flanok - 1:21 pm on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)
In the UK, there is a practice that gains high page rank and high domain authority links by offering a discount on their services to students.
Most UK .gov official university website have a page which publishes discounts on products and services to students, including a very valuable link to the suppliers website.
So the question is--.
Is offering a discount on products and services in return for a link the same as buying one and therefore is against Google's terms and conditions?
This was brought to my attention when looking at the linking profiles of my competitors and found, every website in my niche on the first page for a certain search term, had links from university sites, even though the service (finance related) was unlikely ever to be used or even possible for a student to use that service.
Even if you could argue an occasional student could use the service, I would still question whether any website service should gain on their SERPS, because of offering discounts anywhere.
These links are all gathered together on a links page, rather than any added high quality content.
I suppose the obvious solution would be to copy what they are doing, but in my case I don't supply the service, I just write about it, so no discounts from me.
The webmasters or students who administer these pages, probably have little or no knowledge of the benefits given to these websites, or for that matter no interest. A well written email and an offer of a discount is all that is needed.
It would be good to know Google's opinion on this matter.
Buying links is wrong, but offering a discount in return for a link is acceptable, or do they agree with my opinion, that anything that relates to money changing hands in return for a link, is against rules and I suppose that includes good directories too (unless nofollow)?