After penalizing Interflora and UK newspapers, Google has issued a stern warning that selling links on sites that pass PageRank can lead to a penalty in Google. Google specifically called this a “reminder,” because in 2007, they clearly went on record that selling paid links can lead to a penalty.
Google’s Matt Cutts, the head of search spam, specifically called out the techniques believed to have resulted in the penalties leading to the PageRank drop of the UK newspapers and the ranking drop of the huge UK floral company Interflora. Cutts called out advertorials specifically in his warning.
Please be wary if someone approaches you and wants to pay you for links or “advertorial” pages on your site that pass PageRank. Selling links (or entire advertorial pages with embedded links) that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines, and Google does take action on such violations. The consequences for a linkselling site start with losing trust in Google’s search results, as well as reduction of the site’s visible PageRank in the Google Toolbar. The consequences can also include lower rankings for that site in Google’s search results.
Cutts goes on to explain that if you do get caught, Google will most likely send you a notification via webmaster tools. Then it is up to you to take action by removing the paid links from your site and submitting a reconsideration request.
For more details on where this warning came from, see our two stories from earlier today:
- Google Says No Comment On Why Interflora Was Penalized
- Google Dishes Out PageRank Penalties To UK Newspaper Web Sites For Selling Links