joined:May 26, 2017
Google's greatest strength is their algos, Google's greatest weakness is their algos.
Right. The problem is how much Google infers a website's "authority" from backlinks.
I am getting requests for paid articles "with a do-follow link to our client's website" almost daily, usually from some guy with an eastern-European surname and an office in London, and I've always turned them down.
At the same time, Google's move to include paid links directly in the SERP, above organic results, has made to manipulate users' behaviors pretty easy, as long as you can pay for it.
It's way too easy today, for those who have deep pockets, to buy a gazillion of backlinks and/or to pay Google in order to overcome any really authoritative website in Google's SERP.
Is this an SEO problem? Of course, it is.
I have never considered using Adwords an SEO technique, it's just advertising IMHO. Yet, using Adwords and/or paying (directly or indirectly) for backlinks with a view to manipulating the SERP are "tricks" many "SEO professionals" are using and misusing these days. And they seem to work, unfortunately.