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The Paid Links Economy  (View post)

James Xuan [PersonRank 10]

Thursday, April 19, 2007
17 years ago9,457 views

Very good and insightfull article Philipp. Well Done!

Sherman B. [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

Thanks for the article! I had no idea... Yeah. No idea at all.

Hong Xiaowan [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

But the most important is the Ad's redesign.

I think Google Adsense did it well, can use customer color theme. But can not use customer size, and can not use images background. So will force some pages give up Images background.

Google Adsense, should be a part of a page that can be design freely.

Jarrod Hunt [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

Nice Article Philipp,

I was'nt able to respond to your email in time for the publication but here is my response on your question "What do you tell people who say
text link ads are immoral because they game search engines?"


I tell them to "Chill out" and stop listening to everything Google Staffers say :) does not support spam methods for building link popularity that include massive amounts of links aimed at ranking a site for keywords that it should never be allowed to rank for. There is a big difference between legitimately buying a few links to help promote your site, and buying thousands of links to point at some crappy spam page.

It should have nothing to do with whether or not someone is buying links or not, but instead whether their site is worthy of ranking well.

There are plenty of people that will argue that paid links have done much more to help then they have done to hurt. The only people I hear complaining are competitors and the search engines. It's easy to understand why competitors would complain. The Search Engines complain because if they don't they would be legitimizing every form of unnatural link building, including the crap stuff I mentioned before.


alek [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

WOW – what a detailed summary of the "Paid Link Economy" – this is Wall Street Journal caliber research and writiing – great job Philipp!

Tadeusz Szewczyk [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

The problem of paid links comes down to the Google PageRank algo not working anymore. It worked fine as long as Google was one of many but now that e.g. in Germany Google is a monopoly with 90% market share in organic search you can not assume anymore that links are true votes because everybody has to adjust to the reality of links being traded. People earn money on both sides, the webmasters who sell and those who buy. Indeed in Germany paid text link advertising is huge, most of the major and respectable media outlets do it.

Indeed sites that do not either buy or sell text links fall behind their competition. That's the case with me too. As a white hat SEO I attempt to not buy links myself but I had to change my policy in consulting clients.

What I say is basically: It works very well, your competitors do it, but you can get penalized. It hasn't happened to the competition though.

On the other hand I tell people that they can gain organic links for the same amount of money by doing something useful.

/pd [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

so what will google do now, that paid links are for political campigns ??

will they bite the hands which feed them ?after al keeping in good books with politicians is a good thing correct ??

Katinka Hesselink [PersonRank 2]

17 years ago #

For me the bottom line would be that a link (paid or non-paid) that I as webmaster cannot vouch for, should have rel-no follow – or not be there at all. Any link that a webmaster can vouch for (is it ethical to link to a site you do not trust?), is there for good reason.

Google suggesting there are ethics involved in the very act of selling links – is just plain self involved on their part. It's their business to organize the online information. Not mine as webmaster.

John Honeck [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

Excellent research and well thought out.

I think what we are seeing here is the Hawthorn effect. Basically the act of observation is having an effect on the observed. Sure links were only votes back in 1997, and the model worked perfectly, but as soon as you add any sort of reinforcement (rankings, PR, etc), the observed will change its behavior.

It's true with animals, people, employees, and webmasters. The algorithimic changes on weighting of individual links are just an effort to filter out this, which is like asking a dog not to be a dog and not sit when you say sit even though if he does you'll give him a treat.

Take away the treat, and he'll stop sitting.

Joe Hunkins | Joe Duck [PersonRank 1]

17 years ago #

Philipp this is an *excellent* summary of a very complex topic. I remember talking with Matt Cutts about 2 years ago when this issue was starting to heat up and Google was starting to crack down on paid linking, and I remain frustrated that unless you use nofollow on links you can't know how Google will view the situation. Users are served best with consistent and clear instructions and *treatment* of links. This is not currently the case.

Marcin Sochacki (Wanted) [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

Excellent article Philipp. I am quite critical of paid SEO links, some remarks are posted on my blog:

Elias Kai [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

Interesting article Philipp but may I ask why you added so many textual link without nofollow in your article ? See this questions is everyone's right to add or remove the nofollow and we should add on this that nofollow atribute gives a value sometimes when its placed in the right space and environment.

As I said last year, links are like wine , it goes how you grew up your links and keep them getting old and goes as well with weather conditions and relevancy.

There will always be a link and avertising economy, would the soccer game survive if companies couldn't display some Ads ? no.

Freedom shall prevail but webmasters should be smarter by the way they display embedded textual links inside relevant content instead of side wide links and unlogical sequences.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

17 years ago #

> Interesting article Philipp but may I ask why
> you added so many textual link without nofollow in your article ?

Why should I use nofollow for totally normal reference links in my posts?

Sure, you might get downranked for linking to the "wrong" SEO blog (in case there was a "bad neighborhood" one among the links, I dunno), but you shouldn't pay too much attention to these things. If their algos downrank the blog, so be it – even Google guidelines agree you shouldn't write pages for search engines, but for human readers.

Jim Westergren [PersonRank 0]

17 years ago #

Excellent article Philipp!

Nofollow is not even mentioned in the Google guidelines and I would really like more information from Google how they handle links. What is the penalties? What is ok and not? What about a link that is a true recommendation and deserves a vote but it was also paid for? What are the risks that Google will think that natural links looks like paid links?

Due to Googles dominant market position we are forced to play by their rules but it seems now that Google wants to change the internet so that it fits to their algo instead of adjusting their algo to fit to the internet.

There is a lot to say about this. People sold links before Google and nofollow is not really an official attribute (and rather unknown).

I think the bottom line is the visitor. Does the link contribute to the visitor experience?

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