---- Outing Paid Links Now a Regular Feature in New York Times
tedster - 6:15 pm on May 7, 2011 (gmt 0)
How hard is it to prove G discounts or ignores those links via the algo?
The word "prove" sets a pretty high standard - however I do a whole lot of backlink study. In maybe 90% or more of the cases I see, it seems clear that paid links are not moving the ranking needle. For the other 10%, it's not at all clear, and in a few cases it seems very much like they are helping.
In the case of these flower businesses, I don't even want to start checking - especially since it's already being reported and that changes things. In earlier reports like JCPenney, I'm not even convinced that straight-up paid links were the only or principal cause of their penalty.
This whole trend of the press wanting to play watchdog over Google may be a lot bigger than it looks like on the surface. I can only speculate, so I won't, but I'd say there is a very big chess game being played, and so far we're only at pawn to king-4.