Google Updates Its Stance on Paid Links

May 16, 2007 by  

Matt Cutts has updated the paid links discussion to his old post from April this Friday.

It’s important for bloggers to keep informed with the latest development in this area as the popularity of making money by selling text link ads is becoming more popular.

The original article suggests how people could report sites that selling links to Google. It has caused quite a stir in the webmasters/bloggers communities and generated heated debates.

The update answers a few uncertainties left by the original post in more a detailed and friendlier way.

Here’s some interesting point I quote.

About pay per post:

Yet another “pay-for-blogging” (PFB) business launched, this time by Text Link Brokers. It should be clear from Google’s stance on paid text links, but if you are blogging and being paid by services like Pay Per Post, ReviewMe, or SponsoredReviews, links in those paid-for posts should be made in a way that doesn’t affect search engines. The rel=”nofollow” attribute is one way, but there are numerous other ways to do paid links that won’t affect search engines, e.g. doing an internal redirect through a url that is forbidden from crawling by robots.txt.


Here’s another one where he explains what he means by “Paid links”

Q: Now when you say “paid links,” what exactly do you mean by that? Do you view all paid links as potential violations of Google’s quality guidelines?

A: Good question. As someone working on quality and relevance at Google, my bottom-line concern is clean and relevant search results on Google. As such, I care about paid links that flow PageRank and attempt to game Google’s rankings. I’m not worried about links that are paid but don’t affect search engines. So when I say “paid links” it’s pretty safe to add in your head “paid links that flow PageRank and attempt to game Google’s rankings.”

I suppose as long as the links are related to your content and don’t appear spammy, you should be ok. But even than, is it possible that they still view those links as an attempt to game Google’s ranking and the PageRank because they still affect search engines whether it’s intentional or not?

I hope not.

Another interesting point. Since Google does put weight on directories, it’s OK to submit your sites to directoriese, provided that the directory accepts quality sites and is not simply a free-for-all link site.

A: I’ll try to give a few rules of thumb to think about when looking at a directory. When considering submitting to a directory, I’d ask questions like:

- Does the directory reject urls? If every url passes a review, the directory gets closer to just a list of links or a free-for-all link site.

- What is the quality of urls in the directory? Suppose a site rejects 25% of submissions, but the urls that are accepted/listed are still quite low-quality or spammy. That doesn’t speak well to the quality of the directory.

- If there is a fee, what’s the purpose of the fee? For a high-quality directory, the fee is primarily for the time/effort for someone to do a genuine evaluation of a url or site.


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