Matt Cutts: Laying Rules For Paid Links

May 15, 2007 | 1,940 views | by Navneet Kaushal
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Matt Cutts gives his post an exhaustive boost with a lengthy update on How to report paid links. This has not been received well. Obviously, it limits SEOs from buying links unless paying AdWords fees. This leaving nothing for them. Clearly, with his new post, Matt has opened a can of worms.

Seroundtable shortened the article with the points below:

1. Matt explains you can and should report paid links via the Google spam report forms.

2. Matt said there may be a new form out in the future to just report specifically paid links.

3. Google is trying out "some ideas" to "augment" Google's "existing algorithms" with paid links.

4. Matt explains in the hidden links blog post that you should "at least" provide a machine readable way to disclose you have paid links (i.e. redirect link or nofollow).

5. It seems the preferred way is to have a human readable way to disclose paid links (i.e. label text links as paid or sponsored).

A user questioned, "does that mean I can go on adbrite, text-link-ads, payperpost and reviewme then go report all those sites? There needs to be a difference between selling text links for the sake of PR or SEO vs selling text links for advertising. This wont be easy to determine so I think its a horrible idea." To which Matt Cutts responded "I believe AdBrite constructs their links with JavaScript so that links are being sold for traffic, not to affect search engines. Things like JavaScript, the nofollow attribute (or meta tag), or doing a link through a redirect that is robots.txt’ed out would be techniques to sell links for visitors/traffic, as opposed to trying to influence search engine rankings."

A user commented, "The buyer will also find out that were ripped off by the link monger when they don’t get what they paid for.

This is good on 3 fronts;

1) Google users are not hampered.

2) The link monger sooner or later get’s exposed as a snake oil merchant.

3) The one who tried to buy PageRank GAVE money to a snake oil merchant.

Buyers will keep purchasing paid links under the assumption that the seller site is passing votes. Everyone but the PageRank mongers & buyers wins in the long run." A user commented, "the real fear here is that I could have a link on a site that someone else reports as a paid link, yet it is for traffic, yet Google somehow perceives it as ‘bad’ paid link and penalizes me and my entire livelihood is ruined because, although I make pocket change off of the paid links, my big money comes from great search results which I have earned by working fairly for the past five years of my life. So I can understand many white hat people here who have just been following all the rules set forth by Google being a little scared and writing angrily."

So shocked were users that one even commented on whether it was an April Fool's Day Joke. A rude shock too many, with the report that Nofollow, which was primarily for the purpose of pointing out links will now be used on paid links. Spam Report might also be used to report suspicious paid links. A user commented, "the real fear here is that I could have a link on a site that someone else reports as a paid link, yet it is for traffic, yet google somehow perceives it as ‘bad’ paid link and penalizes me and my entire livelihood is ruined because, although I make pocket change off of the paid links, my big money comes from great search results which I have earned by working fairly for the past five years of my life. So I can understand many white hat people here who have just been following all the rules set forth by Google being a little scared and writing angrily."

Will Google be the only one selling links on the web? Now, it becomes the job of SEOs, Webmasters and AdWords advertisers to find advertisers that stick to Google’s paid link rules and guidelines. It seems more like Google is pointing an authoritative finger at Webmasters/ SEOs and ordering them to do the job while in real Google's ultra-fancy algorithm should be taking care of it.

You can read about worried SEOs at Digital Point Forum and Webmasters alike at Digital Point Forum.

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Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
4.thumbnail Matt Cutts: Laying Rules For Paid Links
4.thumbnail Matt Cutts: Laying Rules For Paid Links