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Matt Cutts : No-follow advertorial links or we'll take action
Whitey




msg:4579661
 11:04 pm on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Matt Cutts: I just posted a video about how the webspam team will treat native advertising that violates our quality guidelines, and mentioned that the Google News team is also willing to take action when something violates our guidelines. [youtube.com...]
[plus.google.com...]

 

Rlilly




msg:4579923
 3:31 pm on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

What makes this whole Follow no Follow unfair is a lot of links which should be follow are now no-follow..

netmeg




msg:4579924
 3:31 pm on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

Meh. Of the various things Google does that I disagree with, this one isn't even on my radar at all.

rankmaster77




msg:4579938
 4:00 pm on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

This seems to be coming at an interesting time. It was only a a few weeks ago that they mentioned a new "back link" analysis process for Penguin 2.0

Bottom line, they are getting more strict on advertorial pages, so more disclosure is needed. Fine.

However the real question is:

How are they going to really know what was paid for and what was done honestly between two sites? How much disclosure is enough? Where should it be positioned? If there is valuable content on that page, that happens to back link to one advertorial page or product in the sea of words written on a topic, should that page have a "NO Follow"? Really?

I think this is a questionable practice on their part, it's surprising and they may have gone too far in their efforts to analyze and process the value of back link. There are too many variables in this equation.

Marketing Guy




msg:4579939
 4:06 pm on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

The advertorials in question were blatant link spam. The content was practically hidden in the depths of the sites - the publishers only did the minimum they thought they could get away with and it was mostly spammy direct match deep links. It was nothing but selling PR as a commodity.

I think people are reading way too much into it. The announcement this week and events relating to Interflora et all were just Google putting their foot down. Any talk about what's "good for users" is just fluff.

Key points to take away:

1) Link schemes have limited shelf lives.
2) Selling PR will put you on Google's radar.

Frankly if you can't SEO a site or develop an advertising model without tripping over those two points, well I hear MacDonalds is hiring.

Lapizuli




msg:4579942
 4:11 pm on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

Question: Will this affect the dominant rankings of certain mega sized affiliate retailers?

rankmaster77




msg:4579944
 4:23 pm on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hey Marketing Guy, I respect your opinion, but everything you just mentioned on your key points has always been the case has it not?

Unless Google is just reiterating what we already know, which in this case I find it hard to believe, especially after admitting that they will be using a new back link analysis process in their Penguin 2.0 roll out.

Lets hope they use restraint in their analysis and that yes we are all wrong.

ChanandlerBong




msg:4579950
 4:37 pm on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

let's go the whole hog:

nofollow
dofollow
dofollowthechecksinthemail
dopleasefollowiwilldoublemyadwordspendnextmonthhonest!

Dymero




msg:4579954
 4:40 pm on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

google don't care if the news site is quality or not, only that they are making money outside of google.


They don't care about your outside advertising generally. They do care about outside advertising that manipulates their ranking algorithm.

fathom




msg:4580001
 7:08 pm on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Whitey, I don't think that page was changed. Not according to my notes [seroundtable.com...]

I guess they shifted some of the design placement of the video around but the text is exactly the same as a year ago.


In fact, that page is out of context to this thread.

The video suggests a solid website not base on SEO gimmicks will stand up to Google scrutiny... where as, if you are exploiting certain algorithm vulnerabilities (e.g. threshold detection level) and others are exploiting your vulnerabilities to push you past those threshold levels that doesn't suggest it was a problem induced by Google.

Removing your vulnerability and not exploiting Google's vulnerability solves your problem and that is what Google is suggesting.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4580005
 7:12 pm on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

The video suggests a solid website not base on SEO gimmicks will stand up to Google scrutiny


If by scrutiny, you mean manual review, then it's just a pity that so many decent sites don't ever get that kind of manual review (aside from being manually reviewed strictly vis-a-vis off-page signals that they may or may not be responsible for).

moTi




msg:4580016
 8:53 pm on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

how can google tell which is a true editorial and which is an advertorial?

they can't and they never will, simple as that. an algo can't detect what a human brain is able to distinguish. so their solution now seems to be getting human feedback from scared webmasters in order to detect certain patterns their algo is incapable to reveal.

a real world example why this is idiotic: i have massive user generated content on my sites. most of the posts contain links, for example the website of the user which contains further information, sometimes again with further links and so on. some links might be with direct, some with indirect and some without commercial interest.

first of all, when is a link deemed advertorial? a user might or might not link with commercial incentive, a linked page may itself contain ads alongside editorial information. out of millions, how should i investigate every single link for potential commercial implications?

secondly, what if the link is advertorial, but i don't receive monetary benefit? like when users of a website are allowed to link to commercial services but the webmaster or even the user doesn't profit.

that is completely silly. as long as links are relevant, i don't mind if there is commercial intent. i will "dofollow" every link as before. i won't get myself into that game.

zeus




msg:4580021
 9:19 pm on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have noticed they are doing a lot of talk, but serious, its just talk. So dont panic over this, keep promote your sites or what ever as you choose, google has a lot of limits, but lately they try to talk people into everything, I would not go for it.

Also its non of there business how you promote your company.

netmeg




msg:4580025
 9:48 pm on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

Outside of the Google index or AdWords or AdSense, you're absolutely right.

lucy24




msg:4580051
 1:14 am on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Outside of the Google index

Ay and there's the rub :)

No use saying "design your site as if g didn't exist", either, because g does exist-- and its mere existence affects how humans use the internet.

:: insert "sleeping with an elephant" paraphrase here ::

fathom




msg:4580052
 1:19 am on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

fathom wrote:
The video suggests a solid website not base on SEO gimmicks will stand up to Google scrutiny

ColourOfSpring wrote:
If by scrutiny, you mean manual review, then it's just a pity that so many decent sites don't ever get that kind of manual review (aside from being manually reviewed strictly vis-a-vis off-page signals that they may or may not be responsible for).


Candidly, no. My quote (on Google's quotes) implies if your website was "that good"... you wouldn't need Google to do anything because someone else was delivering you ill will... as the ill will wouldn't work. At worse, you would see a temporary gain and a lose of that gain... nothing more. At best, you would get the gain and never lose it. If you are not responsible for the off-page signals those signals generally didn't produce your stable ranks.

The problem with (example only) a marginalized domain, they aren't all that compelling to foster good will (natural links) so if the difference between top results and bottom results is ill will... your own limitations to foster that good will are the compelling reasons for your decline.

I've seen numerous false positives over my time but Google is fast to correct those thus any reluctance to demonstrate to Google any false positive remains your responsibility.

In short, "you can't fix what you can't find!"

SEOPTI




msg:4580080
 2:47 am on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure if

"Judge not for you will be judged" applies in modern business in this case.

Whitey




msg:4580086
 3:14 am on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Whitey, I don't think that page was changed. Not according to my notes [seroundtable.com...]

I guess they shifted some of the design placement of the video around but the text is exactly the same as a year ago.

@RustyBrick - thanks Barry for clarifying this and making me aware of the OP ref: [seroundtable.com...] .

In fact, that page is out of context to this thread.

@Fathom - The video certainly is and if you associate it only with the text which was changed, albeit earlier. My concern for quoting the text was the implication behind it in isolation from the video, and in a more generalised application. To me, Google is declaring it is not it's responsibility for content and links pointing to anyone's site, whereas sometime in the distant past it had declared that sites linking into you could , more or less, do no harm, because that's the way Google behaved in such instances. We suspected in reality that was not accurate either, as exceptional advertorial/link campaigns have resulted in penalties, both algorithmic and manual. I might be a year or so out of date, but it kinda resonated hard with me in respect of the current warning on advertorials.

@Engine:
The problem here is that over-use and over manipulation has meant it's going to affect everyone.

For me this is a potent line.

It's not just the overuse, which from Google's point of view has got out of hand, and from the webmasters point of view is dangerous to play with. It's how everyone will be affected by this and also how everyone has participated in advertorials. I mean a simple link, is the simplest of advertorials, and by default it should, by Google's definition, be no followed.

-No links, how is a site to be indexed?
-How are you supposed to get link referrals without some sort of paid communication and/or benefit for effort[ I'm talking of the vast majority of sites ]
-If you have a historical strategy of using links [ who hasn't] and specifically links on advertorials, what are you supposed to do?
-How are content producers, writers, many good writers to monetize their efforts. AdSense won't pay the bills.

@Engine
The site owner needs to decide how important Google's indexing is and make the choice.

This is another potent line for me, but just how do folks fully adapt to this? This is the question I think we should be focusing on.

My concern is that every piece of press promotion, every link pointing to a site, a client's site, from the promotion or just a link on it's own is a huge risk to a site's indexation sustainability, and potentially business.

Unless of course you're in position and are prepared to pay Google for advertising, outside of the organic listings, or dominant AdSense network, which from a business point of view you might be prepared to do. In the case of advertorials, which , if you genuinely believe there is value on that referring page , you will be happy to receive no follow exposure on, unless you're relying on SEO value alone.

But that doesn't answer the bigger concern at the right level of detail for the majority of folks in a common situation. Where do folks focus for now, and how do they apply their choices. What can they realistically do, and where will their energies provide the best returns.

CainIV




msg:4580090
 3:49 am on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

To be honest, this only helps me efforts so I have no issues with it at all. Nice to see hard work leverage itself inherently.

As for the 'ethical issues' of G - you have a choice, don't use G, or better yet build and / or support businesses where the majority of sales are not generated from pure search.

There's only two solutions - adapt or die.

fathom




msg:4580093
 4:23 am on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Fathom - The video certainly is and if you associate it only with the text which was changed, albeit earlier. My concern for quoting the text was the implication behind it in isolation from the video, and in a more generalised application. To me, Google is declaring it is not it's responsibility for content and links pointing to anyone's site, whereas sometime in the distant past it had declared that sites linking into you could , more or less, do no harm, because that's the way Google behaved in such instances. We suspected in reality that was not accurate either, as exceptional advertorial/link campaigns have resulted in penalties, both algorithmic and manual. I might be a year or so out of date, but it kinda resonated hard with me in respect of the current warning on advertorials.


Things have also changed somewhat but first:

Google stating that "you think" you have a concern does not imply that concern has any foundation of fact. It stands to reason if you contacted the webmaster and such links were removed and nothing changed... your concerns were unwarranted.

They also use that language style here:

[googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.ca...]

Q: Can this tool be used if I'm worried about "negative SEO"?
A: excerpt: However, if you're worried that some backlinks might be affecting your site's reputation, you can use the Disavow Links tool to indicate to Google that those links should be ignored. Again, we build our algorithms with an eye to preventing negative SEO, so the vast majority of webmasters don't need to worry about negative SEO at all.


It does not say you should worry or that not disavowing will have repercussions.

Be that as it may, how much of a concern can it be for anyone if Google also provides you the tools so you don't need to worry about the links you really wish to worry about?

This is a Red Herring IMHO.

<added> As RustyBrick noted, the first reiteration Archive has was May 1, 2012 [web.archive.org...]

The redirect screws things up but there are 10 captures and with exception of a video reference for getting your own questions answered they are all the same.</added>

ColourOfSpring




msg:4580102
 8:22 am on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Candidly, no. My quote (on Google's quotes) implies if your website was "that good"... you wouldn't need Google to do anything because someone else was delivering you ill will... as the ill will wouldn't work. At worse, you would see a temporary gain and a lose of that gain... nothing more. At best, you would get the gain and never lose it. If you are not responsible for the off-page signals those signals generally didn't produce your stable ranks.


The existence of unnatural links penalties proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that Google can penalise inbound links (whether you placed these links or not yourself). There is no such thing as a "slight rise, slight fall" when your site is penalised for unnatural links. The question REALLY is : do Google always notify us when they penalise us for links pointing to our site? We can never know that, but we can observe.

With Penguin, there can be occasions when people observe "slight falls", but there are also many instances when falls are significant and even appear arbitrary - with 3 or 4 unconnected sites that were top 10 all appearing on page 5 together - the symptoms of a penalty. Of course, Penguin is likely to be more than merely looking at links, but from most people's observations, Penguin is very much a filter that concentrates largely on your link profile.

These types of penalties do not really take into account the quality of a site i.e. quality in the eyes of a human being - these types of sites would (or should) benefit from a manual review by Google that considered quality guidelines - at the end of the day, if a site has a high conversion rate, it means the visitors have largely approved it, and so should Google acknowledge the site is a lot better than the algo deems it.

diberry




msg:4580156
 3:25 pm on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hello! FTC anybody?

Geezopete.


Thank you! I say forget Google and nofollowing if you want, the worst they can do is ban you.

But the FTC also requires visible disclosures to readers about paid content, and they have the power to do much worse to you.

Webbies I talk to are starting to add CSS buttons to label every.single.page that contains affiliate links and/or free product samples they are reviewing. Anything that might, in reader's eyes, compromise their judgment in the page's content body.

And you know what? If you are honest and do put your reader's trust ahead of any paid/freebie relationship you're having with another business, it's actually a good trust building practice. Because then readers know your competitors must also be getting free samples and using affiliate links without telling them, so what else can your competitors not be trusted with? ;)

fathom




msg:4580164
 4:39 pm on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

The existence of unnatural links penalties proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that Google can penalise inbound links (whether you placed these links or not yourself). There is no such thing as a "slight rise, slight fall" when your site is penalised for unnatural links. The question REALLY is : do Google always notify us when they penalise us for links pointing to our site? We can never know that, but we can observe.


Unfortunately, casual observations in volume does not qualify as proof of anything. It merely say "something happened". You can't do SEO that way and expect to gain any sense of value out of your casual trappings. Using your own words, you have nothing BUT shadows of a doubt.

But I will bow out of this decision as well and concede to your superior SEO intellect.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4580183
 7:11 pm on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Unfortunately, casual observations in volume does not qualify as proof of anything. It merely say "something happened". You can't do SEO that way and expect to gain any sense of value out of your casual trappings. Using your own words, you have nothing BUT shadows of a doubt.

But I will bow out of this decision as well and concede to your superior SEO intellect.


Well, let's just say - I have reasonable doubt in regards to the idea that Google ALWAYS notify us of penalties based on inbound links. I assume you have no reasonable doubts to assume Google never ever ever penalise a site for inbound links UNLESS they notify you? My reasonable doubts are based on lots of accounts and experiences gathered not just from myself, but clients (when I say "clients", I mean website development clients, not SEO clients), and of course other webmasters on various forums not related to myself in anyway.

fathom




msg:4580256
 3:40 am on Jun 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

My reasonable doubts are based on lots of accounts and experiences gathered not just from myself, but clients (when I say "clients", I mean website development clients


Interesting quote... with a dofollow link back to you?

There's a set of solid inorganic links to cause you & client's issues.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4580383
 7:18 pm on Jun 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Interesting quote... with a dofollow link back to you?


No dofollow or even nofollow link back to my site. I used to have those years and years ago but they got such a miniscule click through rate (which is what I put them for originally). I took them down even before the advent of nofollow for that reason (and didn't see the point in publishing them back as nofollows when I want organic traffic anyway).

Anyway, I'd be interested in your opinion in regards to link penalties (and if such penalties are always reported to us via GWT or are some penalties part of Penguin?). As I mentioned, there's more than enough feedback from related and completely unrelated webmasters to give me doubts that Google do NOT penalise sites based on off-page signals (and these penalties are not reported to us). I do not believe it's 100% always "link loss".

fathom




msg:4580520
 2:54 am on Jun 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Anyway, I'd be interested in your opinion in regards to link penalties (and if such penalties are always reported to us via GWT or are some penalties part of Penguin?). As I mentioned, there's more than enough feedback from related and completely unrelated webmasters to give me doubts that Google do NOT penalise sites based on off-page signals (and these penalties are not reported to us). I do not believe it's 100% always "link loss".


Googlers continue to say that PENGUIN is not a penalty... My thoughts on that... that simply means it gives no weight to such links... they are "turned off" or "dropped from the link graph".

If you add some really REALLY popular software, or a download or something that attracts earned links in volume you will simply rise up from the depths of PENGUIN hell without any effort whatsoever. (Obviously that isn't easy to do on a fiverr).

You can do similar things with other forms of webspam that Google does not recognize yet but that is only sustainable until Google catches on and adds that to PENGUIN 3.0. (so what maybe a year).

Lastly:

As I mentioned, there's more than enough feedback from related and completely unrelated webmasters to give me doubts that Google do NOT penalise sites based on off-page signals (and these penalties are not reported to us). I do not believe it's 100% always "link loss".


If you look at the winners table (all those that moved up when the hammer came down) the clues to recovery are there. The clues to recovery will never be found looking at all the domains that got devalued, or penalized, or victimized or whatever euphemism one wishes to term "the others".

I will concede this... once you are say flagged for <a>EXACT MATCH ANCHORS</a> you seriously can't believe Google will ever allow that style of activity to rank again on that domain based on those link styles above a threshold level. That's like spitting in the wind.

tedster




msg:4580521
 3:28 am on Jun 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Googlers continue to say that PENGUIN is not a penalty.

I think they've changed their vocabulary. Today they mean it's an algorithm hit, and not a manual action.

fathom




msg:4580740
 7:27 pm on Jun 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think they've changed their vocabulary. Today they mean it's an algorithm hit, and not a manual action.


OK but that says the same thing.

The algorithm does not like "THIS" so stop doing "THIS" and start delivering "THAT" and because the algorithm likes "THAT"... you recover from the algorithm hit.

If you can't recover then it is best to force Manual Action on yourself because there are millions of domains that recovered from that (with the same PENGUIN offenses involved).

I can't begin to say PENGUIN 2.0 emulates PENGUIN 1.0 in any way but we just reinvented webspam for PENGUIN 1.0 and the algorithmic hits stopped hitting and PENGUIN 2.0 didn't.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4580754
 8:12 pm on Jun 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

The algorithm does not like "THIS" so stop doing "THIS" and start delivering "THAT" and because the algorithm likes "THAT"... you recover from the algorithm hit.


The problem being, of course, is that we do not know what "THIS" is because Google do not even communite to us when we are hit by an algorithmic update. If we cannot know what "THIS" is, we cannot fix it.

And surely Google do not want us to learn whatever "THAT" is, since spammers would emulate whatever "THAT" is.

To sum up, Google do not want us to know either "THIS" or "THAT" when it comes to their algo!

fathom




msg:4580765
 8:28 pm on Jun 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

The problem being, of course, is that we do not know what "THIS" is because Google do not even communite to us when we are hit by an algorithmic update. If we cannot know what "THIS" is, we cannot fix it.


That isn't really true... you do know what "THIS" is.

At one time, someone said: reciprocal links worked best.

Eventually that became 3-way links, then 4-way links then link wheels... and now Google is aggressively targeting all of those.

Directory submission for links, article submissions for links, blog comment spam for links, press releases for links, forum posts for links, sig links, fiverr links, and the list goes on... but what about investing in preferred content on your domain itself and getting earned links?

That's obviously TOO HARD... well according to Google... that's TOUGH because its results are absolutely free to those that take the path of massive effort.

Here's the HUGE difference... if the link to develop isn't for your patrons... it is 100% for Google. The only way to can sustain Google ranks is to focus PURELY on your patrons... and because you did others will take notice and share with their patrons... "natural links".

[edited by: fathom at 8:33 pm (utc) on Jun 3, 2013]

Bewenched




msg:4580766
 8:28 pm on Jun 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

So lets say you have a page on your legitimate eCommerce site and you have a supplemental page that is related to the products you sell... let's say it's some sort of widget show listings and you run a few ads on it.

I generally do "nofollow" on links to their widget show pages because it is content that I do not control.

    If I do not have control of a site the link will be a no follow.


I always take a look at the pages before I activate their event in the calendar, but who's to say in a week their site goes down and is now some domain registrar or hosting company ad page? I don't have the time to check those linked pages every day, that would be too time consuming.

So now Google is going to see those nofollow links as paid?

We aren't paid for them at all, it's a social service to our customers.

The only paid links are 3 ad placements on the page that are Google Adwords only.

Does Google Adwords put nofollow links in their javascript?

I doubt it.

Maybe google needs a rel="nocontrol" or rel="notmycontent" Or some way to define how long you want that wide open page rank to pass...

like rel="nocontrol" expires="09/15/2013" after which Google will totally ignore the link all together?

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