Buying text link's to websites

Discussion in 'SEO, PPC and Online Marketing' started by frank, Apr 14, 2007.

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  1. DuaneJackson

    DuaneJackson Contributor

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    The gits! Carrying on like that anyone would think they're a commerical organisation with shareholders to answer to!
    Posted: Apr 21, 2007 By: DuaneJackson Member since: Jul 14, 2005
  2. directmarketingadvice

    directmarketingadvice Contributor

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    Doesn't google have that right too?

    It's their websites and they're the ones that have earned the traffic they bring to those websites (,, .fr etc).

    So, what they do with that traffic is surely their choice.

    It's a public listed company, owned by shareholders and, like any other public listed company, the job of the directors is to run the company in a way that will make money for its shareholders.

    And they don't owe a damn thing to webmasters who are dependent on free traffic from their sites.

    Nor is it their job to help the SEO industry by allowing them to manipulate rankings.

    So, as a user of google, I'd be happy to see them "level the playing field" (to use RayB's words) as it would improve my search experience.

    Or, to put it another way, the reason I do almost all my searches on google rather than yahoo is that google presents me with far more relevant and meritorious results.

    But, if they lose that advantage, my brand loyalty will be zero and I'll be off using whichever SE can offer me better results.

    Posted: Apr 21, 2007 By: directmarketingadvice Member since: Aug 2, 2005
  3. JustOneUK

    JustOneUK Contributor

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    can't take an SEO seriously if they have to run their site from a blog.

    Google wouldn't know it was a paid link, they may just like you ;)

    (just my 2p)
    Posted: Apr 21, 2007 By: JustOneUK Member since: Nov 19, 2005
  4. directmarketingadvice

    directmarketingadvice Contributor

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    Duane got that point in ahead of me.

    Curse my slow typing!

    (and the fact the cat wanted fed mid-post)

    Posted: Apr 21, 2007 By: directmarketingadvice Member since: Aug 2, 2005
  5. JustOneUK

    JustOneUK Contributor

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    care to explain how you think that will occur? :)

    for fear of posting the same line twice...Um,
    how do you think that occurs? :D
    Posted: Apr 21, 2007 By: JustOneUK Member since: Nov 19, 2005
  6. RayB

    RayB Contributor

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    But google are saying it's ok to buy links for traffic - as long as there is no editorial vote attached to skew PR - by using a "nofollow".

    There is no PR vote with adwords.

    To use you analogy - sure its fine to but an ad in the Times - but buying a link for PR as opposed to relevant traffic is like paying a graffiti artist to paint your ad on Buckingham Palace - paid for - but wrong!
    Posted: Apr 21, 2007 By: RayB Member since: Nov 12, 2006
  7. JustOneUK

    JustOneUK Contributor

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    OK, then lets use both of the raised issues using Steve's post as an exapmle.

    He uses Google because it returns more relevent results, the reason why (which he is still figuring out) is because links (and the text that is in them) IS THE MAIN PART of Google's algorithym. The results come based on the links pointing to a webiste, so if as you say, the links get discounted using the no-follow tag... where do you see it heading? back to keyword stuffing? back to only what is on the page? or design?... do you not think there are a lot of webmasters that can outstrip you on page design/content and layout?
    Posted: Apr 21, 2007 By: JustOneUK Member since: Nov 19, 2005
  8. directmarketingadvice

    directmarketingadvice Contributor

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    I believe Google will continue to refine their algorithm so they are more effective at:

    (1) understanding when on-page content is "natural" (written for the visitor) rather than "artificial" (written for bots).

    (2) evaluating the "honesty" and "relevance" of in-bound links.

    Posted: Apr 21, 2007 By: directmarketingadvice Member since: Aug 2, 2005
  9. JustOneUK

    JustOneUK Contributor

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    As mentioned, they have shareholders now. They need to refine the algorithm so that THEIR ADS show the relevent results... not the search results. They need the clicks now.

    They cannot possibly be improving search results if they start disallowing links and anchor text to count as a vote for a website and it's content.
    The reason your website would rank well for the term "greater profits" would be from the links you have pointing to your site, you want them all discounted now?

    You can buy an ad from me and I will gladly put the NO-Follow tag on it if you want. :)
    Posted: Apr 21, 2007 By: JustOneUK Member since: Nov 19, 2005
  10. directmarketingadvice

    directmarketingadvice Contributor

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    I don't see where I or anyone else is saying they want google to ignore the value of all links.

    I like the "link vote" idea - I think it was genius.

    If I were to go to the Cal Tech website and was reading a paper on electromagnetism and there were "further reading" links at the end of the paper, I think the sites listed should get a boost from that.

    However, the reason why I think they should get a vote is that Cal Tech has an international reputation for excellence and integrity and the links from their site are (or at least I believe) genuine votes based on the merit of the sites they link to.

    However, that's not what we're talking about on this thread. We're talking about paid links.

    I happen to believe that paid links are not a vote for a website. They're sold to the willing bidder and are therefore a vote for the cash they receive for putting up the link.

    That's why I'd like google to ignore them in their algo.

    And, if they did, I don't see why it would, in any way, lower my google search experience.

    Let me ask you a question:

    Do you believe that use of "nofollow" in blogging software (for guestbooks/comments) has lowered the quality and relevance of Google's search engine results?

    Posted: Apr 21, 2007 By: directmarketingadvice Member since: Aug 2, 2005
  11. JustOneUK

    JustOneUK Contributor

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    I don't search for viagra online, so I can't answer that question.

    With regards to Cal Tech, and the "further reading"...
    If you found out those sites had actually paid for those links, in order to support the hosting/bandwidth costs of Cal Tech, would it make a difference and make you hate those sites? should they be penalised?
    Maybe Cal tech would close without their support.

    With blogging/forum sigs etc, I think that the web is so saturated with links that nothing will make a difference in either dirtying or cleaning search results apart from an algo change from the search engine owner, it really depends what you are searching for.
    I couldn't care less whether they allow those links or not.
    The reason they were disallowed is someone hacked an automated method to get 100,000's of links in 5 minutes. The same with MySpace.

    Submitting to PAID links is bloody hard to hack :D and actually provides the most relevent results.

    You wouln't pay for a link that had absolutely nothing to do with what your site does would you?
    Posted: Apr 21, 2007 By: JustOneUK Member since: Nov 19, 2005
  12. An Oasis

    An Oasis Contributor

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    From my point of view things have got out of kilter G has become too big.

    G is only successful because we allow it to be. Imagine if everyone banned the G bot from their websites, what would happen? G as it now would be out of business, their SERP's would not exist and they would then become a 2 bit ad selling machine.

    So it is a two way process we bend over and occasionally get shafted but in the main play the game, because if we play the game we get rewarded. Now we are being told what to do, the game is shifting, if you give in at this point, then what happens next?
    Posted: Apr 21, 2007 By: An Oasis Member since: Oct 3, 2006
  13. directmarketingadvice

    directmarketingadvice Contributor

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    Ok, I'll try another question:

    Do you think that someone visiting 100 blogs and posting:

    "Like the blog,


    Means that these blogs are "voting" for

    And should those guestbook comments raise in the google rankings?

    As a google user, my own answer to both questions would be "no".

    Firstly, I never talked about "hating" sites. That seems a strange thing to hate.

    If a link is there because someone paid for it and it wouldn't have been there if money didn't change hands, then I don't regard that as being an honest vote for the linked-to site.

    I regard it as a vote for the money the linker wanted.

    It's a bit like parliament: if an MP voted for a motion that helped a big business and it turned out that he'd received money from that company, would you trust the integrity of his vote?

    Would you believe him if he said he would have voted that way anyway but asked for money from the company as a "thank you", for his vote?

    (or, instead of an MP, how about a jurer who votes "not guilty" after receiving money from the defendent?)

    I think most people would think the whole thing stinks.

    I don't think the site that receives the link should be penalised. I just think the SEO value of the link should be set to zero.

    i.e. it's not a vote, so it shouldn't count.

    However, I don't see any reason why a paid link can't exist (like an ad). Or why sites should be punished for sending traffic to each other with reciprocal links.

    I just wouldn't give it any SEO value.

    I agree.

    While it's good that google has given some power to these "community" type sites, really significant action would have to come from google changing the way they evaluate links.

    This is where we differ in opinion.

    IMO, a paid link is not in any way a sign that the recipient site has anything worthwhile to offer its visitors.

    And I'd go a lot further than just bought links.

    I'd also look at things like forum signatures which are just indications of someone's willingness to post in a forum and don't mean the poster's site is worth serving up in the SERPS.

    I think there's a lot of stuff that google currently accepts and rewards which contradicts the original point of using links to rank sites.

    (that point being "one page recommending another")

    And, while I don't expect google to ever get to 100% link purity in their algo, I think there's probably a number of changes they would make to clean things up and make the results more organic.

    Posted: Apr 21, 2007 By: directmarketingadvice Member since: Aug 2, 2005
  14. darren atkinson

    darren atkinson Contributor

    821 175
    Hi all,

    Thought I'd wade into this discussion, albeit a little bit late on.

    1. Google results pages are currently regarded as the best, SEO's currently try to game the results, obviously to some degree of success or they would all be out of business, therefore my opinion is that gaming the results and SEO actually aids Google's results.

    2. Let's say I am an eTailer with a new website which I want to market. I spend thousands of pounds on TV and magazine ad's, in an attempt to get some brand exposure. Gradually some bloggers / website owners see my ad's visit my site and like it enough to decide to provide a link to it.

    If enough of them do this my site gets pushed up the Google results and I get more and more SE traffic.

    In reality, all I have done in a cash and time expensive way is to buy some links.

    I realise the argument here would be that the people providing the links are not paid directly so therefore the link / vote is perhaps worth more and should be counted as more by Google. But the fact remains that if I hadn't spent the money on advertising then these link providers would never have found my site and therefore would not link to me.

    3. This point is really a follow up of point 2. If Google removed the value of paid links in a search ranking scenario then how would they ever rank sites?

    I could write an article today and pay for it to be put up on another website, how would google know that I had done this? The simple answer is that they never would.

    If they move from links to some other determining factor to rank websites then I'm really at a loss to think what it could be. Purely page and site content does not work and has been proved so.

    People talk about how Google will measure visitor interactions with sites to see how long they stay on a site and rank by this factor, however how would this work for a new site? If nobody could find a site initially then Google could never manage to track interaction.

    My opinion is that Google cannot move away from links to rank sites, and any type of link can be bought either directly or indirectly. I'm certain some sites will lose their ability to pass on link value if they are know sellers, but if this process was scaled up by Google, then it would affect results pages far too much which is too big a risk for them.

    My thoughts on the matter.


    Posted: Apr 22, 2007 By: darren atkinson Member since: Sep 21, 2005
  15. directmarketingadvice

    directmarketingadvice Contributor

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    You make a lot of good points that give a explanation of the problem that google faces: telling a "genuine link" from one that is "financially motivated".

    This is true, but certain sites - government sites, academic sites, BBC etc i.e. "trusted authority sites" - are far more difficult to buy or bribe links from.

    And, if I was in charge of google, I'd be increasing the value of links from "known and trusted" sites while significantly downgrading links from less trusted or more easily manipulated sources.

    It wouldn't be a perfect solution: plenty of artificial links would slip under the radar and other links would be unfairly downgraded/ignored.

    However, IMO, it would improve the search engine results.

    Posted: Apr 22, 2007 By: directmarketingadvice Member since: Aug 2, 2005
  16. JustOneUK

    JustOneUK Contributor

    3,568 268
    Blog links are free and therefore not part of the discussion/problem.

    I have no interest in blog spamming, I don't care if it is added to the Gogole results or not as people only spam crap stuff on blogs (which I happen to never search for)
    Blog spam is currently unrestricted apart from a few that have started to use the no-follow tag to alleviate their own spam problems.

    I run a seperate directory that costs £1 to list your business. I get 200 spam submissions per day which don't get listed as they don't pay.
    You cannot escape the payment mechanism. If I remove it, all 200 spams would get added.

    Payment stops spam, which (as Darren also said) keeps the search engines clean by raising the NON-SPAM stuff to the top.

    Should I run my websites for FREE?
    I will tell the wife there is no mortgage money this month :)
    Posted: Apr 23, 2007 By: JustOneUK Member since: Nov 19, 2005
  17. directmarketingadvice

    directmarketingadvice Contributor

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    I don't agree.

    Firstly, as I see it, how google deals with paid links is part of google's overall approach to linking.

    As Darren pointed out, it's often difficult for google to know when a link is paid for.

    And, because identifying paid links without a lot of manual intervention is so difficult, I've been putting forward the suggestion that, instead of trying to split links between "paid" and "non-paid", they could split links between "trusted" and "non-trusted".

    Secondly, I used the example of blog spam because it is clearly of no value and clearly doesn't represent a "vote" by the linking site.

    As I said before, I'm not suggesting that people should be punished for buying or selling links.

    I simply think the SEO value of those links should be set to 0.

    If you still want to sell links and people still want to buy them, that's fine in my book.

    Again, your websites are your own and you're free to do whatever you want with them.

    However, if the only reason you're making money from them is because you're effectively selling links that are exploiting a loophole in the google algo, then you shouldn't be surprised if that loophole closes and your business model no longer works.

    Again, I differ here.

    I regard "SEO motivated" paid links AS spam.

    As far back as 2005, Matt Cutts of Google wrote:


    Which suggests that Google feel the same way and are looking at ways to stop/undermine the effect paid links have on google rankings.

    Posted: Apr 23, 2007 By: directmarketingadvice Member since: Aug 2, 2005
  18. darren atkinson

    darren atkinson Contributor

    821 175
    Hi all,

    Steve, I understand your point and in Google's ideal world nobody would buy or sell links. Unfortunately for Google people do, and as I think we all agree on, there are certain paid links which are hard if not impossible to detect.

    If Google did come up with some way of stopping the SEO value of every paid link on the Internet, then as a website owner, apart from traditional marketing methods, how would I attract visitors to my site?

    The only things I can think of are:
    - PPC (Im sure Google would love this)
    - Writing and submitting articles
    - Send tons of emails out to bloggers or site reviewers begging for a link
    - Link exchange (already devalued, and really you are still paying, just not with money)

    I genuinely think that this scenario would hurt Google more than help it as sites would not get many if any links to them, and it could lead to a relatively small handful of sites dominating the search results which would never be good for the results pages.

    It goes back to the earlier discussion of Google using other factors to rank sites, of which I am at a loss to guess. (Google do have many smarter people than me working for them so you never know...)

    My thoughts anyway.


    Posted: Apr 23, 2007 By: darren atkinson Member since: Sep 21, 2005
  19. DuaneJackson

    DuaneJackson Contributor

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    By having quality content that people want to link to without being enticed to do so fincnaically? That was the whole premise of PageRank and it'd still be a very valid one if there were no paid for links and no linkspam.
    Posted: Apr 23, 2007 By: DuaneJackson Member since: Jul 14, 2005
  20. mattk

    mattk Contributor

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    Let's be honest. Google have a vested interest in discrediting the whole concept of search engine optimisation. Web site owners have two main options for exposure of search engines, SEO, for natural exposure or AdWords for sponsored. Google want Web site owners to feel that seo will be wasted money, so that they pick the AdWords option. My opinion is that organic ranking is for the long term and AdWords are strictly short-term, but some sites I know spend £££ every month on indefinite AdWords campaigns, when a small investment in seo would have paid for itself many times over compared to their monthly AdWords budget.
    Posted: Apr 23, 2007 By: mattk Member since: Dec 5, 2005
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