477
 10:56 pm on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Those who simply say "Stop selling links. Easy." need to realize that it's not that simple, it goes much deeper than that.

<starts to pull hair out>
Ugh!

I've given, over and over, multiple ways of addressing the whole paid links issue, in this thread and many others in case anyone wants to actually find SOLUTIONS to their problems.

I agree with you Cal. Goog is totally unjustified in their actions especially in your situation and in general are borderline illegal with their actions regarding TBPR.

But unless someone wants to sue Goog to rectify the situation, then it's best to read up on the various OTHER ways of selling links that don't piss Goog off and KEEP your advertisers happy, so you can make money.

tedster




msg:3603505
 11:16 pm on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Tedster, this is exactly the situation I find myself in. I review every site listing that is submitted, edit descriptions if necessary, and have no problem turning down sites that do not meet the editorial guidelines of my site. Yet I was hit with the proverbial 2 PR drop after 3-4 years of steady page rank.

Google started to hit directories quite a while back - even before the big "link selling" brouhaha - so there are a couple intertwined issues here: 1) general directory quality,pid or not and 2) whether a given directory is considered a link seller. Free directories can be hit, too, if they list poor quality sites.

There's one issue I can currently think of in this regard -- whether a directory regularly reviews domains even AFTER they've been accepted. Yahoo does this, year after year, partly because they charge anually. I can see that a one-time fee directory might not do that, and this would leave them open to churn over time. Some of the once-good sites might switch to "bad neighborhoods" after a while.

potentialgeek




msg:3603510
 11:24 pm on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yes, they could switch to bad neighborhoods, and the other issue, possibly bigger, is how is Google supposed to figure out which directories have strict editorial reviews and which don't? If it can't, doesn't have the time/experts/other, or hasn't figured out code to deal with them, it has to impose strict penalties if it's going to continue with this policy.

p/g

martinibuster




msg:3603551
 12:45 am on Mar 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>>how is Google supposed to figure out which directories have strict editorial reviews and which don't?

That's just one thing mentioned by Matt. It's not by all means the only thing. It's not brain surgery. For instance, any directory with the words "Search Engine Friendly Directory" is signalling their purpose, which is to acquire PR and sell links. Whack.

CalArch90




msg:3603583
 1:23 am on Mar 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks all for your feedback. I'll go through all pages and check for broken links / link rot, etc. It certainly can't hurt. So far I haven't seen anything that stands out, the one page I mentioned that had been greyed out had one broken link, but I can't imagine that would be the cause.

On another note, one thing I've uncovered when running a general search for my site is that an anonymous poster has been putting links to my site on blogger accompanied with objectionable terms. I've also found tons of pages generated with a sceenshot and link to my site and a bunch of nonsense links and descriptions that almost appear to be scraper content. Could this be the cause? If so, how easy is it for a competitor or someone else with bad intentions to bring down a site's ranking? Is there a way to report this to Google?

Pico_Train




msg:3603738
 6:32 am on Mar 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Cal, I can confirm that I have similar links and screenshot garbage for my site.

The one thing I am quite sure it does is cause you be filtered for some results because you might trip the adult filter.

In any case, those probably aren't sold links and I am quite sure you didn't buy them.

But I think the topic was veering towards the consistency of G to target sold links irrespective of who or how big the seller is.

CalArch90




msg:3603895
 12:02 pm on Mar 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Pico, sorry if I've deviated from the original topic too much. I'm just trying to find answers and the idea of checking for link rot made me wonder if incoming bad links might also be a cause.

I think we can all agree that Google should not be makeing special exceptions for large sites, they should be consistent in what they qualify as "link selling". By their own definition, my site would not even fall under this category since what I offer is annually recurring paid editorial review, similar to Yahoo.

The second point that seems to be surfacing is that the penalty may be about more than just link selling, it may be about perceived link quality (not a new topic) since people seem to be reporting improvement from cleaning up broken links, etc. Also, as I mention pages on my site which are not even commercial in nature have been penalized. This may be as simple as Google mistanking them for paid directory pages, but it may also be that they are going beyond just penalizing what they perceive to be "paid links"?

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