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Hugo, that "alleged" e-mail never mentioned that they were penalised for buying links, it was a form reply that included a general warning on cloaking, and the buying/selling links for ranking and PR purposes.
As for how they might determine the intent, a site's overall linkage pattern would be a pretty good indicator, IMO.
This is a relevant question for one of my client sites right now. They just began an ad network for their site, sent out the media packet, etc. A "big advertiser" contacted them this week and would like to buy an ad for the network but "big advertiser" also wants to buy a "text ad."
I noticed that a competing site is selling "text links" and this "big advertiser" is newly on the top right of the home page with a text "link" (or "ad"). This competing site is the #1 site for a top key word in my client's industry. They are PR6 and so is my client's site. Client is #5 ranking in Google, just right below the famous "fold"....
My client wants to know if they will be "banned by Google" for "selling" this "text ad?"
Also, does it do any good to "notify Google" that this competing #1 site is selling "text links?" My client would love to see this #1 site be penalized for doing this but somehow that seems wrong... especially if they can sell one themselves!
Seems like the rules have changed? Algo change? Or am I just panicking over nothing?
Or perhaps we need Brett to clarify the difference between a "text ad" and a "text link."
What to do?
... "notify Google" that this competing #1 site is selling "text links?" ...
Take care of your own business and stop worrying about doing someone else in. If you can't be successful without trying to destroy others, you should find a business more suited to your actual talents.
Besides, you apparently have no idea what sort of karma can come back to haunt you for behavior like this...not only from your competitor, but even from the entity you report the problem to. :-)
I agree! Hidden text or cloaking (with bad intentions) would the only offense I would consider letting G know
Well, I guess I touched a nerve there... did not mean to solicit such a strong response... I guess Google does respond to such notifications? Perhaps negative or positive to those who notify them?
So, "selling" text ads and links (different words here based on Brett's response) are okay as long as you hope no one reports you? And we can "get away with it" as long as we call them "ads?"
Why the sensitivity to such a question?
Google DOES care about links -- that we all know. Are you telling me that they don't care if they are sold or not? I have always advised clients not to sell a text link. Has the game changed and it's okay to sell them as long as we label them ads (and only charge $295 like Yahoo!)?
As I said earlier, an amazing discussion....
I would like to know if yahoo will drop my keyword rank off its first page because of Google dropping my pr? I am getting to hate Google more each day!
Another thing, I checked the websites that are above me for the same keyword at Yahoo and their PR hasn't changed, this is not fair because some have bought the same exact back links as me.
Is there a e-mail address I can write to at Google? I would love to hear what they have to say.
FWIW, I have never reported any webmaster or any Web site for any perceived infraction (including hidden text or cloaking or any other thing), and never will. I also don't teach my son to tell on his friends if they use dirty words; I teach him to mind his own business, and take care of his own interests and responsibilities (which right now include cleaning his room, getting his homework done on time, improving his basketball handling, and kicking butt at his favorite online games site).
Choose to succeed by succeeding, not by tearing down.
As for text link ads, yes, you seem to be relatively misinformed, but that appears to be a widespread problem. Selling ads, graphical or text, is the right of any site on the Web. Whatever caused you to think that this is somehow wrong? What is wrong from G's perspective is selling or buying text links purely for PR purposes. Webmasters will debate all day whether something is wrong because G says it is wrong. Me, I don't make my rules according to what a public company thinks. But also, I would not buy ads from unrelated sites...because it won't help my traffic, and it won't help me with the SE's (or at least it won't help much). I focus on relevance whether it's buying graphical ads, or text link ads, or seeking new one way IBL's, or reciprocal links.
Reread hugo's comments and a few others in this thread and perhaps you will then be up to speed on the reality of the current environment. ;-)
I put 1 text link on the site map of our main site (PR of page=6) last December that points to a new website we developed for a TOTALLY irrelevant website. That new site didn't have any other backlinks but managed to get a PR5 of its home page and a nice (not great of course!) positioning in SERPs just few weeks after it got online.
I tend to believe - and this is what I am currently following - that relevancy is not the top priority but other bad flags are even more important, like number of external text links and number of links from one website to another.
I have deployed the above strategy to several other new websites and I will be waiting for the results after the next G update. Let's see... :)
Webmasters are giving too much weight to relevant linking. Relevance is obviously a realative term.
Personally, I am sure that new sites that put any sort of advertisement are not doing very well intially. And take some time to rank. Especially the sites that also put a lot of "keyword".
Almost 25-30 sites I did last year, once that were clean made it to the top. But the once that had ads even Google Ads took a lot of time to get even there index page indexed and then a lot more to get internal pages indexed.
The common factor in all the above sites is I do a lot of Reciprocal Linking to any sites that link back to me, except Gambling and Adult oriented sites.
Is my thinking on above considered right by anybody here?
My recent experience with another site I developed with rich content doesn't agree with yours. The site was launched early this year having Google Ads from the beginning. It was accepted in ODP after 2 weeks (lucky one!) and is doing fine in the SERPs from just few days later. I expect to have a PR5 on G toolbar after the next update.
I appreciate your perspective and thoughts but back in the REALLY old days, people put up text links on their sites for...(dare I say) FREE! Which is what most of my clients do.
So, are you saying I should be advising them to sell them? Is this the only way to get a text link these days?
Thus, I thought, the buying and selling of text links was somehow frowned upon by Google, even if their algo cannot find you out.
So, those of us who are in the "top" of our key word areas should just buy and sell text ads back and forth to keep "others" out?
Gosh, what a web we weave!
Thanks for the wishes (for the money!) but I know it's far ahead, if even possible :)
The results are about 950,000 and the site is already on the top30 of G and Y. Regarding the number of searches I am not so sure, but the site has currently 400 page views per day on average. I guess that the long-term potential is reaching 50-80,000 visitors per month.
My main site comes up #1-5 in Google under 'craft', #1-5 under 'crocheting'(the crocheting section).... I've had great rankings for the past 5 years.
I am definitely not being penalized for selling links. I call it a fee to have their site reviewed and possibly listed.
Google Filtering Paid Links?and it's subtitled
Is google devaluing the paid linking?presumably, it's in response to the recent Google update dubbed Allegra.
A few brief excursions away from that topic are expected of course, but if you want to talk in depth about whether you should be selling text links or how to build your site, it's considered very good form to start your own thread. It's really just a simple courtesy to other members... :)
"IMO it's better to pay the same price for less PR page than higher PR with multiple paid links. The benefit of the first case seems to be much better."
'Seem to be' are the keywords here. Forget the PR, will the site actually send you hits? If they will, pay for a link or links. If you won't get actual visitors from the link forget them.
I thought we were not speaking for text advertisement here in order to seek real visitors but for text links for SEO."
My dear, they are not a different story. They, at least Yahoo(open directory project came along later), are the beginning of the story.
Text advertisements for SEO are the same thing as text advertisements for visitors. I believe that Google is catching on to this and I am behind them 100%... even though I am often left with questions.
Someone, catch my drool, please!
Google again dropped my other website to a pr1. I went out and bought more back links for that website, now it has over 50,000 back links..... anyway yahoo rewarded me and moved my site up two positions on page one.
I started this game of earning a living last year with $400.00 only! I bought a few domain names and found a three year free membership with one of the leading host companies out there that was just promoting their compant in america.
I spent the rest of my $375.00 on adwords, very slowly first $30.00 a day budget. I traded links with other websites........ I worked very hard staying up till the wee hours learning web design and basic SEO. So my hard work has been rewarded and I am capable to put some of my hard earnings into buying quality back links.........why should google punish this? I earned it!
I don't understand the difference in spending money on TV commercials to advertise your website or spending it on textlinks, it is advertising! Anyway you can advertise it should not be judged poorly by google.
I think we should penalise Google for having too many adsence on webpages! That would be a fair exchange, wouldn't it?
This is the American dream, getting rich on the internet!
If google never made changes, improvements and updates to their algos then we would have nothing to do. SEO's need to stop whining about what is fair and not fair and just play the game. No one can deny the fact that its just one big game. Play it or leave. I have been doing SEO now for about 5 years ... The number one suggestion i have is MODERATION people! We all now what the top 10 factors are of SEO - Just do some of all of them and do it with moderation.
Just my opinion.
So my hard work has been rewarded and I am capable to put some of my hard earnings into buying quality back links.........why should google punish this?
Because you're trying to corrupt Google's search results. You're free to do whatever you want, but then again, so is Google.