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Link Development Forum

    
Partnering with Content Sites by Buying Links
Is this a Viable Link Dev Strategy?
arieng




msg:3192241
 6:15 pm on Dec 18, 2006 (gmt 0)


System: The following message was cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/link_development/3190790.htm [webmasterworld.com] by martinibuster - 10:23 am on Dec. 18, 2006


I have a question regarding paid links. The majority of our incoming links are obviously "paid for" in Google's eyes. These are highly relevant links that bring us quality traffic, and convert into paying customers quite often.

In my industry, there are a handful of high-traffic information sites that have developed a high level of authority. As a manufacturer and reseller, we find it hard to be in the content business without getting into some serious conflict-of-interest, so we prefer to partner with these sites rather than compete.

We have a great relationship with several of the top content sites and they feel that we are among the most relevant sites to link to. However, they also know the value of their traffic and see these outbound links as the best way to monetize their sites. So we buy our links.

In cases like these, shouldn't we get the pagerank benefit of the incoming links or would Google like to see them discounted simply because of the financial component?

[edited by: martinibuster at 6:26 pm (utc) on Dec. 18, 2006]

 

Leosghost




msg:3192278
 6:38 pm on Dec 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

G has nothing at all against paid links providing they are exclusively paid and made via adwords ..

idolw




msg:3192550
 10:43 pm on Dec 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

i guess you should go and buy some links instead of wasting time on this discussion.

all types of inbound links work. you just need lots of them.
if inbound could harm my site i would have already been investing all my money to kill my competition.
google know it and try to threaten sites selling links to stop selling.
but they also know they need these sites in their SERPs to have 'quality' results.

really, guys. go and buy more links.

Leosghost




msg:3192592
 11:13 pm on Dec 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

guys
? ~:o

note to self ..remind me to use the <irony>tags</irony> the next time for the hard of .....

leadegroot




msg:3192663
 11:53 pm on Dec 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yes, its a bit of a conumdrum, isn't it?
Google says if you receive money for a link then you should add a nofollow to the link.
Doesn't matter if you are extremely choosy about who you link to.
Doesn't matter if they are all on topic and you turn down link requests by the handful.
Doesn't matter if the links are precisely targetted for your visitors.

If you took money for the link, Google says you are a dirty spammer if you don't tell them its not valuable for your visitors.

Them's the Google rules, and I don't like it either :(

arieng




msg:3192683
 12:06 am on Dec 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

Leadegroot - I think your response really gets to the heart of my question. We have links from all over - but the best of them (most clicks, highest incoming PR) are paid for. Would adding a no-follow to these links help me or hurt me?

rekitty




msg:3193022
 7:58 am on Dec 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

arieng, don't add no follow to the links. They make too much sense for the user and for both businesses involved.

The only real concern is someday the links might not pass search juice to you. Do you care? Not if they are bringing traffic and conversions.

Hypothetical: what if your business purchased the content site? Would that be OK in almighty Google's eyes, or would it be wrong to buy a whole site for links?

The fact that you question a business relationship that makes so much sense for all parties involved shows how Google's fear tactics are anti-competitive toward online advertising mediums other than Adwords.

Google would be happy if the publisher had AdSense on the site and you bought those ads to bring the visitors to your site, but it's not OK with google if you go straight to the publisher and purchase ads. That's wrong. It's also likely grounds for an anti-trust investigation.

martinibuster




msg:3193074
 9:35 am on Dec 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

In cases like these, shouldn't we get the pagerank benefit of the incoming links or would Google like to see them discounted simply because of the financial component?

I don't presume to speak for Google. However, as far as I know, and in my opinion, it's not the financial component in itself that would be troubling. It's the goal of manipulating Google's system for ranking.

One can buy all the links they want and convert the traffic it sends. But the moment they and their information-site partners join in a scheme to manipulate Google's system, imo Google sees itself in a position where it has to defend the integrity of it's project by taking back it's marbles and going home.

This is why I advise against purchasing advertising/links from any website that trumpets it's PageRank and the ranking benefits it conveys. When you're out in public, keep it on the downlow, put it in a paper bag and pretend it's CocaCola...

The following comment has nothing to do with the OP, I'm only commenting further on some trends that I find disturbing. This trend is the sense of entitlement that some webmasters feel that Google should ignore their link manipulation and just rank them where they feel they belong.

The flipside of that trend are the webmasters who don't provide enough content, don't sufficiently promote their sites, but feel that Google should find them and rank them anyway because the content they have is good enough. Well, in that case, Google probably should be able to discern good content and rank it according to it's merit. But it's a limitation in technology. It's technically beyond what can be done at the moment, although they say it's just around the corner with machine learning technologies such as the one behind MSN Live and Hakia.com.

But for the moment the race is generally being won by those who put a significant investment of time, money, and ingenuity into their marketing efforts. Yes, that leaves a lot of people and their businesses outside of success. But how is that different than in the offline world? And why should the rules of success and non-success suddenly change when you go online?

As a manufacturer and reseller, we find it hard to be in the content business without getting into some serious conflict-of-interest, so we prefer to partner with these sites rather than compete.

My advice would be to look to Amazon, TripAdvisor, Zappos, and numerous smaller and unsung sites that fly under the radar but are no less ingenious for integrating useful content into selling and reselling their products online.

rekitty




msg:3193330
 3:36 pm on Dec 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

But for the moment the race is generally being won by those who put a significant investment of time, money, and ingenuity into their marketing efforts. Yes, that leaves a lot of people and their businesses outside of success. But how is that different than in the offline world? And why should the rules of success and non-success suddenly change when you go online?

My advice would be to look to Amazon, TripAdvisor, Zappos, and numerous smaller and unsung sites that fly under the radar but are no less ingenious for integrating useful content into selling and reselling their products online.

Great advice martinibuster!

Innovation and ingenuity are the key. The Internet is so young that the most effective online marketing strategies have yet to even be discovered, IMO.

Everyone is looking for a formula. The folks that are willing to break the mold and try innovative new techniques, then test and refine them, are going to win in the end.

Linbui




msg:3194567
 2:36 pm on Dec 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

In my opinion google has no issues with paid links. Paid links are good as far as you are getting traffic.Google gives due importance to paid sites as well,there is no separate criteria made so far.

lfgoal




msg:3196571
 10:30 pm on Dec 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

"When you're out in public, keep it on the downlow, put it in a paper bag and pretend it's CocaCola..."

That sums it up pretty nicely.

lfgoal




msg:3196576
 10:32 pm on Dec 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

"Google gives due importance to paid sites as well,there is no separate criteria made so far."

When/if google decides to devalue paid links I know a lot of people who will feel like jumping out of windows, i.e. link building strategies should be multi-faceted.

LunaC




msg:3197234
 3:01 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google says if you receive money for a link then you should add a nofollow to the link.

I've seen this mentioned before, but I've never found where Google says it, is it possible to give a link, or a hint where to find this?

MrStitch




msg:3197376
 4:58 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm in the exact same boat as arieng, and it really has been a battle from the beginning.

I wish there were a way to speak to google about cases like ours, where we are the actual end source. The definitive word in the given market.

Heck, I'm sitting smack in the middle of a manufacturing facility at this very moment, that supplies 1/3 the nation of it's product for this particular market. Yet, I'm getting hammered in the serps by people with drop shipping programs while living in their moms basement.

If rankings are based on links, then how does a know-all source win the serps without buying links?

Granted, I can only imagine the flood of calls and scams people will try to pull to replicate a source such as ours, for their given market. So, such ideas are a waste of time.

/rant

marketingmagic




msg:3197414
 5:30 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Paid links work, but the obvious downside is cost. Depending on the category you are involved in paid links can be cost prohibitive.

I'd rather spend that money on reinvesting in our site. So that's what we're doing and have been for about 6 months now. We're creating tons of unique content that people actually want to read because it's well written and compelling.

In addition to content we're investing in unique features for our site that set us apart from other sites.

Bottom line is paid links is not a long term solution.

With all the money you'll be spending on links we'll be spending on a killer site, which, ultimately will lead to ranking and attention from other media sources. And guess what else? Links. Free links. :-)

That's my 2 cents.

MrStitch




msg:3197440
 6:09 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

marketingmagic - You have an excellent point, which hinges on "depending on your market".

In a case where your market is 'service' based, especially 'web service base', then one can see where the competition is drastically high, and yesterdays hero's become tomorrows tales.

However, the problem that arieng proposes shows us that google can't physically calculate or compute the reliability of a source based on whats given, even if it is 'THE' source.

I whole heartedly believe in googles ideas that people should not manipulate the web for their own gain. But in the case of us manufacturers, we're slowly seeing all of our work go over to china. So we need sources like google, yahoo, and msn to help us keep in touch with this generation, on a cost effective level.

If our products are so great, and if we had a totally killer website thats worth linking too, then how come we don't have the links to back it up?

Simple - A manufacturer supplies products to business's in multiple regions, small and large. These business's are not willing to advertise where they get their product from, plain and simple. It's just common business practice. If i'm beating my competitors via lower price points on product, then why the heck would I help them out?

Perhaps someday, SE's will develop a process around this... especially since I just did a search for such and such manufacturer in google, and 27 out of 30 were informational sites and links pages. The 3 manufactures did not rank well, and the company that I work for isn't even in the ballpark.

MrStitch




msg:3197449
 6:23 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have to apologize, i'm running off topic, started by someone else.. but whatever.

Back to arieng's question.

Concerning PR - I wouldn't worry about the PR. This is old information fed to you by unreliable sources. Yes, it is a factor, but not nearly as big as some places claim.

Your linking profile is very important, and depending on a truckload of criteria, your links should not come from just a couple of sources. You'll need many sources, to help you win the serps.

Also, concerning paid links vs. conversion value - Many websites approach selling value of a link much like magazines approach sales. The numbers are ALWAYS skewed.
What you need to do is draw up some simple figures. How much did you pay for the said link, and how many sales did you acquire? There are ways to figure this out, voucher codes, tracking software, etc. Just remember, when you finally compile your numbers, you must skew the numbers yourself.

Example - My company is sending out a mailer next year. That mailer has a voucher code on it. Sales vs voucher code will help determine the ROI. But I know ahead of time that not everyone visiting the site will use the voucher code. For that, I will balance those sales with other sales, and apply the numbers to various other advertising venues we've made. In the end, the numbers might come close to "Well, we 'might' have made money, but there's too many variables".

What I really expect to find is - "Wow, that source didn't work out worth a crap. So lets spend the same amount of money next year, but in a different direction."

arieng




msg:3197469
 6:48 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Mr Stitch, thanks for the feedback. Glad to know there are others seeing these problems from a similar viewpoint.

Marketing Magic, you are right in that content is what will ultimately get you rankings. However, I am trying to describe a situation where our website might not be the appropriate place for that content to reside.

That sounds pretty vague - let's see if I can explain it better.

Let's say there's a retail site that sells just about every kind of widget, widget hardware, widget books...everything widget. These widgets have a large, fanatical customer base, and there are several very popular online communities that provide widget blogs, forums, product evaluation & feedback, all the great content surrounding widgets.

As a respected widget-retailer, hosting content like this could potentially put us in hot water with any number of people, especially our vendors. So, it is better to let other sites specialize in the content and link over to us when someone wants to buy a new widget.

The downside is that the vast majority of our incoming links are coming from the content-sites, who charge for this very valuable traffic. Even most of our non-paid links are coming from these same sites, when someone mentions us as a good source within one of the blogs, forums, or reviews.

So we have a vast majority of links coming from sites that sell links. My worry is that Google is discounting links from sites that are known to sell, and all of these links are getting hit.

It seems that many feel Google's threat to discount paid links is more bluster than substance, and that may be right. We do very well in the SERPs for several high traffic terms without ever really focusing on SEO. Now that we are actively looking to expand our organic visibility, we have to ask the question. Is buying these links hurting or helping?

rover




msg:3197636
 10:07 pm on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google says if you receive money for a link then you should add a nofollow to the link.

I've seen this mentioned before, but I've never found where Google says it, is it possible to give a link, or a hint where to find this?

I've seen this on a Q&A posting on Matt Cutts' blog:

[mattcutts.com...]

Q: “If one were to offer to sell space on their site (or consider purchasing it on another), would it be a good idea to offer to add a NOFOLLOW tag so to generate the traffic from the advertisement, but not have the appearence of artificial PR manipulation through purchasing of links?”

A: Yes, if you sell links, you should mark them with the nofollow tag. Not doing so can affect your reputation in Google.

Vaibhav




msg:3200354
 11:35 pm on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

When you are buying the links then make them look as natural as possible.

Buy fewer sitewide links and more home page links.

If possible buy links from a keyword within the content of the site rather than from the side bar (looks more natural)

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