Sgt_Kickaxe - 8:47 pm on May 26, 2012 (gmt 0) [edited by: Sgt_Kickaxe at 8:56 pm (utc) on May 26, 2012]
Not all link selling is about Google.
Very true. If you accept payment from a company because they want exposure to your visitors that is completely legal and acceptable. Google believes you need to add signals to tell them to ignore these links(nofollow, robots.txt etc) but you don't work for Google and can't be expected to add signals for every company and service out there.
Again - this beast is a 100% Google creation and the onus should fall on Google to figure it out BUT I think its safe to assume a SEO company offering to boost rank with paid links deserves to be banned for trying to manipulate Google rank so the argument above doesn't apply here.
The question Google has to answer is: "Is this link attempting to manipulate rank?". I don't think they say yes on that question to every link that does not have nofollow/robots.txt applied. Google does indeed look for signals in helping them decide, e.g. Is a site of low quality and designed to solely to boost another site? Is a link part of an advertisement and not really a recommendation? I think Google has been pretty active in figuring that out.
I appreciate your quoted argument above but I do think Google is handling it properly at this point. I STILL wish they'd remove links as a ranking factor altogether because I can't tell you how tired I am of dealing with them, nor do I want to go "gather" them just to rank, but hey. This is the next best option, a pro-active Google willing to act when they must.
You don't hear me praising Google often lately(e.g. privacy, panda, penguin etc), but this is worthy imo.
[edited by: Sgt_Kickaxe at 8:56 pm (utc) on May 26, 2012]