• http://advertisingmiami.com MikePoller

    I run a tiny little niche market website and I keep receiving emails from folks who want to “purchase a link” on my site. (No, I’ve never done it)

    So how would Google know if I sell a link? What makes a paid link any different than a unpaid link? Last I heard, Google still does not have access to my bank account…

  • http://followthroughers.com Adam Piotrowski

    Mike,
    I don’t think a little one off here and there is anything that they’re looking at or would ever really find. But if that same person contacted and bought from thousands of sites at the same time then it would prob get you on their radar. I look at some of our competitor sites and it’s 100% obvious to me when they buy links.

    Our site’s been around for a decade and has never practiced in link buying so our link graph shows a very natural progression to our current place of around 46K inbound links. When I overlay some of our competitors and I see that all of the sudden they went from 1,200 to 15,000 links in a month it’s a pretty clear sign they were doing something not-so-cleancut. Just checking a few of those backlinks it’s obvious they’re paid links.

    If I can spot that in about 15 minutes at my desk, I doubt it’s too hard for Google to see it. I think the issue is though that they can’t go around manually penalizing everyone. They know when you’re doing this stuff, but want to negate it across the board with algo changes.

    I think this increase in manual penalty press could be part of an effort to get it out there more and try to discourage this practice as much as possible.

    To be fair to them, it’s definitely not an easy job.

  • http://www.sefati.net Alireza Sefati

    I think by buying links that don’t violate Google they mean their affiliate links.

  • http://docsheldon.com Doc Sheldon

    @Alireza – or Adsense ;)

    Personally, I’m tired of these outings, since they’re being perpetrated by people that obviously have barely enough SEO knowledge to make them dangerous. I’m sure it’s uplifting for Dave Segal to think how many hundreds of thousands of people will readily believe whatever he says. But with that credibility comes some responsibility, too.

    Google has its problems, I’ll readily admit, but the task they’re faced with is incredibly difficult. An algorithmic solution is the only feasible way to address this sort of issue, and the fact that none of these flower vendors’ rankings were substantially affected by those links (if, in fact, they were bought) just MIGHT indicate that Google’s algorithm is functioning reasonably well in this instance.

    I’ve got an idea for you, Mr. Segal… how about you stop trying to write about something of which you obviously have little understanding, and I won’t tell my readers (all three of them, mind you!) how evil the NYT is because of the type of “journalism” that’s practiced by the National Enquirer? If you think about it, you may realize it’s an apt analogy.

  • http://www.netmagellan.com/ Ash Nallawalla

    Yes, these NYT/WSJ outings are getting boring except for the local SEO “experts” who don’t mind getting a clean link from the article.

    I couldn’t find any way to leave a comment on the NYT site but I’d reminding NYT readers that if they thought about it, a competitor could pay an Indian company to generate thousands of anchor text links to a competitor. The pattern that’s emerging is that large, “reputable” SEO companies are outsourcing link building and they might not know what’s happening at the end of the food chain.

    I don’t monitor florist SERPs but from what I recall, the same bunch of florists have dominated the top rankings for many years.