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Do you report paid links?

   
11:21 pm on Nov 14, 2010 (gmt 0)



Seo isn't really my everyday task.
But today I did some research and found out 5 or more of my competitors ranking on place 1-10 are placed in this position because they're using paid links or #1 has over 500 press releases.
It's that simple to trick google. This makes me sad and angry and for a real short moment I thought about to report those paid links.
But that's not my way of doing business..
What's your opinion about this? Thanks.
3:16 am on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Depending on the situation 500 news releases maybe OK. Certainly some large companies have that many.

Google will find the paid links all by themselves...
5:26 am on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



But that's not my way of doing business..


I gotta ask; what would your boss want you to do? Report them? Or not report them?

And if you ARE the boss of your business, then what would your wife / or children want you to do?

I am just asking because if my wife knew there was a perfectly moral way to help boost our business, and she knew that I WASN'T doing it, she would be (rightfully) very upset with me.

Also, I think google would want you to report the paid links as well so as to help them improve their algorithms.
6:19 am on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



However, there does seem to be an embedded assumption here that a press release is a paid link, or in other threads, that a directory with an editorial fee is a paid link. Neither of those is inherently what Google calls a paid link, although there may be some outlying situations.

So, if you do report, I'd say be sure you are reporting a truly abusive and manipulative situation. And then don't expect to see immediate, manual action. Google rarely takes that kind of action - they prefer to go after patterns and then make algorithmic changes in grand sweeps.
10:04 am on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Press releases and directories are not pid lnks but that is not the point.

If someone is doing better than you then be grateful you have noticed what they are doing, do what they are doing better and put some more effort into your own site.
10:11 am on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Snitching is now a major part of SEO thanks to Google's preference to penalise people rather than ignore bad SEO.

Imagine the old days of burning witches and accusing people of witchcraft. It's something like that.
10:57 am on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)



First, let me thank you for the replies.

Depending on the situation 500 news releases maybe OK. Certainly some large companies have that many.
Google will find the paid links all by themselves...
Those news releases are making 95% of all backlinks and are the sole reason for gaining a No. 1 place on several keywords. It isn't a large company. I doubt google will find all paid links, but if they find them they will be replaced by other sites moving up doing this bad endless game.

And if you ARE the boss of your business, then what would your wife / or children want you to do?
Also, I think google would want you to report the paid links as well so as to help them improve their algorithms.
Luckily I only have to feed a dog and a cat and I'm my own boss ;)
If google isn't getting their algos right after so many years I really doubt reporting those sites will do any better.
For me it's an ethical question to not report those sites because it makes me to a traitor if I do so.

However, there does seem to be an embedded assumption here that a press release is a paid link
It wasn't really clear what I wrote Ted, I meant either using paid links or writing a lot of press releases (unpaid) is the trick of gaining good rankings.

be grateful you have noticed what they are doing, do what they are doing better
Sadly this seems to be the best solution but I don't want to take the risk burning my site.
2:59 pm on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bwnbwn is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



Those news releases are making 95% of all backlinks and are the sole reason for gaining a No. 1 place on several keywords.
I assume you know what your looking for to make this statement as I highly doubt this is the sole reason. More like another piece of wood to the fire adds heat. Press releases will not push a site to the 1'st position by themselves and there is more to the sites ranking than just that. I suggest you dig deeper and explore a few SEO tools to help see the other factors.
3:10 pm on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



No.
3:40 pm on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



For me it's an ethical question to not report those sites because it makes me to a traitor if I do so.


To whom does it make you a traitor?

To your competition? To the webmaster community?

What about the everyday users of search engines out there?

Search engines are designed (primarily) for people who are somewhat internet literate, and most likely don't know much about SEO.

By NOT reporting, you are letting those everyday folk out there get served up results that may or may not be the best resource. You are letting the common folk get played.

If there are better pages listed below sites that are in first - which got that way through paid links - then isn't there a moral obligation to the everyday user to report paid links, so they will be served better results?

Think about this: Isn't webmasterworld.com a great benefit to the community with pactical real-world help?

Would you rather it lost rank in the search engines to thin affiliate sites where most of the content is re-hashed / scraped or misleading, and most of their ranking is derived from press releases and paid links?
3:52 pm on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



By NOT reporting, you are letting those everyday folk out there get served up results that may or may not be the best resource. You are letting the common folk get played.


Please put the Goolaid cup down after you done drinking it.

Google has a reported army of 10K people who's sole job is to go through the serps and find spam. They pay them to do this.

If you like working for a large company that has more money than God for free, then by all means report away.

If however, you have better things to do than to try and remove your competitors by reporting them as spam then you're better off doing things to outrank your competitors uhh I mean spam.
4:51 pm on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)



I see nothing wrong with reporting competitors to Google if they are spamming, it is much better then joining them by buying a bunch of paid links like they have...
6:40 pm on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I see nothing wrong with reporting competitors to Google if they are spamming, it is much better then joining them by buying a bunch of paid links like they have...


One persons view of spam, might just not be the same as anothers and in many cases of reported so called spam it usually really means "Search Positions Above Mine".

Not saying there isn't spam out there because there certainly is, but a lot of what people think is spam is not.
9:46 pm on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



@mrguy

If you like working for a large company that has more money than God for free, then by all means report away.


With all due respect, "like" ain't got nothing to do with it.

My post was addressing the "moral reasons" he felt for not reporting the spam i.e., he felt like a "traitor."

I certainly don't feel anyone has a moral obligation to report spam to google (or any other search engine).

But I find it curious that someone would have a moral obligation AGAINST reporting spam to google.
10:07 pm on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I'd rather spend my time working on my own site.
10:10 pm on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



It is an interesting choice of words. I don't know how Ramses meant his "traitor" comment, but I do know that many webmasters have an image that it's us-against-them, so somehow or other all webmasters are playing for the same team, or something like that.

This isn't my view. I think that kind of polarization goes against clear analysis and decision making. But I also don't see a lot of value in reporting others either, for many reasons. One of the big reasons is that the definitions of webspam methods are often Google's definitions, and not something universally acknowledged.

In those cases, if Google creates a guideline, then I feel it is their job to police it. My time is better used in proactive development and marketing.

Instead of us-aginast-them, I see the entire field of webmasters and search engines as a "competitive-cooperative game" - and there's been a lot of academic study on how those work you can easily research.

There are a few cases where I do take the time to report spam - when it's for malware distribution purposes, or inappropriate for children even though it targets query terms they would use. I also might report webspam that clearly uses parasite hosting - that's another area where the activity is illegal.
10:27 pm on Nov 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



@tedster

but I do know that many webmasters have an image that it's us-against-them (emphasis mine), so somehow or other all webmasters are playing for the same team, or something like that.


By "them" you are implying the webmasters feel (rightly or wrongly) it is the webmasters in general versus google, right?

If that is the case, have you seen a rise in this attitude following major updates to the algorithms?

I know I CERTAINLY HAD an us-against-google attitude after the MayDay update. I have gone so far as to register a couple of keyword rich domain names and have looked into automating spam links.

I haven't crossed that line yet of actually putting content on them and getting links to them, but who knows what tomorrow brings?

But I know that if I WERE to do that, and I got good rankings for a while, and then got caught and dropped out of the SERPs, I certainly wouldn't feel I had been betrayed by other web masters.

"If you play the game, don't cry when the game plays you."

- A Baltimorism
12:54 am on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



There are a few cases where I do take the time to report spam - when it's for malware distribution purposes, or inappropriate for children even though it targets query terms they would use. I also might report webspam that clearly uses parasite hosting - that's another area where the activity is illegal.


I actually have taken the time to report malware and they did nothing about it so I don't even bother anymore.
1:17 am on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)



Mrguy same here. There are still sites showing up in google today that unreported five months ago that are on the warning list of most antivirus sites yet google serves them up.

Paid links don't bother me. Google seems to deal with these now. What does bother me is the keyword domain spam where one store has ten sites selling the same stuff. They've all been bumped up not down in this update cycle.
1:24 am on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Paid links don't bother me. Google seems to deal with these now. What does bother me is the keyword domain spam where one store has ten sites selling the same stuff. They've all been bumped up not down in this update cycle.

I just worry about the sites that are keyword rich and actually great sites all about those keywords getting caught up in the net. Lately, Google just seems to launch stuff and then worry about the overall effects of it later which of course by then it's to late for the poor souls who got hammered by the changes.
5:18 am on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



I just worry about the sites that are keyword rich and actually great sites all about those keywords getting caught up in the net.


Agreed. If a web site sells porcelain widgets wholesale, then why should it be punished for having a domain name like wholesaleporcelainwidgets.com and having backlinks with anchor text that is primarily made up of those three keywords?
12:06 pm on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Paid links should not be reported to Google.

After all it's their whole business model. They get paid to put you at the top (Adwords) and they pay you to publish links on your site (Adsense) for those who pay Google Adwords.

If, because links paid on other sites reduces their income, it's not for snitches to report it but it's up to Google alone to improve their business model.
2:44 pm on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bwnbwn is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



Funny at PubCon in the paid link class I asked many of those in the class if they bought links and most did, well everyone I asked did. Then I asked them if they reported paid links to Google------suprise suprise I got the same answer for both questions------so I can assume the ones running to report are the same ones paying for links. I wonder if Google has made the connection.

If you can spot a paid link du don't ya think Google has it figured out by now. Grow up work on your business and quit being a 10 year old.
6:52 pm on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



Grow up work on your business and quit being a 10 year old.


I just don't get why anyone would have such a negative attitude toward someone who reported a clearly paid-for link to the google spam team.

It might not be the best use of one's time to report paid links, but there is certainly nothing morally wrong with it.
7:11 pm on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bwnbwn is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



Not a negative attitude at all just my opinion of what a waste of time. My post indicated the ones that bought links were the ones that reported them so if you can determine a site is buying links is there a connection?

I have way more to do with my time than go running around trying to do Google's job. Never bought a link ever sites are all doing great and I am in some very tough areas. Not just one but many. I don't waste my time worry about a site that just pops into the search I know from years of experience it is a short lived cycle.
8:24 pm on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



there is certainly nothing morally wrong with it


Snitching is always morally wrong.
Read up a bit on world history and you'll soon find that that's how autocratic powers are kept in power.
8:32 pm on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



exactly my thoughts @bwnbwn - time is most scarce resource we have as publishers - it's better to spend it on creating lasting value rather and doing free work for billion $ company.
8:49 pm on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lame_wolf is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Snitching is always morally wrong.

News to me.
8:56 pm on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bwnbwn is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



Defination of a snitch "To turn informer: He snitched on his comrades" The world is full of them some of the most oppressive Govts use them. Just not my cup of tea be it right or wrong.
9:43 pm on Nov 16, 2010 (gmt 0)



Wow.
So if xyz Corp jumps ahead of my companies site putting 40 of us out of work by buying links on site that have no relation to the business we should do nothing? If it's an unrelated paid link I'll report it. This is business, not entertainment.

Google can still be manipulated to the detriment of others. Building better content won't overcome a few high rated virgin paid links. The only moral responsibility I have is to our shareholders.

Regarding keyword domains, that isn't the problem. The problem is many are thinly veiled duplicate sites that google will rank over other legitimate sites not violating the WMGL. I hope they don't pull the plug and take out innocent owners that picked good names years ago
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