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  1. #1
    Technical Director at StuckOn JakeCop's Avatar
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    Google Webmaster Tools - Report Paid Links

    https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/paidlinks?hl=en

    This was added today, spells bad news for many!

    Quote Originally Posted by Google
    We work hard to return the most relevant results for every search we conduct. To that end, we encourage site managers to make their content straightforward and easily understood by users and search engines alike. Unfortunately, not all websites have users' best interests at heart. Some site owners attempt to "buy PageRank™" in the form of paid links to their sites. Buying links to improve PageRank violates our quality guidelines.

    Google uses a number of methods to detect paid links, including algorithmic techniques. We also welcome information from our users. If you know of a site that buys or sells links, please tell us by filling out the fields below. We'll investigate your submissions, and we'll use your data to improve our algorithmic detection of paid links.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Addict Athorn4941's Avatar
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    Would paid directories count as paid links?

  3. #3
    Technical Director at StuckOn JakeCop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athorn4941 View Post
    Would paid directories count as paid links?
    Doubt it, I think they just want sites that sell links based on their PR, directories are business models set up on the principle of paying for links, they hardly need reporting to Google.

  4. #4
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athorn4941 View Post
    Would paid directories count as paid links?
    Don't quote me on this but I think Google said they were ok. It's the selling of links for PR that is the real issue and the directory model isn't abusing that.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Guru rockit's Avatar
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    I think paid directories should be fine considering the Yahoo Directory (paid directory) has always been an area that many SEM's have recommended for getting your site indexed.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Member
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    Directories are a big concern, because apart from listing you have featured listings as well. I hope as everyone here suggests Google ignores directories. Moreover, am sure there will be a unofficial agreement among all competitors with regard to reporting links

  7. #7
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adarshry View Post
    Moreover, am sure there will be a unofficial agreement among all competitors with regard to reporting links
    That's probably an overly optimistic point of view. I know I'll report paid links if my competitor is selling them.

  8. #8
    Technical Director at StuckOn JakeCop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stymiee View Post
    That's probably an overly optimistic point of view. I know I'll report paid links if my competitor is selling them.
    As I imagine many SEOs will do, it's just part of getting one up on the competition. I further expect people who buy and sell paid links to throw stones at others, anticipating they'll get reported as well.

    Kind of a strike first strategy.

  9. #9
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    Bad conduct

    Taking about google's concerns regarding their clients conduct, we should rethink our attitudes regarding googles conduct itself (which is kind of a client to us, as users). Take a look at this pdf report, concenring the privacy ranking of the major Internet services by Privacy International, at which google was the only player found to receive a failing grade.
    Neil
    Last edited by stymiee; Jun 16, 2007 at 08:41.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Member nightwatchman's Avatar
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    Someone should blow SEO up!

    I am really totally green when it comes to SEO, failing to grasp the concept of greed and power trampling the righteous and true, and getting away with it.

    With the few websites I have done I have done an excellent job of including relevant phrases and keywords in copy and meta tags, but my sites come about 250th in Google, behind boatloads of irrelevant links. Searching for example, High Quality House Painters, My Location, returns nothing relevant to my location in the first 3 or 4 pages! Painters hundreds of miles away come up high in the list??? They will not even entertain travelling to do the job so what is the point of them showing up in the top of the search.

    I find many people from the baby boomer generation rightly condemn the internet as crap because it doesn't work. Their searches lead them nowhere but straight into the hands of dishonest scammers waiting the *uck them over at the first opportunity.

    If a site cannot come to the top of the list by it's own merits, why should it be alright to get it there by skullduggery, like I said Fuc* SEO, anyone rorting the system to make money for the greedy and powerful deserve to struggle with changes in the way Search Engines evaluate paid links, etc.

    Leave your money on the fridge.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Member
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    Based on the perhaps incorrect (but most reasonable) assumption that you will not receive a penalty if paid links to your site are detected (they just won't count as a genuine vote) ...I think this is a good idea.

    There are after all only two possibilities:

    1. You DID by the link to boost PR (in which case you can't complain)
    2. You just bought it because you believe your content would help visitors who visit the site you are paying and it is worth the money for the resulting traffic you get (in which case Google policy has no effect on you)

    I think Google has realized that the only way to keep quality results is for us all to police our own spaces. A bought link should never effect your page rank and as long as no penalities are incurred, and the links are simply ignored in terms of PR I think this is a good idea.

    The only problem I see is that the reporting coverage would be uneven, but even so it would still result in a more level playing field than the one we currently have, especially since top ranking sites with big budgets and thousands of bought links would be reported first?

  12. #12
    You Bet Your Life...Really lerxtjr's Avatar
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    I'm missing something here. I mean, how in the world would anyone know if someone else is charging for links or not? I guess, maybe if you contact them wanting a link on their site and they reply with a cost.

    And, why would buying links be a problem anyway? It's just paid advertising right?

    Which brings up another point. How is a "paid link" any different from someone buying a banner ad from me and I link the ad to their site. Or, if I pay for someone to post an article of mine on his site and include a link back.

    What's the difference? And, how can google make that call? And, where does the line get drawn?

  13. #13
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lerxtjr View Post
    I'm missing something here. I mean, how in the world would anyone know if someone else is charging for links or not? I guess, maybe if you contact them wanting a link on their site and they reply with a cost.
    That's one way. Others may simply advertise it like they do at SitePoint.

    Quote Originally Posted by lerxtjr View Post
    And, why would buying links be a problem anyway? It's just paid advertising right?
    It's not the links that are the problem. It's the selling of links for PR that Google doesn't want. Sites can sell links all they want. They just don't want people doing it to manipulate the SERPs.

    Quote Originally Posted by lerxtjr View Post
    Which brings up another point. How is a "paid link" any different from someone buying a banner ad from me and I link the ad to their site. Or, if I pay for someone to post an article of mine on his site and include a link back.

    What's the difference? And, how can google make that call? And, where does the line get drawn?
    There is a difference. The difference is intent. Google has already stated paid directory links are fine and they should be. They aren't there to manipulate the SERPs.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Guru marcel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stymiee View Post
    There is a difference. The difference is intent. Google has already stated paid directory links are fine and they should be. They aren't there to manipulate the SERPs.

    Intent ? Who placed you and Google as judges of Intent ?

  15. #15
    SitePoint Guru marcel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stymiee View Post
    There is a difference. The difference is intent. Google has already stated paid directory links are fine and they should be. They aren't there to manipulate the SERPs.
    Paid directories are fine because they are easy to identify. That's why Google said they are ok. But, mark my word everyone who buys links in a directory hopes to get a higher listings the Search Engines. Free or paid, everyone wants the best. Wouldn't you ?

    Also, Google manipulates portions of OUR content to make billions of dollars in Adwords Text Link ads. Not their content. Our content. So who is really manipulating who ?

    The truth is, Google is afraid that a technology based on text links replaces Adwords.
    The truth is, snitchers are afraid the links sellers get ahead of them.

    It's all about money, shareholders and fear.

  16. #16
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcel View Post
    Intent ? Who placed you and Google as judges of Intent ?
    Don't throw me into this. I'm just telling it like it is. Don't like Google's policies? Take it to them but leave me out of it.

  17. #17
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcel View Post
    Paid directories are fine because they are easy to identify. That's why Google said they are ok. But, mark my word everyone who buys links in a directory hopes to get a higher listings the Search Engines. Free or paid, everyone wants the best. Wouldn't you ?

    Also, Google manipulates portions of OUR content to make billions of dollars in Adwords Text Link ads. Not their content. Our content. So who is really manipulating who ?

    The truth is, Google is afraid that a technology based on text links replaces Adwords.
    The truth is, snitchers are afraid the links sellers get ahead of them.

    It's all about money, shareholders and fear.
    That's your take on it. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcel View Post
    Also, Google manipulates portions of OUR content to make billions of dollars in Adwords Text Link ads. Not their content. Our content.
    Simple solution: Ask Google not to index your site. Google will remove your content from its listings and won't be getting rich off your efforts any more.
    Using your unpaid time to add free content to SitePoint Pty Ltd's portfolio?

  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I think most sites will just change the wording and say place a link on the site and ask for a fee.

    The sites advertising paid links to increase page rank will just close that site and start directories or other sites and get paid to post your link.

  20. #20
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcj662 View Post
    I think most sites will just change the wording and say place a link on the site and ask for a fee.
    And that is different how?

  21. #21
    SitePoint Wizard Anat's Avatar
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    I think Google is going into some very murky water trying to judge intent. Everyone knows that a direct link on a directory is worth more than a redirected one, right? If that's not buying links for the sake of manipulating SERPs, I don't know what is.

    I never sold links for PR. I made a point of never mentioning PR and I didn't change my price when my PR changed. Now, in which court am I going to present these facts as proof of my intent if some competitor decides to claim to Google that I was selling links for PR? How can they even tell?
    My Web Publishing Blog: B6S.net - I dofollow but don't spam!
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  22. #22
    Technical Director at StuckOn JakeCop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anat View Post
    I think Google is going into some very murky water trying to judge intent. Everyone knows that a direct link on a directory is worth more than a redirected one, right? If that's not buying links for the sake of manipulating SERPs, I don't know what is.

    I never sold links for PR. I made a point of never mentioning PR and I didn't change my price when my PR changed. Now, in which court am I going to present these facts as proof of my intent if some competitor decides to claim to Google that I was selling links for PR? How can they even tell?
    rel="nofollow" - that shows you're not selling links for PR. If you don't use that, you are selling links for PR. If you believe you're not, you're fooling yourself, because that's why people are buying them.

  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anat View Post
    I think Google is going into some very murky water trying to judge intent. Everyone knows that a direct link on a directory is worth more than a redirected one, right? If that's not buying links for the sake of manipulating SERPs, I don't know what is?
    I think you (and marcel, above) are correct about this. Paid links in directories help search engine listings, and in a theoretical sense are little different than selling links explicitly for search engine value.

    Here's my guess why Google cares about one, and not the other.

    First, they don't want a market emerging based around the claim that they manipulate search engine rankings in a significant way. Links selling casts doubt on Google's methods, which is damaging to Google's reputation. Paid directories generally aren't claiming they can manipulate Google, which doesn't affect Google's reputation as much.

    Second, Google is actually interested in putting more value in organic links. However, detecting the motivation behind every single link is impossible. So, be practical. Let's say you (grrrrrr) hate paid links, what is at the top of your hit list? A directory that gives a site maybe 2 or 3 incomings? Or an incoming link service that gives a site 2000-10000 incomings? My suspicion is that somewhere in the middle of those extremes is Google's "I don't care" point.
    Using your unpaid time to add free content to SitePoint Pty Ltd's portfolio?

  24. #24
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    In regard to link directories....

    Don't quote me on this but I think Google said they were ok. It's the selling of links for PR that is the real issue and the directory model isn't abusing that.
    I believe there was a Matt Cutts blog on this recently. There are good directories and bad directories. The good directories (Yahoo / JoeAnt) actually reject sites. It's a way of displaying "trust" or value for the site. The direct PR benefit of these directories is unknown for me (I haven't tested yet).

    Of course, the bad directories are no different than buying a link on a site. They in no way indicate a "vote" and this link is an Agenda based link (a link that has been created for a fee, for a friend, or for some other reason than actual quality).

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  25. #25
    The Prince burkul's Avatar
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    Google can't detect many paid links and the future algo changes would not be 100% accurate, IMO they will reduce the importance of PR and increase some other major factor's importance like fresh content.


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