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I wouldn't be surprised at all to read something like the following paragraphs within Google Webmaster Guidelines [google.com] before September 2007!
- All paid links should include the rel=nofollow attribute.
Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and link-based analysis has greatly improved the quality of web search. Paid links muddies the quality of link-based reputation and makes it harder for many search engines (not just Google) to return relevant results.
How To Report Paid Links Spam
- Sign in to Google's webmaster console and use the authenticated paid links spam report form. If you use the authenticated form, you'll need to sign in with a Google Account, but your report will carry more weight.
- Use the unauthenticated spam report form and make sure to include the word "paidlink" (all one word) in the text area of the spam report.
As far as the details, it can be pretty short. Something like Example.com is selling links; here's a page on example.com that demonstrates that or www.shadyseo.com is buying links. You can see the paid links on www.example.com/path/page.html is all you need to mention.
[edited by: reseller at 9:41 pm (utc) on April 19, 2007]
A profile that indicates a site is substantially NOT engaged in passing PR to external sites could be a disadvantage? The notion goes beyond simply ridiculous.
THINK about it. Google cares about who you cast a vote for and why, NOT who you DON'T cast a vote for and why.
I don't think they've ever said (correct me if I'm wrong) that they ignore links that have the nofollow attribute. They simply consider them to be links that do not cast a vote. Nofollow is not the same as noindex. Nofollow is simply a way to link to an external source without necessarily vouching for it. And if part of your daily routine is linking to a lot of external resources it makes sense enough to use.
Why would I buy a link from a site with a no follow aka no vote for you site?
Do you think yahoo will put a no follow tags on their directory because google said so?
If you buy links you can manipulate google serps, they want you to help?
Will they help me rank higher when I ask them?
Agreed. Why would the search engines penalize a site for using the nofollow links when it's them that are recommending using them? The idea that this is some way to out the black hat practioners by getting them to fall for the nofollow trap is ridiculous. Makes no sense to me either.
Food for thought: G may be playing with antitrust fire here, folks - if it can be shown that they are squeezing out the competition in a related 'sponsored' space with this sort of activity: strongly encouraging webmasters to engage in behavior (adding rel="nofollow" on paid links) that would cause webmasters to lose an important alternative source of revenue (since link networks frown on such behavior, and imply that one won't get many customers that way), thus making a significant portion of the webmaster universe even more dependent on AdSense for revenues, and possibly destroying some smaller companies. Sound familiar?
I realize there is some wiggle room for G here, but I assert that G needs to be very very careful how it 'deals' with a 'discovered' or reported paid link on a web site in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
Yes, G has every right to do whatever it wants with its systems - just as Microsoft has every right to do as it pleases - but I notice a big difference in the reaction to M$ vs. G's behavior of late. Put another way: If M$ was doing anything of this sort, it would result in massive techie outcry: "MONOPOLISTIC! ANTICOMPETITIVE! BILL G IS EVIL!" etc.
Is G crossing a line here? Why is this kind of behavior OK for G but not for M$?
Does G have a clearly spelled-out, official policy regarding what it will do when it finds what it suspects or knows to be unmarked paid links on a site? That might go a long way towards removing the FUD factor and allowing the webmaster to make a straightforward business decision as to whether to accept paid links, whether or not they are marked with nofollow.
U.S. v. Google Inc.
Exhibit A: Matt Cutt's Blog
Exhibit B: Google Webmaster Guidelines (as predicted by reseller)
Until Google actually adds this to their webmaster guidelines they are taking the chicken sh*t route of using an employee's personal blog to promulgate fear and stifle completion in online advertising. But doing it through Matt's blog gives them some protection against the antitrust regulators. Do no evil, eh?
I do agree that those buying links have been able to manipulate the serps and can sort of understand why G wants it to end.
But is this one more nail in the small ecommerce site where only the large well known bricks and morter companies i.e. Walmarts / Bestbuy of this world will shortly be at the top of the serps for any and everything as they have natural links occuring all the time from news etc. etc.
Over the last couple of years we have seen pages devalued if too many affiliate links which had been another way for the small internet entreupener to compete with large bricks and morter on semi equal footing
The cost of cpc has increased steadily which again hurts the small online retailer as he does not have the same stock holding and buying power
Can this be considered one more nail in the coffin for the small guy
As I said in the beginning I can understand why G is doing this but wonder will this make any chance for new companies making an impact via the internet that much harder
It still is, and it violates the guidelines by artificially manipulating to fool the search engines.
BTW, where did Matt say anything about using nofollow for anything other than blog (forum) posts and paid links? As far as I know he hasn't suggested using it in any other way.
Any idea when or where he said to use it other than those two ways?
Since Big Daddy, the only thing consistent in the Google Algo is that if you buy quality links, your site will rank in the top, even if your site is poor quality (less than 20 pages with stale content).
I reviewed the topic about reporting paid links. But is Google really going to be proactive. If they are, we should see a great deal of shake-ups.
[edited by: tedster at 12:43 am (utc) on April 20, 2007]
Can this be considered one more nail in the coffin for the small guy
Only for the small guy who tries to manipulate Google's search rankings.
The noise level in this thread is getting way out of hand, so let's review the facts:
- Google doesn't like paid links that are designed to manipulate search rankings. Nothing new about that. Nothing wrong about that, either.
- The "nofollow" attribute was created to prevent "linkspam" in blogs, Wikis, forums, and other anyone-can-post venues. Matt Cutts has suggested that it might also be useful as a way to handle paid links that exist to drive traffic and not to manipulate PageRank. (He and his coleagues have suggested other methods as well; take your pick.)
- Neither Matt Cutts nor Google has suggested using "nofollow" for normal, everyday editorial or reciprocal links. There has been NO suggestion that plain-vanilla linking per se is a bad or dangerous thing. (Why on earth would it be? Google depends on links for crawling and PageRank.)
- No one HAS to use "nofollow" (or its alternatives) for paid links; any Webmaster who wants to give Google the finger and doesn't care about favors from Google can sell plain-vanilla text links by the bucketload.