• http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    “Do you measure minuscule by word count or influence?”

    I measure it by the amount of nonsense that conspiracy theorists publish on SEO blogs and forums.

  • http://payperclick.ph/ Lemuel Jovellar

    What I’d like to ask Google is this, “How would you earn as a small time publisher without doing peanut transactions like these especially when Adsense are just that, they “add cents””. I’m a Google Partner and a small time web publisher myself and news like this just doesn’t help especially when the web has become too darn hard to get money from these days if your a small fry.

  • http://www.jontavarez.com Jon Tavarez

    Google is now the Minority Report and any intention of paid links are considered “Pre-crimes”. You have been warned.

  • http://www.joycegrace.ca/ Joyce Grace

    I just don’t get how they KNOW. Like others have asked. I feel like this opens the door for some very innocent sites to get disqualified from search results because they decided to rave about their favourite product, or because they happened to win a ticket to an event and wanted to write about their experience. I don’t see how an algorithm can determine what happens off-line to be related to what is written online, and then to call that genuine or not genuine. And what about liars and bad reviewers? That opens a whole other can of worms. If I write a bad review is that somehow considered to be more true than if I wrote a good one, after being paid to review something? How do they KNOW!!!!

  • weddingtwinkles

    But what if the I am photographer and there is a photographers community website with PR 5 which takes money to create a profile and add my website link there Per year – is that also a paid link? Its not a paid directory for any other profession.

  • https://twitter.com/matthewboyle25 Matthew Boyle

    this is unbelievably stupid. Watch the sheep flock to matt cutts.

  • https://www.freightlink.co.uk/ Stewart.T

    Are you glad you found it funny? People have lost businesses, livelihoods because of what caused you a little chuckle – Google being able to indiscriminately penalise SME’s without proper due diligence is exactly the reason why it is being investigated by the European Commission. No laughing matter I’m afraid.

  • Paul Caudell

    The Algorithm can read minds now? Or maybe just emails? Only way I can see them gauging intent (and this is far fetched) is your site being attached to your Google account and you discussing ‘payment’ within gmail. There are a couple of articles from Black Hats around accusing the Web Spam team of reading/scanning emails.

  • http://www.jillehart.com Jill

    Life is short Stewart, laughter is free – I’ve been caught in Google’s net too. Personally I think Google is the most user unfriendly site around, always has been…Just because I feel that way doesn’t diminish Durant’s explanation or make it any less amusing the way that he describes Google’s approach.

  • http://www.spadesmedia.com Jim Banks

    I’d be more worried about disclosure in the eyes of the FTC than Google in this case.


    They updated their advertising disclosure guidelines after 13 years, to make them more “online appropriate” and although I have seen some examples of disclosure statements showing that people have been paid for their opinions, I’ve not seen anywhere near as much of it as you would expect.

    So technically, if you get free stuff at a conference, you should disclose it if you write about it. Where do free bars at events fit in?

    You get top-shelf drinks paid for by X, you post on Google+, Facebook, Foursquare etc. what an awesome time you had at the party sponsored by X and you link to them.

  • http://steveg.com/ SteveG

    I feel bad for all the dolphins it catches and says, gee this sort of looks like a fish!

  • https://www.freightlink.co.uk/ Stewart.T

    You are right of course – I had a legitimate web business destroyed by Google’s algorithm a few years ago for no other reason than what it considers ‘black hat seo’ which I had no clue about nor any involvement with. But Google acted as judge and jury while I was given nothing in defense (pre-disavow tool I might add). My web property was destroyed. Telling me laughter is free does not mitigate my own despair and disappointment to make it less important. While I accept Matt Cutts must do the job he is required to do, my attitude toward him is ambivalent.

  • http://www.mediawyse.com/ Casey Markee, MBA

    You’ve described a niche directory. That’s clearly a good start…but next you have to determine “does that niche directory have an editorial component?” If this community site is of clear high-quality, has a GATEKEEPER that keeps non-photographers out (or at least doesn’t approve everyone), and provides clear value to visitors then the fact a “fee” is required to get on is not going to be an overriding concern.

  • http://www.cfsearchmarketing.com/ PM Fiorini

    The problem is that a many people simply want to “play by the rules”, but the information you give – many times – is ambiguous. E.g., guest posting, etc.

  • http://www.cfsearchmarketing.com/ PM Fiorini

    I would not underestimate them.

  • Rotimi Orimoloye

    I must say that it is people like Doc Sheldon that make a newbie SEO as myself very very glad he took the dive into this world of digital marketing.

    This is only my second year in this business and i’ve only worked with two paying clients (other jobs were pro-bono); so I am far from thinking that my opinion really counts in this discussion. But one thing I can say without a doubt is that I have been exposed to more than enough conspiracy theories against Google to make me become almost exhausted with seo and online marketing as a whole.

    I believe that If you are bothering to watch this video at all at this stage, then you must already know that Paid Links should not pass page rank, and they should be disclosed as such. And that is even if you didn’t catch it in the beginning of the video. The core arguments of the video would then clear the doubts of some people who might find themselves in gray areas, or others who might deliberately decide try to look for gray areas to swim in.

    And yes!
    I think some of the seasoned experts should in fact NOT bother listening to Matt Cutts videos anymore.
    Because it seems as if when they do, some of them just love to follow it up with conspiracy theories and cynical remarks about Google that always seem to discourage the SEOs who are just starting out or are still learning and are susceptible to “expert” opinions.

    I honestly think Matt Cutts’ videos are for such beginner & intermediate level webmasters and seos. Not the uber-super-pros.

    So the fact that Doc Sheldon is well experienced in this industry, plus the way he has gracefully simplified the issues that some others (perhaps unwittingly) tried to complicate, has reassured me that learning SEO should not be a constant horror story. So thanks again sir. You’ve been very helpful.

  • http://www.silkstream.net/ Hayley (Silkstream)

    This is ridiculous lol. Or am I Just confused?…

    “For example, if you are a movie blogger and you are given free access to a movie to review, that would not surprise the blogger.”

    I’m an automotive blogger. Does this mean that Mercedes-Benz can give me a brand new A45 AMG to review, and Its OK if I choose not to “nofollow” the link within the review, as long as I dont act surprised when I receive the car?

  • http://www.silkstream.net/ Hayley (Silkstream)

    Followed user generated links on G+ are just one example of Google and the “do as i say not as I do” mentality.

    How many ads does Google tell us is acceptable to have “above the fold” before it becomes a bad UX? Last time I checked it was 3. Now do a transactional search and tell me how many Google return?

    Also (im guessing this is beta), yesterday my organic results on Google UK were at least an inch narrower, making more room for ads, and the “salmon” colour highlighting the ads had been removed.

    Rand Fishkin predicts that Google will test removing organic listings for some searches altogether. If this happens I predict that will be the end of Google.

  • glcmall

    Who gave Google so much power!!

  • Rotimi Orimoloye

    Welll….It would surprise the movie blogger ONLY if he knew that his blog was one that no one had ever heard of. But it wouldn’t surprise a big shot blogger from Rotten Tomatoes. And such a blogger wouldn’t necessarily feel much “pressure” about nofollowing it.

    And yes, if you were an automotive blogger with a large following, indeed Benz could discover you and give you one of their cars (likely one that’s more suitable to your kind of audience) to test drive and review.

    It’s not so ridiculous.

  • Really35

    This article doesn’t make a lot of sense. How is Google going to know if any of the actions described in the article took place? Also, please learn the difference between “then” and “than.”

  • https://www.rossaimi.com/ Rossaimi

    How about premium ads? Is it categories paid link?

  • johnzaci

    I hope it is another step towards making the SEO Pious and Holy–Spamm free– Thanks Google and Matt Cutts for great Contribution :)
    Now I Can see Eye Ball to Ball to my Competitors!!!

  • Peter Munkholm

    Distance from this and that, relations. Very easy for Google to spot. Remember, they have the content of the ENTIRE internet and power full link- and relation computation at their disposal.
    I would hazzard a guess, they use whois info, cookies, domain owner info, links, logged history, refferer data, e-mail, profile names, website titles etc. to look at relations between links. The forest of information is endless. You only need strong computers to tie the ends…

  • http://www.rewindseo.com/ Daniel Delos

    IMO, the bottom line for the paid link controversy is to have your links look natural. Some links are paid for and whether for direct targeted traffic, SEO, or both, this will never change.

    So if you’re paying for some links they should still fit on the page or site. There should be a clear reason (besides money) why the page is linking to your site; usually relevancy or else mentioned in the content. Then it will make no difference whether it’s paid or not.

  • http://www.netbuilder.com.my/home/SEO+Malaysia/q?m=article&article_id=24 Danny Cheng

    Now that was a really entertaining video. (Even if I didn’t understand the better half of it…)

    Not one of Matt’s better videos.

    Gift vs loan? Say what?

    Anyway, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see how easy it would be for the big G to find some sites selling links (just type in “buy back links” on Google of course..) and make mince meat out of them (both those sites selling links and the links on these sites too…) just to flex a muscle or two.

  • Naser Mohd Baig

    Hey, what if a reputed software company gives us an offer to review the software on our blog and asks us to keep the software copy? Even if we mention that it is not a paid review, will Google trust us?

    SEO has became so complicated. I still remember how simple it was for my first blog (4 years ago) and I hardly knew any SEO terms and even though it got easily ranked… Now to survive in this Blogging field, try to make another source of traffic or die trying…..

  • http://docsheldon.com/ Doc Sheldon

    Naser, the safe way to approach that is to add a nofollow attribute to any link out to that software company. That will protect you from Google.

  • Guest

    Sounds like a well seasoned politician to me.

  • http://paulguzmanblog.com guzie

    Matt sounds like a well seasoned politician to me.