Google: Hypocrite, pimp, or clueless?


Tired of Making Chump Change Online?

Unless you’ve been smoking rocks or hiding under one, you’re probably well aware of Google’s current Netwide manhunt for sites that buy links to get a SERP advantage.   Here’s one of the more famous blowouts: izea’s program paid bloggers to blog about sponsors and linking to them without the no follow rel tag.  Result: Google struck back by reducing the participating blogs’ PR to 0.

Indeed, Matt Cutts has blogged and spoken quite a few times on the evil of selling backlinks.  We thought this was the Google official policy.  At least until we saw this Adsense ad when checking our stats in an online SERP checker tool:

Click the Thumbnail to view the large image

The problem with this is there’s no vetting whether the links being sold are merely submissions–which should be fine since the sites submitted to can still VOLUNTARILY post the link or deny it.  They are not getting paid either way.  You are paying for the submission service.  The problem is when people GUARANTEE a certain number of links.  Then the smell of either collusion or worse, being placed on a site’s own internal network, becomes overpowering.  We support submission services due to the voluntary placement explanation above.

What we don’t understand is why Google would take adwords ad placements for GUARANTEED links or ads that imply GUARANTEES such as the ad above without at least thinking of the implications regarding its avowed anti-linkselling policy.

What do you think?


  1. mark@Commercial Coffee Makers says:

    I would be completely devastated to be penalized to a PR 0, especially when I have worked so hard to build back links to my website. If Google is hoping to scare people and make an example out of companies, then it seems like it is working…

  2. Anthony@Everything Car Boot says:

    I have never engaged in link buying, though I still don’t understand how Google can detect and penalise those who do.

    In some cases it is rather obvious, i.e. John Chow didn’t nofollow his ads links and was duly brought down, but if I pay $20 for a home page text link from a related site, how do they REALLY know?


  3. John@PHP Web Hosting says:

    What a great blog post. It does seem a little absurd and unfair. Most people involved in the “internet industry” like you and I will be aware that google frowns upon links farms and paid links in general (what do they think adwords are???).

    The problem with the ad you’ve shown above is that it really misleads internet newbies, or website owners who innocently want to get more visitors to their sites. They are not closely involved in the industry, so they don’t know that its a potential red flag. They see a google ad, and being google it must be good so they buy it, and then get penalized by google!!

    I know that the ads are not google ads, rather people advertising through google, but it can easily seem to a non tech person that these are either google ads, or at the very least endorsed by google…

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