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How would Google respond to a site giving badges to other sites

     
2:45 pm on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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A certain site is giving out certificates to a lot of businesses. These mom+pop business are very excited because they think it is a "special" award and are very anxious to put these 'awards' online. Even though their competition are getting the same 'awards'. It's a fraudulent attempt to get these website to link to <high profile site> and pass their pagejuice to them.

Will google fall for this type of trick?
.

[edited by: goodroi at 2:49 pm (utc) on May 23, 2013]
<edit reason> Please no specifics or outing of sites </edit>

Mod's note: Further edit...

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 6:02 pm (utc) on May 23, 2013]
[edit reason] removed additional specifics [/edit]

3:15 pm on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Not likely, though they may get a temporary boost.
4:15 pm on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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That's a tactic from the '90s. I think Google and other SEs might have caught on to it by now. Ineffectual at best.
4:29 pm on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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What next..on page site visitor counters ?..
4:49 pm on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I wouldn't be so sure that it's ineffective. I've seen this kind of trick a few times and seems it wasn't hurting the sites issuing those awards. Some even link each badge to a different URL, like a special page for each site that is "awarded". Plus there is the collateral that people may start talking about it and the site gets even more links.
7:06 pm on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Some even link each badge to a different URL, like a special page for each site that is "awarded".

Sounds in a way like profile pages you see on many types of user-generated content sites. I'd assume there would need to be a social component on the site, as well as checks and balances (you'd want to rate the raters), to make sure this isn't misused by profile builders. (Such systems can be abused in both directions.)

Any online ratings/rewards system can start getting quite complex... but to the degree that it reflects human behavior accurately and helps a site's users, Google might see it as valid.

Hard to say, though, how much weight they'd give to the badge links... These are not what I'd call "freely given editorial links", which is what Google is really looking for. The harder I think about it, the more of a stretch it is for me to think that a badge link back to the mother site conveys any real meaning for Google, unless it generates meaningful traffic.

I'm thinking the badge might be more like a logo on a t-shirt... where, if enough people wear them, that's a kind of signal in itself that can reinforce a brand... but the brand needs to be known enough in the first place for such an arrangement to be viable.
2:00 am on May 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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A certain site is giving out certificates to a lot of businesses.


I have seen similar tactics but instead of giving certificates, some companies give badges saying that if you put these badges on your website, you may get the products of that company. Of course I don't know if they really are sending out those products.

This makes me wonder. Isn't that another form of link buying? But could Google detect those links are paid?
2:06 am on May 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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But could Google detect those links are paid?

How about covert participation in any program they see making an impact?
6:47 am on May 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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How about covert participation in any program they see making an impact?


From what I see in the SERP, I think those links aren't really helping them aside from improving their toolbar PR.

However, I was expecting something more like a penalty, because that looks like a clear attempt to buy links, and this kind of scheme should create an unnatural link pattern.
11:39 am on May 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Well, unnatural backlinks do not always result in a Google penalty. Tt depends on the site's overall profile.
 

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