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Does Google Reward Backlinks Buyers & Sellers?

Boost of PR based on purchased backlinks!

     
4:23 pm on Sep 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi Folks

Last December Matt Cutts, Head of Google WebSpam Team, wrote a post which impressed me indeed:

Tell me about your backlinks [mattcutts.com]

Here is part of what Matt Cutts wrote at that post:

My favorite overall moment was when a totally legit company (micromatic.com) stood up and asked for advice. Overall, their site was great: good architecture and very crawlable. They had lots of really good backlinks, including industry-specific links. But I could also tell that they’d been buying some backlinks. And they were buying backlinks from the exact same place as one of the earlier sites! At the point when in a minute of typing, I can say: you guys are both trying to buy backlinks, and I can tell that you’re buying them from the same network, and here’s an example page from ketv.com where both of you are even on the same page, and it’s not doing you any good at all: that just made my day. Having a concrete demonstration is so much better than just making a claim, especially when one of the sites says beforehand that they’re not doing as well as they used to be. I told micromatic.com that they had a great site, so they should stop trying to buy backlinks and spend more money to reward their inhouse SEO who had done a great job on the crawlability and architecture of the site.

When you read that post you might get the same impression that I got; Google knows and penalize buyers and maybe also sellers of Backlinks. Not so, unfortunately.

However, it just happened that I know of a site (not mine) which purchased backlinks during the first 4 months or so of 2006. I know from which sites the backlinks were purchased. And I know approximately how much was paid for most of the purchased BLs. No rel=nofollow was applied, of course.

Then the current indications of PR update arrived. And I checked the PR of the site which purchased the said BLs.
WOW... boost in PR from PR4 to PR7!

And I checked the PR of the sites which sold the BLs.
WOW.. they retained their high PR!

Am I the only one who have noticed Google rewarding sellers and buyers of BLs?

Have you noticed the same?

Your feedback would be highly appreciated.

7:02 pm on Oct 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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that our kind fellow member Matt Cutts has posted this morning on his blog

Matt Cutts wrote

Matt Cutts wrote

Matt Cutts wrote

Matt Cutts wrote

If Matt told you dancing on your head around a bonfire while sprinkling fairy dust on yourself and chanting "I'm a Cuttlet, I'm a Cuttlet, I'm a Cuttlet" would improve your TBPR, would you do it?

Or would you think *for yourself* and base your beliefs on your own testing and research on *multiple* sites.

Just because Matt writes something (and Matt is a decent guy, so no foul on him intended) does not make how YOU INTERPRET what he wrote to be gospel.

7:51 pm on Oct 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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In my experience, I have seen sites get rewarded in the serps for purchasing links most of the time. I am not sure how Google could determine who is buying. Maybe sometimes they could figure it out, but certainly not always.
9:07 pm on Oct 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Sigh, this thread is boring.

It also has too many bolded words and things in double quotation marks

Face it, Google can tell some backlinks are paid because they are not subtle in the least. And Google cannot tell some backlinks are paid because they are relevant to the content and other links on the page. That's it. No secret really.

9:36 pm on Oct 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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martinibuster

At some point we take our internal PageRanks, put them on a 0-10 scale, and export them so that they’re visible to Google Toolbar users.

reseller, that only says the obvious. We already know there's a ten point scale. That's all it says.

C'mon Martin. You can do better :-)

Your comment was:

The GREEN BAR on the TOOLBAR is NOT PageRank.

While Matt is telling us that it is Google's internal PageRanks which has been exported to the Toolbar. I.e the Toolbar at some point represents Google's internal PageRanks converted to scale 0-10.

Matt Cutts wins!

"I'm a Cuttlet, I'm a Cuttlet, I'm a Cuttlet" :-)

10:39 pm on Oct 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'll put in my $0.02 then go take a nap.

Can buying links help a site? Yes

Does an increase in PR in the toolbar indicate a site has been helped? No (The part reseller doesn't seem to get)

Will Google penalize sites who buy links? No, because then I would buy links and point them to my competitors. The only thing Google will do is make them not count.

Will Google penalize a site selling links? It has stated that it will make the outbound links carry no trust. Not really a penalty, it just doesn't help the site buying the link.

Can Google detect every site selling links? Never. It's easy enough to see a site selling 35 links on the homepage, but how will it ever be able to find the ones with only 2 links on the home page. How can something so small look unnatural?

So in the end, who cares. If you are mad that your competitors do it, too bad. Either buy links or don't. Your going to make more money working on your own products / services then you are crying about Google not being able to detect your competitor buying links.

That is all.

10:42 pm on Oct 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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....dancing on your head around a bonfire while sprinkling fairy dust on yourself and chanting

This doesn't work? Sh**! - it's time for a new SEO plan I guess.

I'm surprised there is still so much debate about buying links as it seems to me the following is pretty clear now:

1) Google has several ways to catch "paid links". For those that think this is difficult keep in mind that they have *people* as well as algorithms over at Google. Simply acting like a link buyer for a year would yield a huge database of sites that sell links. Once you know THAT you can devalue all/some links from those sites.

hey, isn't that pretexting like HP does to it's Board? Naaahhhh

2) Google clearly states they don't want to see paid links except for traffic. They don't detail how they penalize for selling or buying them but they probably penalize sellers and ignore most buyers.

3) Google sometimes fails to find paid links. My personal guess is that they catch more than 70% but less than 90% of paid links and are improving. For that reason alone IMHO it's a questionable SEO tactic.

I'd add that I think Google's approach to links and SEO has many defects both moral and strategic. Link trading, relevant and not, was a cornerstone of early web development, but now it's discouraged by Google. This has distorted the way people link. Adsense has totally changed the way most people produce and market web content.

10:49 pm on Oct 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Reseller - did you check the SERPS of the sites that bought the links?

Toolbar PR is a snapshot of PR from as many as about 3 months earlier, and even real and high PR does not confer good placements if the site is hit by other filtering. Only the SERPs tell if that plan worked for them, and it may mess them up in the future.

11:59 pm on Oct 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Penalizing a legitimate site for selling or purchasing a link type advertisement smells like antitrust to me.

I sincerely feel this could ultimately be a very slippery slope for GG or any public search organization, not to mention expensive.

2:52 am on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I didn't really understand what the "nofollow" tag does in relation to this topic. Backlinks from related sites are what are recommended for high PR right? I would like to improve my PR in google, but am stuck at 4.

Thanks

2:53 am on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Amazing thread.

Matt Cutts - 1
WebmasterWorld - 0

Reseller, why you'd believe Matt Cutts over experienced, seasoned seo verteran's is way, way beyond me.

We make money off natural results, Cutt's makes his money off Google ads. He also does a great job of keeping the SEO information in the hands of the few that know.

Thanks Matt!

_______________________

The only valuable metric you have in the whole seo world is ranking and traffic. If the PR whatever link that was bought increased the rank it was a good buy.

Google can totally automate the detection of paid links but that's another thread all together.

I sincerly doubt Google could start penalising PR links from industry authorities without destroying one of the metrics they use to rank websites and also changing the natural growth of the web.

Just stay ontopic and make sure where you buy your links from is staying ontopic as well.

[edited by: Bennie at 2:55 am (utc) on Oct. 4, 2006]

4:41 am on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Google can totally automate the detection of paid links but that's another thread all together.

No they cannot, as they cannot verify money has changed hands. In that regard they don't have a clue that the two links leaving my homepage to two other websites are paid, or that I simply really like those sites.

The whole use a noindex nofollow link for links that are paid is ridiculous IMHO.

5:07 am on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Money or no money is beside the point.

CainIV, I do believe Google have the right to do as they please. And they ARE.

If you read a little deeper into my post you will see that Google cannot devalue certain blocks due to relevancy. This is where you want your links (well that and some virgin grounds... No point playing SEO follow the leader like so many do : )

If Google comes across a block on some network with links to irrelevant sites there are so many ways to 'sniff' from there it's not funny. They are not penalising you, simply dumping the rank. No biggie, your just dumping $$$ for no reason (yer, yer I buy links for traffic too).

CainIV: Set yourself a large budget, go have a play and report your findings back to WebmasterWorld. Pick two evenly matched domains (same age, different but similar links and the same page no and topic), on one buy all your links from blocks and content on domains pushing mixed and unrelated topics. On the other stay ontopic and make sure the page your buying from stays ontopic.

Then you might see what is devalued and what's not.

[edited by: Bennie at 5:08 am (utc) on Oct. 4, 2006]

5:50 am on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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That would work great if I had a budget to work with simply designed to test the theories of a post in WebmasterWorld:)

I never disagreed that Google cannot sniff out large scale network linking.

I noted that Google cannot sniff out whether or not the two (or 3, or4) links leaving my homepage are paid or unpaid.

CainIV, I do believe Google have the right to do as they please. And they ARE.

Maybe but this doesn't change my view that Cutts asking webmasters to use the noindex, nofollow is ridiculous. If the 'relevance factor' will filter out websites that link to unrelated websites in Google, then why tell anyone to add the tag, as Google will filter that out and pass no weight anyway.

Smells a bit fishy to me.

[edited by: CainIV at 5:53 am (utc) on Oct. 4, 2006]

6:20 am on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Nigel: "You see, most blokes will be playing at 10. You’re on 10, all the way up, all the way up...Where can you go from there? Nowhere. What we do, is if we need that extra push over the cliff...Eleven. One louder."

DiBergi: "Why don’t you just make 10 louder and make 10 be the top number, and make that a little louder?"

Nigel (after taking a moment to let this sink in): "These go to 11."

6:25 am on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Reseller: My formerly favorite family member, cavegramps, had a saying: "If you're at a party and one person comes over to tell you you're drunk, smile and keep enjoying yourself. If a second person comes over and tells you the same thing, smile again, and keep enjoying yourself. But if a third person comes over and tells you you're drunk ... have a glass of water, go back to the cave, and sleep it off." That advice has proved invalueable over the years ... though I confess at times I've ignored it, to my detriment. ;-)


Anyone with eyes can draw a general correlation between TOOLBAR PAGE RANK and site prominence as defined solely by backlinks. That's nice, isn't it? We can all see the TBPR of CNN or CNET or Wikipedia and be assured that PR is alive and well.

And it is. PageRank is alive and well. Feel better?

Oh, wait. I forget to mention one or two things.

One important one is that TBPR is sorta like a ghost of what might have once been there 3 or 4 or more months ago. (New sites can get out of the so-called sandbox before TBPR is updated from one update to the next. A lot can happen in 3 or 4 or more months, all around the Web.)

Another thing is: If we assume that TBPR is reflective of current true PR (a provably false assumption), actual/current PR only appears to be important if a lot of other factors are also in place. And even if a lot of other factors are in place, straight, basic PR has only modest importance.

There was a time that if a link was pointed to your site from a high TBPR page, then you were in great shape. Didn't even much matter if the topic of the linking site was relavant to your site, or the link text said anything meaningful, etc.

But then it did start to matter what the link text said. Then it started to matter if the linking site was relavant to yours, if their onpage factors were relavant, if they were on the same "C" block, if they reciprocated links, if the linking site shared too many backlinks with your site, and a wide array of other factors.

So, understand that TBPR is like a mirage of a site; that the real PR may be quite different now; that we're not even sure if the visible TBPR get's distorted to keep us off balance (I'm not certain, but others think so ... I just don't think they worry about it being that accurate); and most importantly and most honestly: Based on the many sites we have, and help, and our SEM activities to date, I would far, far rather get a solid one way inbound link from a high ranking competitive TBPR 2 page, than a reciprocal link from a TBPR5 page, or a one way link from a TBPR 5 page that is only vaguely related to my site and DOES NOT RANK for the terms that my site seeks to rank for.


And as for the naive assumption or belief that buying links doesn't work (assuming it's done effectively), well, that is just flat out wrong and always has been. Don't confuse what G would like to see happening, with easily observable reality (or worse, insist that observable reality is not true.) That just wastes everyone's time, eh?

Rock on Reseller. And have a glorious day. ;-)

8:24 am on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I don't want to get mixed up in the yes-no discussion that seems to be going on over here, but I'll try to give my answer about Reseller's original question:

Does Google Reward Backlinks Buyers & Sellers?

In terms of PR: Maybe
In terms of rankings: Maybe

I'll try to explain my point of view:
A couple of months ago, I started out a test on this topic. I bought a PR6 link for a PR0 page on a PR1 domain. After the last PR update, the page where I bought the link from still is a PR6.

- Did my PR go up? Yes. The single page went up to a PR5, while the homepage remained a PR1, a couple of other internal pages went from a PR0 to a PR1. I ended up with a PR1 domain, with PR1 internal pages and a single PR5 page.

- Did my rankings go up? No. For the main search terms of the page, it does not show up in the top 1000.

My conclusion (I know it's only a single point of view and the test could have been much better, but I'll try to give one anyway):
If the TBPR still is close to the actual PR at the time you buy the link, you could get rewarded in terms of PR. (that's why I said 'Maybe')
In terms of rankings (and that's where 99% of us make our money), PR is (I guess that's what the most are trying to tell Reseller) absolutely not related to it. If that was the case, my PR5 page should be ranking in (at least) the top 100. If I had bought dozens of high PR links, my page could end up ranking in the top 100 (that's why I said 'Maybe'), but I didn't want to run a test for 1000s of dollars.

So unless you are making money by selling PR links, I would invest my money in my website in stead of buying links for PR. I know that might sound a bit like a white hat sissy boy, but that's my $0.02.

12:08 pm on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Isn't all black and white here.

Face it, Google can tell some backlinks are paid because they are not subtle in the least. And Google cannot tell some backlinks are paid because they are relevant to the content and other links on the page. That's it. No secret really.

These 2 statements of Ecaterina and Murdoch say it all.

And there is not necessarily a "boosting" or "rewarding":
To just not value a link is not penalizing, and just counting one link among others is not necessarily a boosting rewarding.

Apparently G has set up an algorithm to detect backlink buying schemes -- just for the large scale ones I guess, and yet unsure about their coverage. Surely not 80%. Perhaps 40%? 30%? Or even less?

So what? Just fly below the radar and all will be fine -- until they get a better radar.

Kind regards,
R.

And here is one for the FAQ:
Q: "How does G know if I *buy* a back link?"
A: "They send their crawlers to major banks to check all accounts listed in the banks' sitemaps for suspicious payment transfers once a week. And depending on your 'Payment Rate' (aka. 'PR') you get penalized or not."

12:57 pm on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Apparently G has set up an algorithm to detect backlink buying schemes -- just for the large scale ones I guess, and yet unsure about their coverage. Surely not 80%. Perhaps 40%? 30%? Or even less

I just wish to hear from any fellow member that he/she is aware of a PR10 site or a PR9 site that has been subjected to Google's "lose their trust in search engines" argument.

And of any site that has been subjected to any kind of "devaluation" because of purchased backlinks from a PR10 site or a PR9 site.

Thanks a bunch in advance.

2:06 pm on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Reseller,
I am a big proponent of testing and measuring. Simply put, the snapshot (which we all agree is 90 days old) that is reflected in TBPR is an exported, ROUNDED number from Google's internal Page Rank score[Matt Cutts says "It’s more accurate to think of it as a floating-point number. Certainly our internal PageRank computations have many more degrees of resolution than the 0-10 values shown in the toolbar."] any effects that were made by purchasing links, organically acquired links, content changes, keyword changes or any other change of any kind can not be measured outside of the Googleplex. Mind you, those elements only represent things you control. You have no way of knowing whether or not the positive or negative changes in TBPR were effected by any one or group of on or off site elements. Google tweaks scoring algos every day, sometimes more drastically than we would all like, but it is in fact the reality. My advice is this, yes Matt Cutts is a good guy, yes he has dissiminated a lot of good techniques to adhere to Google Guidelines, but in one of his posts somewhere he referenced that his material was proofed by either legal or qc or some other department, (it was a while ago) but nonetheless, Google has an agenda, they want us all to play nice by their rules, like Vegas, are skewed to favor the house, and you can't take everything Matt Cutts says as in your best interest. He works for Google.
2:11 pm on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm sorry to say that I've read all 9 pages of this thread and still have no idea what the issue is. Can purchased text links increase your TBPR? Of course they can. It's not as easy as it was a few years ago, you can't just go out and buy a strong link to a weak site and presto. But you can certainly buy links to your site that will help increase your TBPR. Who cares? Unless you are selling links, TBPR means almost nothing.

If links have value in terms of TBPR and rankings, then some paid links will have value in terms of TBPR and rankings. You can't have one without the other. And it's the ranking part that matters.

2:55 pm on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I just wish to hear

<mini-rant>
I have to say, this kind of request still makes my eyes roll back into my head, though at least it no longer amazes me.

We've been doing what we're doing since 1997. By 2000 we had over 100 sites. We pay close attention to over 20 categories. We've had the advantage of watching how the major updates and minor tweaks of the SE algos affect our rankings. We experiement like crazy, with 10+ site that sit out there on the edge of things, bobbing up and down in the SERP's, providing information all the time about where the lines are...information that is increasingly hard to come by.

Reseller, you want that kind of information? My advice is: Pay more attention to the actual SERP's.
</mini-rant>

Here's what I can share (most of well known to those who were paying attention): Just about a year ago, G's ability to devalue backlinks was becoming increasingly well known and public. We had been buying text links already for years at that point, as we continue to do now; not primarily for PR, but for traffic. And that tended to lead us to the sorts of sites associated with higher PR. The purchase of those links in preceeding years had certainly given us a boost in the rankings. But well before one year ago, we started noticing declining rankings for a cluster of sites that as it turned out had reallly only one thing in common. They were all supported by aggressive link buying.

At first we thought it was just an algo change. The more we looked, the more it seemed to be the link buying. So, we took a well established site with lots of backlinks and went out and did a nice, sharp, conservative link buy from a PR9 site. This was a particular kind of site that had drawn the attention of the SE's but we did not know that for sure yet.

Anyway, that was the last time we did THAT. ;-) Even my sharpest algo person thought we'd been penalized. Nah, it was just that that site, and others like it, were too reliant on bought links from high profile partners. What felt like a penalty for a while was simply the effect of a substantial amount of our total link juice being devalued. Live and learn. Hehe.

Also worth noting, around a year ago, a site that we sold links from lost its ability to pass PR. That was a bad day at the cave. By then we'd already more or less developed new philosophies about linking strategies. That was the day we started implementing them. Since then, it's all been good.

Want proof? Do what we do: Start paying attention to the actual SERP's, and stop believing every little bit of spin and lobbying that you hear. That way, you won't have to guess, or goad people into sharing the details of their hard earned knowledge. Also: Learn to see the many shades of gray between black and white. ;-)

4:22 pm on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Caveman

You are the greatest :-)
Thanks for your spirit of sharing, always!

Want proof? Do what we do: Start paying attention to the actual SERP's, and stop believing every little bit of spin and lobbying that you hear. That way, you won't have to guess, or goad people into sharing the details of their hard earned knowledge. Also: Learn to see the many shades of gray between black and white. ;-)

I will take this opportunity to clearify few points.

First off, I wouldn't consider my first post in this thread as indication that I'm believing spin. However, it seems that some of the folk just forgot to read it. Allow me to bring it back for a while:


Hi Folks

Last December Matt Cutts, Head of Google WebSpam Team, wrote a post which impressed me indeed:

Tell me about your backlinks

Here is part of what Matt Cutts wrote at that post:

My favorite overall moment was when a totally legit company (micromatic.com) stood up and asked for advice. Overall, their site was great: good architecture and very crawlable. They had lots of really good backlinks, including industry-specific links. But I could also tell that they’d been buying some backlinks. And they were buying backlinks from the exact same place as one of the earlier sites! At the point when in a minute of typing, I can say: you guys are both trying to buy backlinks, and I can tell that you’re buying them from the same network, and here’s an example page from ketv.com where both of you are even on the same page, and it’s not doing you any good at all: that just made my day. Having a concrete demonstration is so much better than just making a claim, especially when one of the sites says beforehand that they’re not doing as well as they used to be. I told micromatic.com that they had a great site, so they should stop trying to buy backlinks and spend more money to reward their inhouse SEO who had done a great job on the crawlability and architecture of the site.

When you read that post you might get the same impression that I got; Google knows and penalize buyers and maybe also sellers of Backlinks. Not so, unfortunately.

However, it just happened that I know of a site (not mine) which purchased backlinks during the first 4 months or so of 2006. I know from which sites the backlinks were purchased. And I know approximately how much was paid for most of the purchased BLs. No rel=nofollow was applied, of course.

Then the current indications of PR update arrived. And I checked the PR of the site which purchased the said BLs.
WOW... boost in PR from PR4 to PR7!

And I checked the PR of the sites which sold the BLs.
WOW.. they retained their high PR!

Am I the only one who have noticed Google rewarding sellers and buyers of BLs?

Have you noticed the same?

Your feedback would be highly appreciated.

Honestly Caveman and Folks. Do you find any believing in spin at the above post?

Then there has been some remarks that I/we should listen to the SEO specialists and their preaching about Buying backlinks, PageRank effect/no effect etc..

Sorry for not doing so. Reason?

SEO Specialists don't agree among themselves about anything. Good for them :-)

And as to listening to our kind fellow member Matt Cutts. I do that while keeping in mind that in addition to being a nice kind person, Matt is a Google employee too and sometimes he has to say what he is supposed to say.

Wish you all a great evening and God Bless.

4:59 pm on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Ok - made it to the end of this thread.

What was the unanswered question again?

Oh yea - reseller - did you actually check if the paid links actually affected the serp position of the non competitor site that bought the links?

I'm just curious, because if they didn't change the sites position in the serps - what was the purpose of the purchase?

If you just want more greenline TBPR to look at - here's a thought.

You can buy a green marker pen, for substantially less than the price you are paying for your links now.

Then you can make your site a PR15+ on your monitor. Won't help your ranking in the serps........ but you'd have a HUGE green line to look at......

5:27 pm on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Honestly Caveman and Folks. Do you find any believing in spin at the above post?

Yes.

Reason? You seem complelely "WOW"ed by something that those who have been reading posts on the topic and paying attention to the SERP's have known with relative certainty for, ummm, OVER A YEAR. ;-)

Resller I don't mean to pick on you so hopefully you won't take it that way.

This stuff is not news for those who've been paying attention, looking at SERP's, and reading about the topic. People have been buying and selling text links for ages now. Some pretty big players are making good livings just brokering such activity. What has changed over the last year or two, as a result of market experience and observation and information-sharing on the boards, is the way it's done. And that too has been pretty widely discussed over the last 12-24 months.

I'd also like to call attention to sugarrae's excellent post on link building [webmasterworld.com], by including a snippet that seems relavant to your questions, here:

Old:
Buy links on any site with pagerank hoping the engines will see the links and think wow, your site must be great to be linked from such a popular site. Even better if you can get a range of site in the bottom footer and get 5000 links for the price of one. Just find a big network with a stable of link sellers and buy from their handy dandy list.

New:
Buy links to get the resulting traffic and having that link placed somewhere on the page where visitors will actually see it and pretending search engines don’t exist when debating a purchase. And if you’re going to buy a link, make private deals with site owners or use brokers who do the same with a very limited clientele of purchasers.

Example:
If you wouldn’t purchase a link if it had a link condom on, then you have no business purchasing the link without one. Buy traffic, not green pixels on the Google toolbar. You will need to sustain a link for a long period of time to get maximum effect and you can’t do that if you’re not getting any ROI from your purchase. Enough said.

8:30 pm on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Caveman

There must be something wrong with my latest purchase of Cappuccino, since you haven't got my points yet :-)

Shall do another honest attempt. Lets walk this together point by point:

- Forget for a moment the serps

- Forget for a moment anything to do with ranking on the serps

- Forget for a moment anything to do with SEO and SEM

Lets focus now ONLY on the following points:

- TBPR shows at some point the internal PageRanks at Googleplex, converted to 0-10 scale.

- High PR sites selling backlinks

- Low PR sites (say PR4, PR5) buying backlinks from above to boost their own PR.

- Matt Cutts claims: "Google’s stance on selling links is pretty clear and we’re pretty accurate at spotting them, both algorithmically and manually. Sites that sell links can lose their trust in search engines."

NOW......

- a site of PR4 purchase backlinks from high PR sites.

- PR update take place

- the said site start showing PR7

- the sellers sites retain their PR

Which leads us to the following conclusion:

- The high PR sites has passed PR (trust) to the low PR site

- I.e neither the high PR sites nor the low PR site have been subjected to " lose their trust in search engines" as Matt claimed.

- I.e Google has rewarded the backlinks sell/buy operation

- I.e Google is unable to police/mandate its own Guidelines.

Are you still with me, Caveman ;-)

9:03 pm on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>>>Are you still with me, Caveman

I'm not sure how the question posed to you could be made much clearer, yet you have dodged it every time...

HOW DO THE BUYING SITES RANK COMPARED TO HOW THEY RANKED BEFORE?

TBPR does not matter. It does not matter if TBPR is 4 or 8 - TBPR is not a "benefit" it is a PICTURE MADE OF PIXELS ON A GREEN BAR THAT BRINGS NO FINANCIAL BENEFIT SOLELY ON ITS OWN UNLESS YOU SELL LINKS TO SEO'S WHO HAVE NO CLUE AND BUY LINKS SOLELY BASED ON PAGERANK. No one is debating whether the sites retained or gained green pixels in the pretty little bar on your screen. What is being debated is why you think it *matters*.

You have been asked twenty times in this thread and have never answered, so I REPEAT:

HOW DO THE BUYING SITES RANK COMPARED TO HOW THEY RANKED BEFORE?

9:16 pm on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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sugarrae

HOW DO THE BUYING SITES RANK COMPARED TO HOW THEY RANKED BEFORE?

What has the process of passing PR (due to sell/buy backlinks) from one site to another with ranking to do?

- Forget for a moment the serps

- Forget for a moment anything to do with ranking on the serps

- Forget for a moment anything to do with SEO and SEM

Otherwise you would get tired of keep typing those big fonts of yours :-)

9:39 pm on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Where's martinibuster when ya' need him? ;-)

Hey reseller. I do believe that you are a unique breed of button pusher. ;)

Anyway, forgive me, I'm a little slow on the uptake sometimes. In this case, I understand you. I'm not with you, but I understand you. My comments FWIW:

NOW......
- a site of PR4 purchase backlinks from high PR sites.
- PR update take place.

I think you mean, a TBPR update, which is a snapshot of an on-going process .... a snapshot taken at least several months earlier.

- the said site start showing PR7
- the sellers sites retain their PR

Again, I think you mean TBPR, which is not the same as PR. Whenever I see someone freely exchange those two acronyms I worry that they are not fully with the program.

Which leads us to the following conclusion:
- The high PR sites has passed PR (trust) to the low PR site.

Couple things. First, please do not mingle notions of trust and PR. They are almost entirely unrelated. They are related insofar as they both involve inbound links.

PR is only about links. If a big PR page links to you, it increases the PR of your page. You don't know if TBPR reflects actual PR, so you cannot know what's really happening, though I agree you can make educated, directional guesses about a page's PR.

Trust is about a lot of things. Quality one way inbound links from relavant sites is one, but there's a whole lot more to it than that.

So, let's say that in all likelihood, yes, the bigger PR page has just passed PR to the lower PR page.

... conclusion:
- I.e neither the high PR sites nor the low PR site have been subjected to " lose their trust in search engines" as Matt claimed.

Well, again, this has nothing to do with trust. But, it sounds like in this case the high PR page passed PR to the lower PR page. The lower PR page received higher PR as a result.

Now, keep in mind that this, if true, is pretty much business as usual for the experienced link buyer. Got that reseller? NO NEWS HERE. You keep trying to make it news by contrasting this to what MC has at times said. But those who've been buying and selling links, and those who've been paying attention, know what's really up. They know that certain kinds of link buys can be wasted or even (IMO) trip filters. And they know that many, many link buys are effective.

Side note: I believe that over time, link buying will get harder and harder. tedster said earlier in this thread: "But for several years now, they have had a mechanism that allows them to stop PR transfer in any particular case that they do identify. I've sometimes been amazed at the situations where they have applied this - would never have guessed it myself."

IMO G will continue to get more sophisticated on this front, because they want to.

... conclusion:
- I.e Google has rewarded the backlinks sell/buy operation.

Ah, well. This is complicated. If you mean that operations brokering the buying and selling of TLA's are doing OK, then that is true. But without speaking for them, I think they would tell you that the smartest link buyers now pay far, far more attention to site and page relavance than they do to TBPR. And that's because the smart link buyers know that the game is no longer about PR. It is about getting relavant links from relevant sites, and structuring those links to stay "under the rader" of the SE's.

Of course there are the less well informed that still pay attention to TBPR and think it means a lot. But those are the types that make me, martinibuster, sugarrae and a host of others shake our heads. We hate to see site owners throw away good money. ;-)

... conclusion:
- I.e Google is unable to police/mandate its own Guidelines.

By Jove Reseller, I Think You've Got It!

Or at least part of it.

Someone the other day asked me what G's single most potent weapon is, in the war against spam. My personal opinion: Matt Cutts. And I mean that in the most complimentary of ways. :P

9:59 pm on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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lol there's a reason I used a "Santa" analogy in that first post.

Reseller, as it seems you are unable to live in the reality of "grey" and everything must be viewed as black and white,

Here are your choices.

A.) MC lied to everyone about bought links passing PR, being against Google guidelines, blah blah.

or

B.) MC is woefully un-informed and should never be listened to.

Note - this seems the only way to explain the "phenomena" in your eyes, no?

(Personally, I would choose the latter but I've been saying that for sometime anyways. :P)

Now, my suggestion is to come out of SEO childhood. Stop believing that Santa MC is all-knowing of who's naughty and nice and rewards them appropriately. Just like "real life" the world doesn't crumble when the belief in Santa Claus goes away. One is still able to enjoy the "illusion" of giving not-so anonymously while knowing the reality.

Caveman did an excellent job of describing the world of grey.
Why are you soooo insistant on calling out Matt.
My goodness, he's on the WEBSPAM Team, not the chief architect of the algo. Heck, not even the engineers know for sure how the algo will help, hurt, recongnize, not recognize, every variable they want.

Why do you think there are several DCs with varying results?!?

Engineer Team A wants to reward/punish this type of site, link, behavior.

Engineer Team B wants to reward/punish another.

Google has the questionable philosophy of running this changes "live" to see what the general affect is and whether to keep it, toss it, or tweak it a bit.

Why do you think you have thread after thread about "I dropped from #3 to #400 and now am back after algo tweak"?!?
What exactly do you think is happening?!

--------------
Other illusions that one (aka every webmaster) might want to re-examine:

* Yes, G's PHD engineers are smart. They are able to do things that are nearly inconcievable in the IT world.
They are not all-knowing gods of all things related to internets, computers, and techno-geekiness. Let it go. A PHD is given to anyone who goes to school long enough and has the creativity of a 5 year old to come up with a different doctorate.

Google did not buy up every smart thinking individual in the world.
And they certainly do not prevent any half-witted Joe webmaster from examining the SERPS and the ranking websites thoroughly and noticing what "works" and what doesn't and employing those techniques for their sites, no matter how much G may officially endorse or dislike the techniques.

* As soon as you "tweak" a title tag, an anchor text, a meta tag, send out an article with backlink for syndication, get a directory listing, or whatever, you have officially entered "grey-hat" area. This SEO-propaganda surrounding white, grey, black hats in sooo 3rd grade, believing-in-Santa, when's-the-tooth-fairy-bringing-me-money thinking.

Want to be a "true" white hat, go build a site like YouTube or Myspaces that doesn't rank for crap and doesn't have to. Or build a company like Apple and Dell and rank for the term "computers" with unoptimized flash animation and graphics.

If you want to change the term "white hat" to "obediently applies Google's (Yahoo's or MSN's) current guidelines, which may change according to the whims of the next update", then fine.

Otherwise, you are "grey hat" aka "webmaster who has various of degrees of risk-reward behavior in order for their sites to rank for various terms"

[edited by: whitenight at 10:11 pm (utc) on Oct. 4, 2006]

10:11 pm on Oct 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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whitenight

I think you and Caveman have a script that generates long posts :-)

On the other hand sugarrae has a script that generates big fonts :-)

Thanks a bunch to all my kind WebmasterWorld fellow members for their todays contributions to this great informative thread.

God bless WebmasterWorld community!

Good night!

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