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It's also getting old to receive messages that say I should increase the amount of google adsense units on my site while at the same time being told I cannot use my own good judgment and sell a link to a relevant site instead.
I'm liking Yahoo's algo more and more recently as a result. I'm just not buying the "put rel-nofollow on all paid links" approach because I don't trust google to be 100% right on deciding if a link is paid or not.
Again, it's your choice. You're free to make your own linking decisions, and Google is free to make its own linking decisions.
Yep, including proprietary uses of proprietary attributes, the repurposing of those attributes, and the enlistment of an army of unpaid snitches all working together to protect the Google advertising behemoth.
Why cant we sell links, its just another form of advertising.
You can. And there are many who will continue to do it and not fall prey to whatever Google is up to.
Will google really ban a site or filter if one sell links.
I think filter is the key word here. Although I would tend to believe that if the abuse is on a "grand scale" then something more than a filter comes into play. ;)
I would think that if you are "selling links" you would want to do it "under the cuff" and stay out of the "heat zones". When I say "heat zones" I mean those areas that are "common place" in the link buying/selling arena. Primary "heat zones" would include areas like "Sponsored Links" or "Sponsored Listings" or "Advertisers" or...
I would think those "heat zones" fall in the "bad neighborhood" classification when discussing links. Similar to the "banner zones".
Link inventories? lol, you can be assured that most, if not all of the publicly advertised ones have been infiltrated and identified. Heck, if you don't think Google can easily identify those links, there might be some potential issues in your link campaign. ;)
Remember, we're talking about The Gorg here. Everything in their path is assimilated. Why do you think Google is under constant attack from governments to obtain information? Because they have more than the government? If that is the case, that would lead me to believe that detecting the buying and selling of links for manipulation would be a task relegated to one of the Junior Programmers. ;)
I'm losing some respect for Google on this links issue, if they didn't want a market to pop up for a commodity they've created then they shouldn't have made links valuable with their algorythm to begin with.
You might as well say that you've lost respect for search engines because their very existence leads to a market for blackhat SEOs.
Google's PageRank formula existed before Google was a company: It was the core of Larry Page's and Sergey Brin's academic thesis. Should they have skipped grad school to keep a market from popping up for a commodity they'd created?
It is the rules of the game in an imperfect internet.
If you argue the link is worth less... then maybe you are not selling the link for the right reason?
Look at the top 3 results (Not Adwords, just organic) - 7/10 of the results are the the link sellers themselves. Are they banned? No
It sure doesn't "look that way" does it? ;)
Remember, there most likely aren't any "bans" going on. I think we can surmise that "filtration" occurs. Now, how targeted is that filtration and how do you determine whether that link is passing value? I say look at your stats and if there referrers coming from that link, it is most like passing some form of value. :)
What better way to keep an eye on the most publicised link brokers? Keep them in the top results, track the visitor behavior, see who does what, yada, yada, yada. Its one big automated snitching mechanism. ;)
Not if you use the "nofollow" attribute.
The Wiki is a prime example of that. Remember Wikis' rise to the top of the SERPs? They secured those top positions shortly after implementing the nofollow attribute. I mean, within weeks they jumped from 8, 9 and 10 to 1 and 2 like overnight. Is that what happens when a "massive" nofollow campaign is initiated?
They took all that outbound PR and just put a complete "cap on it". In turn, it caused their rankings to skyrocket to the top. Or at least that is what I perceived to happen. ;)
well if you link out you also pass PR, its that simple
Not if Google doesn't want you to. And say what you will but they can do whatever they feel like with their own algo. No use whining about it.
If you have a bunch of land and you sell fireworks on that land you can pretty much tell anyone you want that they can't sell fireworks on your land. We should feel grateful that they just filter out the PR and don't de-index the guilty site completely.
And for those out there that don't think that the algorithm can distinguish exactly between a paid link and a normal link, you're probably right. But you can sure bet that sites with certain patterns are flagged and then hand audited.
EVIDENCE OF PENALTIES SELLING LINKS:
Back a couple of years ago I used to sell links from my sites, and I did get a penalty. It was not a PR penalty, but instead no external links coming from my site/s would pass on Pagerank to any other domain.
I quickly stopped, but I am not sure if the damage is undone.
I have seen the same happen to other sites that I used to purchase links from.
All my sites were banned too, but at that stage it was just casino affiliate sites. So too many variables to say if the links got the site penalized, or merely brought it to G's attention.
However, I don't sell or pass PR so the only purpose of purchasing a link on my site is to get the cost effective traffic, not for SEO and I won't bend that rule for anyone.
Excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging ("Link to me and I'll link to you.")
This one kind of ruffles my feathers because link exchanging is what created the hubs of links that Google used to determine authority sites in the first place.
IMO this is a first step in an anti-competitive move and directories will probably be the first casualties in the war on links. Why? Because for directories to work, people need to know they exist. To help promote an industry directory the members tend to link to them which will result in excessive link exchanging and the directory is penalized.
Say for instance all SE's were offline tomorrow and all we're left with is directories, like we were back in 1996, it's only those links that will let us navigate the web and find anything.
Funny how Google is now trying to tell us to shed our heritage of how the web was built just so that the search engines are the only way people can navigate the web.
[edited by: incrediBILL at 11:15 pm (utc) on Aug. 29, 2007]
Doesn't mean you have to do it but you're still answering your own question.
Play the Google game or don't - it's your choice. They are saying yes you can sell links but you have to add nofollow tags. If you don't do that they will penalise. They're very clear about it, no ambiguity.
The answer to the original question is still the same - you can sell links no problem
I have sold links on over a thousand sites with no problem, I have created thousands of sites and linked to other sites from them. I have never had a site banned from google.
I have never had a problem - and you guys really have to get over the fact that google does not know what you are doing, there is no big brother.
There are clearly rules, because every other weekly post is about these issues - the harsh reality will always be that the people aware of this will always do better than the guy that doesnt know what to do.
I break the rules, but everyone complains about the rules - and then some. So am I really breaking the rules, or am I just utilising an opportunity?
Google is not god, don't think that technology is important - sell links on your site for the value of the buyer, just don't be an idiot and say "it is buying pagerank" on your site as then a human may report you and then you get banned.
I forgot to say that using common sense is an important way of keeping things fine - avoid mentioning benefits for rankings in google and pagerank etc.
Shall we start a new thread which is "are we allowed to sell links and not tag them nofollow" in which the answer will be very clearly no.
(Not according to me of course, according to Google and their rules. As I said earlier it's one of the things they do actually say very specifically. Matt Cutts says very clearly sell links thats fine but add the right tag)
there is no big brother
OK, then why did Google become an ICANN-accredited registrar of domain names?
Maybe it has something to do with their domain park program and maybe it has something to do with having access to the registrar database so they can see exactly who owns what and can easily see if you're buying domains and cross linking them all together.
Don't delude yourself as Big Brother DOES exist, to what extent is the question.
Now can we return to our regularly scheduled topic? :-)
Many people around here simply don't understand that without OUR SITES, Google could not exist, so I think it is not only the height of hypocrisy, but also bordering on restraint of trade, to tell us how to set up our links. If I want to sell links on my site, I should be able to do them in any way which works for me. I may want the links to open in new browser windows, or I may want the links to be bold and I may want to put them in strange page positions.
When will Google come along and tell us how links should be displayed, where, when, in what colors, etc.?
The answer to that is simple. WHEN WEBMASTERS ALLOW THEM TO DO SO WITHOUT COMPLAINT. And snitching on others is seriously bad manners by the way. Why would a webamster snitch on another webmaster to a multi-billion $$ nanny? It makes no sense, unless you want to have that feelow webmaster harmed for some reason.
GOOGLE NEEDS OUR WEBSITES IN ORDER TO EXIST. And there's certainly no shortage of advertising on those pages upon which our sites come up in the search results, is there? There's a point at which Google cannot condescend to the VERY PEOPLE UPON WHOM THEIR VERY EXISTENCE DEPENDS, and they are rapidly approaching that point.
Google charges premium rates for advertising on the SERPs, and by contrast, a piddling amount on the content network (our sites). They actually have reversed the formula to enrich themselves. Essentially, people are paying a premium to advertise on what could easily be called a link farm (the SERPs), while at the same time Goog has arbitrarily lowered the perceived standards for our sites by creating an artificially low advertising rate card.
I have adsense on my site and I don't see why I shouldn't be getting premium rates for advertising alongside my relevant content. I sell ads on my sites and the more I sell the more I find that intelligent, unafraid webmasters could give a hoot about Google's rules.
Google's made billions while serving us scraps and then threatening us if we try to improve our lot. I say to he! with them. PageRank is so horibly manipulated and the internet polluted as an unintended consequence of Google's actions, that it doesn't matter any more. Build your own traffic and let Google figure it out for themselves.
Power to the people and all that...
They are not demanding that you do not sell "links", they are demanding that you do not sell anchor text/pagerank.
The debate should really be, who "owns" the anchor text/pagerank of a person's site to be able to sell it?
GOOGLE NEEDS OUR WEBSITES IN ORDER TO EXIST.
No, it needs websites, it probably doesn't need yours, or mine, or half the people's who have posted in this thread. It could even exist without webmasterworld website listings, that is how unimportant each of us is to Google.
Google is far more important to each of us individually than we are individually to Google. Unless you can get at least 30%-40% of the world's webmasters to go on strike over any issue I don't think you'll put a dent in Google.
You should be mad at MSN and Yahoo for not giving them decent enough competition. Google would need us then because a good chunk of their revenue and referrals come from webmasters and a mass exodus would be the only thing to make Google change their stand about anything.
so I said to myself, what are the other 20%, mostly blog type and other FFA style sites.
so, I pay very careful attention to them ( and a few other sites ) so that when the Google axe comes, I can confirm it.
Now, I also spent a bit of my own time looking at top 10 sites in a specific group. sure enough, a lot of those people have over 50% paid links.
Now all I have to do is build a book of clients in these groups. get them to rank from 8 to 13, then bang, rat those others out with well document information.
anyway, point is that anyone can get paid links of good quality to manipulate the Serp's. it's up to the white hat's to clean them out.
Oh and to reply to " why would you rat another site out " simple. It's possible to run an ethical SEO business, and the higher I can get my clients ranking, the more business I can get from them, the more referrals I can get from them, and the more food I can place on my table.