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As of now google it is hit hard on duplicate content and making sure not black hat tricks as it wants to deliver good results and at the same time its delaying the new sites getting indexed to make sure not satellite sites interlinking and no paid external links. thus indirectly making sure eliminating the paid links
If this is in fact happening, it is also taking down a lot of good, clean sites with it. I know of several very good informational sites that can't be found on Google right now. There is nothing black hat about them, all are clean as a whistle. None of them are mine, but I've found them helpful to me in the past. I'm glad I bookmarked them because there is no way they are coming up in the Google SERPs now. And there isn't anything taking their place - just directories that mention the site.
So, quality takes the back seat once again to filtering for the bad guys. Not very relevant.
Unless Google runs a sting operation, I don't see how it could possibly know whether a link was paid for or not.
Word gets around, and in any case, why wouldn't Google run a "sting operation" if it felt the results would be worthwhile?
Also, some purchased links stand out like a sore thumb--and not just to a QC person who's looking for them. Let's say I've got a major PR8 weather site, and I decide to fill my left-hand navigation bar with unrelated links for Web hosting, payday loans, quack medical products, etc. It doesn't take a Google Ph.D. to be skeptical about the legitimacy of those links. If I were Google, I might not penalize links from that high-traffic/high-PR domain, but I'd certainly block any PR transfer from them.
Look at whats happened in recent years: thousands of websites and millions of pages attempting to manipulate Google's link-based ranking system by buying and selling links, swapping links purely to gain positions in Google.
In fact probably every webmaster attempts in someway to manipulate Google.
In response, Google has to apply certain filters, which by their nature will also affect innocent sites - collateral damage. Google applies these filters, which are always imperfect, because generally they improve the SERPS and general user experience.
The point I am trying to make is that if Google has a new filter that they think improves the quality of results, but that same filter also has the side-effect of demoting 1000's of sites, then Google will not hesitate to introduce that filter.
After all, they have 8 Billion sites to play with, so that is a pretty huge statistical base to run tests on. They get a few thousand known examples and chew at them and could easily come up with a list of 20 characteristics of paid links.
I was always under the impression Google did this. If they do, maybe they need to increase the spidering levels of the spy Googlebots.
Ask Yahoo. They have been selling text links in their directory for years ($295/year).
What is not allowed by Google is the selling of text links for explicit (and singular) purpose of increasing your PR or improving your serps for specific keywords (same goes for reciprocal links).
This is why the "spamming" (overuse) of text links or reciprocal links with the same exact anchor text has been devalued/filtered.
Text link advertising is alive and well and so is reciprocal linking...the key is moderation and relevancy (as with most things in life)
Something like a simple block level analysis could weight links in such a way that your average paid text link, by nature of it's usual page location, becomes trivial in value.
If we need paid text links for our clients these days, we negotiate for above the fold placement and in accordance with a few other factors which aren't so easily deweighted by search engines' analyses.
Example: I recently came across a site that showed several thousand backlinks in Google, and over 400,000 in Yahoo. For a moment I was impressed, but investigation showed that the site had 10,000 run-of-site links from one domain, 25,000 from another, 15,000 from somewhere else, and so on. If I factored those out, the site's remaining link popularity was comparable to other sites in the same search results.
Would search engine algos make some sort of similar adjustment before handing out brownie points for link popularity? To me it would make sense that they do ... not specifically to screen out links that were paid for but simply to give less weight to links that seem to be under common editorial control.
hugo_guzman, a voice of reason and sanity in the wilderness. ;-)Hear! Hear!
I suggest it's not paid links, but run of site links (frequently paid) that are being addressed. Further, it's possible that a ROS link from a "PR9" site gives 9 "votes" while a ROS from a "PR4" provides only 4 "votes." I'm suggesting ROS links may be devalued on a scale, based on the quality of the site providing the ROS.
Disclaimer: I have no evidence, it simply seems like a reasonable thing for Google to do (to me at least!) all things considered.
I'm just trying to throw in my two cents...
I do believe that ROS links are devalued on some sort of sliding scale.
I also believe that links are still king (that's the nature of citation ranking)
IMO the key is relevancy.
It may very well be that google has figured out a way to devalue backlinks from non-relevant sites....so that a PR 8 backlink and/or 36,000 ros backlinks are "virtually" useless if they are not coming from a site that is relevant.
All G is really doing is continuing to weed out what they view as artificial rankings inflators. That's not the same as punishing sites, which is a more active phenomenon.
Still, you get people running around saying "Oh, you can't buy links anymore without risking punishment..." or that sort of comment, because they've seen their site's rankings plummet. At times the conclusions are way out of sync with what is really going on.
At any given point in time, it's important to sort out what is:
- causing problems
- working less well than it used to
- not working at all.
Three very different things.
one element gets devalued ... it feels like a site is being punishedBINGO!
I posted a similar observation in the Links Development Forum over two years ago.
obtaining paid links from high PR pagesas one of the possible reasons for penalty. I believe this is what hit my site. However with more research i was able to find out that if your paid links are from relavent sites then your site is safe.
You are about the 1 millionth person that has posted about an alleged e-mail from google stating that they have penalized due to the purchase of a paid link.
Google does not "penalize" sites due to inbound links (including paid ones), they may devalue an inbound link, but they won't penalize because of an inbound link.
Google does not explicitly state that "paid text links" would cause a site to be penalized. It's not in their webmaster f.a.q. and it isn't in their company e-mails either.
Again...sorry for the cynicism.
The sandbox is there because they are looking for paid links, if they dont find any then you will be included in the search.
1. sandbox exists
2. because of paid links
3. no paid links -> thumbs up
Wow, did you share a room with some insiders - or did I miss something?
Just take care, your enemy might buy you a link or two just to throw you back into the sandbox.
Confession: Last year I bought 3 links from Yahoo. Will that put me into the sandbox ;-)