There is a ton of news and talks floating around the web about Google and paid links. Naturally, Matt Cutts picks this as the topic of his most recent webmaster help video on Youtube.
The following is the question asked by a webmaster:
“On our travel site, we recommend and link out to hotels and B&B’s in our niche. Our readers find it useful. They’re not paid links, so we don’t add the nofollow attribute. What stops Google from suspecting these are paid links and penalizing us?”
In response Matt Cutts, the Head of Search Spam Team at Google says, “So, if we mistakenly thought that those were paid links, and as a result, penalized you, there would be a ton of collateral damage,” he says. “There would be a ton of algorithmic damage to our search rankings. So it’s in our enlightened, best self interest, as well as in the interest of our users to make sure that we don’t accidentally classify links as paid and penalize the site.”Matt Cutts Differentiates Between Useful Links And Paid Links!,