Oct 8, 2007 116 reads by Navneet Kaushal

Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land points out that "Selling paid links can hurt your page rank or rankings on Google". He says, "More and more, I've been seeing people wondering if they've lost traffic on Google because they were detected to be selling paid links."

So far, Google has never penalized any site for link selling. To the foremost, what Google does is prevent links from a site to pass page rank. But now the scenario is changing. For sell links, Google might penalize your site and your PageRank score can also get down.

To explain his point more clearly, Danny Sullivan gives the example of the Stanford Daily. Earlier, in one of his post titled, "Time For Google To Give Up The Fight Against Paid Links?", he has highlighted as how the student newspaper of Stanford University used to sell links, even when the news came into the limelight. Even there was no penalty imposed by Google at that time.

Around a week ago, the PR of Stanford Daily dropped. Interestingly, there is no apparent reason for this to happen. Drop in the PageRank is reported by others also. It has been confirmed by Google that sites that sell links will have a lower PageRank. In addition, Google said that some sites that are selling links may indeed end up being dropped from its search engine or have penalties attached, to prevent them from ranking well.

Danny Sullivan has his own views for all this, such as:

  • It's Google's search engine. They have every right to say that if you sell links, they might penalize you.
  • Google is not telling people what to do with their sites, which is a popular argument point. Google is telling people what to do if they are concerned about doing better in Google. Don't want to be harmed in Google? Don't sell links.
  • Don't care about Google? Sell links all you want.
  • Despite Google's policy and even this latest action, they'll never catch all the paid links. It's part of the reason I'd like to see them back off the paid links war and instead work out other ways to determine if a link deserves credit, paid or not.

One the question is "What if someone sells links and gets their PageRank dropped or traffic reduced under this new policy by Google? In regard to this question, Google says , "Most people hit with a PageRank decrease will likely notice this, and then they can request a review. Eventually, it may be something flagged within the Google Webmaster Central system."

Instead of doing all this, Google can simply change the PageRank meter to something like a red bar. This will warn the buyers from buying a nabbed site. Google also believes that by doing this, it would be easy for anyone to detect which sites have not had their paid links discounted. Google is only decreasing the PageRank for a subset of the sites they actually know about.

Once Matt Cutts said about paid links as an issue with his drop in rankings, when asking if they were gone and not coming back.

But Google itself is allowing paid links to be promoted in another way via its own ads. Here's an example:


Whatever be the outcome, this step takes Google into a new era of attacking paid links. If Google traffic is important to you, it will ge good if you don't sell links.

Navneet Kaushal

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.
Navneet Kaushal
Navneet Kaushal
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