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Matt Cutts Comments Bring Advertising Links into Focus
Could it Change Link Building Tactics From Paid Link Advertisements?
JudgeJeffries




msg:3311891
 8:14 pm on Apr 15, 2007 (gmt 0)


System: The following 2 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/link_development/3311676.htm [webmasterworld.com] by martinibuster - 4:24 pm on April 15, 2007 (utc -8)


Not sure its such an opportune time to ask this in view of Matt Cutts comments on his blog yesterday about paid links.
Is anyone still buying?

 

jakegotmail




msg:3312890
 8:53 pm on Apr 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Kill all linkbrokers and those sites will have to shift their money into adwords."

Far from true. I would say most people who buy links don't use some crappy link brokerage service to facilitate the link purchasing.

pageoneresults




msg:3312893
 8:58 pm on Apr 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

It sounds like Google have figured out part of the equation but can't complete it without human intervention.

Again, there are those networks that are easily detectable, the ones already addressed. And then there are those that they cannot detect algorithmically. They've had such great success with the Spam Reporting feature, why not use that same concept on paid links? ;)

The true link broker remains transparent. He's got a diversified portfolio of industry specific links. And those that he is lacking, he has inside contacts for. No public awareness of his link inventory with the exception of those in the know. ;)

Those companies that have evolved out of a weakness in Google's algo have painted a target on themselves. Its a numbers game for them. Keep that link inventory fresh and churn them out by the hundreds, thousands. ;)

Until Google's algo changes and doesn't rely as much on linking data, the whole business of buying and selling links isn't going to change anytime soon. Matt will probably make a similar statement a year from now as the issues with link manipulation will still be a thorn in their side.

willybfriendly




msg:3312895
 9:01 pm on Apr 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>>Google is not trying to put a stop to selling links, they are simply trying to stop anyone from selling Google PR. By using the no follow tag, you are in compliance with Google's webmaster guidelines. "Theoretically", If you aren't selling links for PR purposes, you have nothing to worry about. <<<

Like Wikipedia, right? A operfectly valid use of no follow tags? "We'll cite them as a source, but kill the link juice just ot be safe."

The no follow tag is a nice example of how G has changed the web. I think that when one player has the muscle to enforce compliance with their rules that we are very close to a monopoly.

Use no follow tags or suffer the wrath of G? How about we preload Internet Explorer on all those desktop PC's?

WBF

night707




msg:3312943
 9:46 pm on Apr 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

I would say most people who buy links don't use some crappy link brokerage

If some adwords advertiser would see on what junky sites his ads can appear, he would be more than happy to see where some brokers could position his links,

Very few advertisers have the time and capacities to build link popularity manualy. They buy at large scale for instant results.

A few thousand links can take any junk to the top at Google within weeks. An example for this i had submitted to the moderator here recently.

No content, adsense loaden to the roof, PR of 8 with thousands of inbounds links, top 100.000 at Alexa.

Today i found an example of nothing but paid links and a Google search box on the frontpage. PR 8 and 6-7 for subsequent sites . Tons of urls with nothing else than paid listings and nice PR.

Of course to be found on a Google No. 1 search result page for an elementary kw. In fact this site ranks on 3 squashed in between Google, Yahoo and Myspace.

Paid links strictly with also nothing like a nofollow tag.

Anyone who wants to see that page can stickmail.

idolw




msg:3312958
 10:07 pm on Apr 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

i work in travel. google would have to kill all travel big names to prove they stopped counting paid links.
each and every test shows otherwise.

fischermx




msg:3312965
 10:23 pm on Apr 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

How to spot paid links.

Yes, it's true. Google can't tell paid links from non-paid links. It is impossible. Any attempt will have serious collateral damage.
But anyway, algorithmically you can spot suspicious links with the following patterns.

- Groups of 3 or more links in its own container div/table cell.
- Groups of links clearly labed as "sponsors", "advertisments", etc. and not using nofollow attribute (the most obvious)
- Groups of 3 or more links without any surrounding text.
- Groups of links repeating in dozens of pages with same anchor text.
- Groups of links repeating in dozens of pages with 2-3 variations of same anchor text (trying to game the system).
- Groups of links out of first sight, below the fold, using small fonts, etc. (Blog rolls might not pass this test).
- Combine two or more and you have a winner.

The only way you will be able to hide, is to be linked from inside articles or blog posts, like most do today anyway.
But the days from enterprise level Link Brokerage are gone.

Whitey




msg:3312975
 10:36 pm on Apr 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

It sounds like Google have figured out part of the equation but can't complete it without human intervention.

Absolutely! and the SPAM report should move it a long way forward, mixed with a dose of rampant Matt Cutts Google PR to set the cat amongst the pidgeons [ webmasters / siteowners / link sellers etc].

Adam Lasnik said:

Linking to bad neighborhood [webmasterworld.com]

Also, be assured that we're not looking to penalize folks for a "bad" link here and there. Rather, our algorithms are tuned to look for patterns of "egregious" linking behavior... both on individual sites and in the aggregate.

We ran an experiment early last year which proved that Google will strip your PR and drop those pages on the outgoing site where relevance on theme is not respected.

However, i did notice that the network still exists and works well for those that applied it with a "few tricks". It showed me both Google's ability and lack of ability to detect networks.

It is not difficult for Google to identify pages which carry outgoing links on pages with terms such as "sponsored" , "advertising" , high PR sites, etc etc , plus link patterns and non related URL's - particularily directories IMO.

There is no doubt in my mind of Matt Cutt's clarity on G's intentions. I'm sure they're improving their detection methods. Playing cat and mouse with this is like a stategy of moving deckchairs on the Titanic.

[edited by: Whitey at 11:01 pm (utc) on April 16, 2007]

wheel




msg:3313036
 12:14 am on Apr 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>>>>- Groups of 3 or more links in its own container div/table cell.
- Groups of links clearly labed as "sponsors", "advertisments", etc. and not using nofollow attribute (the most obvious)
- Groups of 3 or more links without any surrounding text.
- Groups of links repeating in dozens of pages with same anchor text.
- Groups of links repeating in dozens of pages with 2-3 variations of same anchor text (trying to game the system).
- Groups of links out of first sight, below the fold, using small fonts, etc. (Blog rolls might not pass this test).
- Combine two or more and you have a winner.

Give me a break. It's stupid simple to provide numerous, common, and repeated counter examples to any of those, and any combination of those from trusted, aged, authority sites. None of that indicates paid links.

The fact is, if I buy a blog post from a site that blogs regularly and takes sponsors sporadically, or I buy a text link embedded within content from an ontopic site that accepts few if any links, well, Google's screwed. They're not finding that anytime in the forseeable future.

The two things I try to look for are relatively closed networks and footprints. And I expect that some combination of those two are what Google's looking for. Unfortunately for them you can buy links all day long that neither show up as a network or leave footprints. There's any number of retailers doing that, and one can certainly do the same thing easily by hand.

digitalghost




msg:3313058
 12:55 am on Apr 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

How far we've come from their naivete of 1998

At worst, you can have manipulation in the form of buying advertisements (links) on important sites. But, this seems well under control since it costs money. From, Bringing Order To The Web -1998

fischermx




msg:3313097
 1:27 am on Apr 17, 2007 (gmt 0)


The fact is, if I buy a blog post from a site that blogs regularly and takes sponsors sporadically, or I buy a text link embedded ...

Well, that's what I said to close my post, thanks for confirming.


The two things I try to look for are relatively closed networks

How that's related to paid links? That's for spotting interlinking, not paid links.
The known link brokers we all know sell links to anyone, how can you detect a closed network on this?


... and footprints.

I have no idea what footprints are in this context.


Give me a break. It's stupid simple to provide numerous, common, and repeated

I didn't say that was the smartest way to do it, but what I think google is gonna do, even if stupid.

oddsod




msg:3313303
 10:31 am on Apr 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Does anyone really buy this FUD?

If you do then this is the time to buy links for all my sites that compete directly with yours... and then snitch on them. Take me out of the SERPs. Go on, I dare you!

wanderingmind




msg:3313363
 11:58 am on Apr 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

That won't happen, Oddsod. Matt only said they would use the info to test out certain things.

Even if they plan to use the info to somehow identify paid links, at worst it should lead to those links being discounted.

Unless they decide to be stupid about it and try to do paid link identification using patterns out of data submitted by a snitch army algorithmically and mess up completely...

Nothing anytime soon for sure. But the browhaha is worth it - keeps Google guys on their toes.

mojomike




msg:3314012
 10:12 pm on Apr 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

I did a study of a major player in a very niche industry that I was willing to give a real hard try at. After an eight month review and very careful analysis, I found that

a) he spent on average about 60,000 on buying links
b) he got number 1 ranking because of those links

can I take him out in 1 shot, yep
should I, nope not my concern nore am I interested.
could someone do the same research, yep and a lot faster also since I did not know how to really research this in the past ( now I could do it in 80 hours )

is his links worth what he paid, yes and no ... the yes part - for the ranking on his group of keywords, the no part - on the traffic ( his log files were public so I looked )

minnapple




msg:3314191
 3:13 am on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Are nonprofits exempt?

vincevincevince




msg:3314200
 3:30 am on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Look at it another way - paid links don't add value - and so they are going to die at some point. If Google wants to kill them now then I can't see it's big business news for anyone apart from big participants in that market.

webcenter




msg:3314252
 5:05 am on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

What Google could do is become a broker for text links that way the could save themselves some time trying to find the paid links. They could let publishers set their own prices and guidelines for buying links.

skipfactor




msg:3314253
 5:11 am on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

The problem is that anyone seasoned enough to belong to the webmaster console and have the spare time to confirm a competitor's paid link, must have at least a few old, festering paid links in their network and should be aware that a report might also get them a free Google review. There will probably be less reporting than they think.

>>Natural Paid Links

Organic Paid Links :)

Eeww, think I'll ignore this debate and watch nothing change.

Jane_Doe




msg:3314270
 5:25 am on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

What Google could do is become a broker for text links that way the could save themselves some time trying to find the paid links

One of my more suspicious friends always says he wouldn't be surprised if one the major search engines actually owned and operated one of the text link brokerage services.

What better way to get info on who is buying links?

callivert




msg:3314299
 6:07 am on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google: "Our algorithm is broken. The people exploit the freedom they have been given. You must confess when you cheat and violate the law of Google."
webmaster: "How?"
Google: "put the word 'nofollow' on links that might incur our wrath."
webmaster: "But I like my site how it is. I like the way we used to do links. We'd just link to stuff and that was it. What if I don't want to use this 'nofollow'?"
Google: "Then you shall suffer our wrath. We will withdraw traffic, reducing your income to a pittance."
webmaster: "Nofollow it is then."
Google: "One other thing. Many of your people are not as loyal to the Google as you. They trade sacred links for silver and gold. They do not use nofollow. You must report them to us at every opportunity."
webmaster: "What is the reward oh Great One?"
Google: "The pleasure of watching sinners burn in hell."
webmaster: "Thank you for your kindness and mercy, oh Google."

supermanu




msg:3314449
 10:02 am on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

@callivert

Excellent :)

Marcia




msg:3314456
 10:15 am on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

callivert, you have indeed honed in on the Gestalt of the whole thing. Hats off to you, Peace to you, and may the Force be with you. Shalom.

night707




msg:3314581
 1:06 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Thank you for your kindness and mercy, oh Google."

good post!

jakegotmail




msg:3314754
 4:05 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

most webmasters have many sites.

"
The problem is that anyone seasoned enough to belong to the webmaster console and have the spare time to confirm a competitor's paid link, must have at least a few old, festering paid links in their network and should be aware that a report might also get them a free Google review. There will probably be less reporting than they think."

Simply submit the report from your "How to loose weight website" and not your commercial powerhouse.

madmatt69




msg:3314955
 6:20 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yeah this is really silly. Whats to stop someone from say buying a link to a competitors site, and then reporting them as buying links?

Most sites link to other sites as well, without any payment. Someone could just say "Hey look Google, this guy is linking to a site, and it's a paid link". And boom - they've hurt the competition.

How could they possibly verify this?

simey




msg:3314963
 6:28 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yeah this is really silly. Whats to stop someone from say buying a link to a competitors site, and then reporting them as buying links?

well it depends on whether google just discounts paid links or actually penalizes for them.

If they just discount links it may actually Increase the number of links being bought.
[google won't likely be 100% accurate in detecting paid links, so people buy More Links to compensate]

But if they Penalize for paid links, that opens a whole 'nother kettle of nasty fish.

pageoneresults




msg:3315012
 7:06 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

But if they Penalize for paid links, that opens a whole 'nother kettle of nasty fish.

I don't think we are talking about penalties here. This is just a devaluation process. Its simple, this link doesn't count.

fischermx




msg:3315019
 7:16 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

That's what I hope, too. If that's the punishment, we're all fine, even if someone buy a link in your name to report you.

night707




msg:3315081
 8:24 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

fischermx

it would not surprise, if Google will penalize link sellers... kill their PR and traffic.

[edited by: night707 at 8:48 pm (utc) on April 18, 2007]

fischermx




msg:3315088
 8:32 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Oh, well, yes, you're rihg.
Who remember the death of dirone?

night707




msg:3315110
 8:47 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

the death of dirone?

:-)) not me, at least....

skipfactor




msg:3315111
 8:52 pm on Apr 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>Simply submit the report from your "How to loose weight website" and not your commercial powerhouse.

Expose the SERPs where your commercial powerhouse (with old, paid backlinks) plays?

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