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Old 04-16-2007   #1
Kevin Newcomb
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Matt Cutts Goes After Paid Links

In a series of posts this weekend, Google's Matt Cutts has thrown down the gauntlet to buyers and sellers of paid links. You can find the details in this SEW blog post, Google Goes to War on Paid Text Links.

Is Google's plan a legitimate response to search engine spam? Or is it a veiled attempt to crush ad network competitors? Will discrediting paid links improve search results? How will Google know if links are paid or not?

There are far too many questions around this plan to make it seem like a good idea.

Last edited by Kevin Newcomb : 04-16-2007 at 02:29 AM.
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Old 04-16-2007   #2
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I am appalled that this is happenning. It is an absolute disgrace that someone as important on the internet as matt Cutts could be behind such a campaign that threatens to undermine the world as we know it.

I mean, it is the wanton throwing down of gauntlets that has put the world into the state of global warming as we know it. All that litter, all that discarding. Until we can recycle gauntlets, we are all in trouble.

Oh, wait, this is about paid links, not gauntlets. Sorry about that! I just gets so darned worked up over gauntlets.

I think the fact so many people are so angry tends to indicate that it is a good idea.

Hard to detect? You betcha!

Better results? Who knows, and only time will tell.

Last edited by projectphp : 04-16-2007 at 03:42 AM.
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Old 04-16-2007   #3
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It seems ridiculous really, as such action would make Google's search results more spammy. MFA and parasitic websites rarely pay for links, it's more about getting free links through blog and guestbook spamming. If someone is paying for links, it means that their site is of some worth to them and not an auto-generated page full of AdSense. Hang on.... who owns AdSense again?
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Old 04-16-2007   #4
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Good point Rob.

I don't really see buying links just for rankings as being evil. Recently many of us has seen a UK supermarket selling car insurance and a mobile phone company rise to the top of the SERPs, largely by buying a whole load of links. Is this wrong? These sites were bang on target for the search queries. Are people just worried that only those with the largest budgets rise to the top? Well that just happens in the world outside the web as well.
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Old 04-16-2007   #5
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. . .

Fair point. Paid links are fine in my book as long as they are used as only part of a campaign. Tesco on the other hand . . . well thats a different story
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Old 04-16-2007   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Newcomb
In a series of posts this weekend, Google's Matt Cutts has thrown down the gauntlet to buyers and sellers of paid links. You can find the details in this SEW blog post, Google Goes to War on Paid Text Links.

Is Google's plan a legitimate response to search engine spam? Or is it a veiled attempt to crush ad network competitors? Will discrediting paid links improve search results? How will Google know if links are paid or not?

There are far too many questions around this plan to make it seem like a good idea.
I wonder how that will work now that Google owns DoubleClick?
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Old 04-16-2007   #7
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I find it humorous that Google always wants webmasters to "disclose" things such as paid-linking so they know about it, but Google is pretty darn shy about disclosing how they figure out if links are paid and what, exactly they do about it. That and many other things about their algorithm they won't disclose.
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Old 04-16-2007   #8
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. . .

Yeah thats true, unfortunately not alot we can do about it.
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Old 04-16-2007   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanmcmaster
Fair point. Paid links are fine in my book as long as they are used as only part of a campaign. Tesco on the other hand . . . well thats a different story
I might see Tesco's old SEO in the pub tonight - has he been a naughty boy?
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Old 04-16-2007   #10
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. . .

lol no no, its all good Rob. Can't fault anyone from buying the old link here and there, just wish I had the budget myself

. . . every little helps (sorry, couldn't resist )

Last edited by ryanmcmaster : 04-16-2007 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 04-16-2007   #11
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It wasn't Tesco

I suggest you take a look at a thread about it on the Cre8asite forums.
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Old 04-16-2007   #12
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. . .

Oh, really, who was it then? I thought tesco was the only one doing insurance

My appologies
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Old 04-16-2007   #13
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It was ASDA:

http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/forum...pic=48187&st=0

Looks like they have taken a hit though - they are now #30 for 'car insurance' on Google UK...

Last edited by sem4u : 04-16-2007 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 04-16-2007   #14
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tut tut... outing them

I won't edit it as
1) the info is already published on another forum
and
2) Asda is owned by Walmart

Let's try not to publish people paying for links though, especially when it's one of my insurance sites.
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Old 04-16-2007   #15
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So Relevancy is being punished?

My problem with this disclosure and/or crackdown on Link Buying is because some of us have seen "dramasitic" improvements in the rankings for some clients, me in particular. When I proposed link buying to a particular client as part of an SEO Strategy, I make it very clear to the client that in order to benefit for this, we need to be very strategic in how we do it. We chose highly relevant sites, look for "no follows", identify everything surrounding the "on page" position of the link (content, anchor text, number of links, etc...) as well as the construct of the url strings, anchor text, reffering landing pages, etc...

I don't really see why Matt Cutts is getting so hot and heavy over this, especially when we continue to more and more people using Widgets as a catalyst to drive link building. I feel that as long as Link Buying is done in pure "relevance" and planning, how can we or should we be punished for doing it.
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Old 04-16-2007   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggorio
My problem with this disclosure and/or crackdown on Link Buying is because some of us have seen "dramasitic" improvements in the rankings for some clients, me in particular. When I proposed link buying to a particular client as part of an SEO Strategy, I make it very clear to the client that in order to benefit for this, we need to be very strategic in how we do it. We chose highly relevant sites, look for "no follows", identify everything surrounding the "on page" position of the link (content, anchor text, number of links, etc...) as well as the construct of the url strings, anchor text, reffering landing pages, etc...

I don't really see why Matt Cutts is getting so hot and heavy over this, especially when we continue to more and more people using Widgets as a catalyst to drive link building. I feel that as long as Link Buying is done in pure "relevance" and planning, how can we or should we be punished for doing it.
"Relevance" is for the search engines to determine. Buying links for SEO is simply search engine manipulation a.k.a. search engine spam.

If you really are looking out for sites using "no follow" tags to buy links, then you may not actually be increasing search engine visibility at all. Either way, that is another topic!

I don't think they are saying that all link buying is bad. I think the problem is buying links totally for SEO and then manipulating those links so that search engines see them as natural links and/or links visible to other users. I don't think there would be any issue as long as you make it clear that links are ads (like Google), use "no follow", and javascript.
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Old 04-16-2007   #17
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Thanks for the response Beu, but here's the thing. I don't trust the engines (Google) enough to determine for me what is "Relevant" and what is not. I can't get out of my head that the sole purpose of Search Engine Organic/Paid Search is to keep their investor's happy, as well as spin it as a "win-win" for everyone. Look at Quality Score. The once academic idea has turned 100% business. They are making money just as much as we and/or clients are. In Link buying, the only manipulation is the actual optimization of how we tactically do this. Even though, I can see your point, these best practices/tactics (whether Grey or Black Hat) are available to us and it's in our best interests where viable, to act on this and take advantage of it.

We want to do LB in a way that not only makes sense for the algorithm but also the intended visitor trying to find relevant information about a product, service or just basic information. I don't really see the harm in this. However, unless Google decides to decrease it's importance on relevant inbound links. I see relevance as the sheer difference in this as compared to PageRank (which is just a joke, or as Mike Grehan calls it "Green Fairy Dust")

Last edited by Greggorio : 04-16-2007 at 03:47 PM.
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Old 04-16-2007   #18
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I hear ya! As far a Google is concerned I really believe they care about the user.

How do you measure traffic from your paid links to see traffic and show clients ROI?
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Old 04-16-2007   #19
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Currently, we use Omniture SearchCenter and Google analytics as a backup. We have lots of problems with SearchCenter due to search engine API issues and changes, as well as a very difficult interface to use. Omniture SiteCatalyst (SEO/Organic) is excellent, but both are very expensive.
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Old 04-16-2007   #20
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I got ropewd into this discussion over at ThreadWatch. Seems to be the heated debate of the week.... link love just ain't what it used to be... guess they are going to have to drop Larry's view and start a Brin Rank instead.
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