Google’s fatwa against paid links and business reality


Tired of Making Chump Change Online?

We’ve reported before on the confusing mixed messages Google is sending out regarding paid links.  Their Webspam department headed by their own representative to the SEO/SEM/blogging community,  Matt Cutts has repeatedly issued pronouncements against the evil (there’s that word again) practice of link selling.  He even has a post about how to report paid links.

However, any cursory look at any given day at the main page of an extremely popular webmaster/affiliate marketing forum routinely shows adsense ads for link sellers.  Okay, keep in mind the difference between people that submit your site to get free one way backlinks and actual brokers of links.  What is the difference?  Submitters just submit your link and there’s no guarantee that the directory sites, blog owners, or third party sites will accept your link.  Actual brokers of links outright sell PAGERANK for cash.  There’s even trading platform for blog owners selling links to advertisers.  Google has swung it’s PAGERANK PENALTY HAMMER more than once.  The most dramatic being its PR beatdown of bloggers for Izea/Payperpost.  But apparently, its okay if similar link sellers advertise on Adwords?

Truly a WTF moment.  Specially if you consider the fact that Google uses the same pay to link type of shenanigans when trying to compete in Japan.  Just shows you how inconvenient business reality can sometimes get, right? Right…  Are we still in “Don’t be evil” territory?

Definitely a confusing situation.  Be careful of public networks that outright list your site with links to sell and your url appears in a database.  It’s not that hard to join such networks and spider a database.

If you can, don’t sell links on your own sites at all.  But if you can’t avoid it, definitely study the situation more closely.  The stakes are quite high in this game… and getting higher.


  1. Mark @ Website Traffic Magnet says:

    Very nice article.

    Its scary to think of all the webmasters out there who sign up for a service thinking they will get “fast traffic” or a better search engine placement when in actual fact, because of the techniques uses, they are harming their online presence.

    I personally don’t see a problem with selling links on your site to help monetize it, but if it harms your placement in Google… then you better think twice before doing so.

    There is definitely a difference between straight out spamming with links and taking care to make the users experience better.

  2. Todd@How to watch nhl live online says:

    Not just buying / selling links, Matt Cutts also wrote about guestbook spamming and other ‘created’ links. Blog comments are probably still safe because bloggers are ‘moderating’ the comments and not allowed spammers to get advantage.

    I think google is trying HARD to detect those paid links, also google promptly gave a PR penalty (yes you heard that right) to google Japan after that incident.

  3. Tony Lee @ Wedding and Bridal Supplies says:

    As unpredictable as Google can be, I think buying links and page rank can be downright lethal.

    Brokers and link submission companies leave you little “control” over where your links go. Never used’em, never will…

    Sure, paid traffic may get some you some awesome visitor activity, but in the long run, it’s best to attain pure organic traffic.

    In my experience, the natural traffic is much more effective and although takes more work, pays off better in the long term.

    When Matt speaks, heed his advice and take copious notes! He doesn’t make the big bucks for nothing…

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