Paid Links in the Non-Search Engine Marketing World

This is old news for search engine marketers, but I’m guessing the vast majority of Webmasters/marketers/small business owners who purchase links to their own sites are not search engine marketers, have no idea of of the Google paid link “penalty”, and purchase these links for potential quality traffic.

No worries – Google isn’t out to “get you”.

Back in April 2007, Matt Cutts (head of Google’s Webspam team) wrote a post on his personal blog on how to report paid links. 788 comments (and counting) later, the subject isn’t too popular with some fellow search marketers.

If you scroll through the post he gives some good examples of paid links that are there solely for the manipulation of search engine rankings. This is bad.

Here’s another example. Go to and scroll all the way to the bottom. There are over ten paid links that are there solely for the manipulation of search engine rankings. This is also bad.

Real Cities Paid Links

To be honest, I doubt that knows this. They’re part of the RealCites Network who provides this, they’re making a little money and it’s easy.

When most businesses pay for links, they do it for the potential traffic and I highly doubt that they would consider either the RealCities links or Matt’s examples an actual source of decent traffic.

For those businesses who purchase links for quality traffic, it’s safe to say you can continue to do so. Again, Google isn’t out to “get you”.

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2 Responses to Paid Links in the Non-Search Engine Marketing World

  1. holly says:

    Paid links is such an interesting issue. It is all about the type of links you are purchasing and your intent for purchasing them. Anytime you see an ad for “500 links to your site for $9.95” that is bad. It is that type of thing that is clearly wrong and gives search marketers everywhere a bad name. These type of links would never drive traffic to your site (similar to the ones described above) and are simply a “Black Hat” way to increase your search placement. The type of links are bad and the intent is wrong.

    A great example of a paid link that would be considered fine is a paid submission to the Yahoo! Directory. Here you are paying for your link (or multiple links depending on your business or product) to be included in the largest directory online. This allows you to be found in a very specified category and lined up with your competitors. The link is highly relevant and beyond the visibility it offers, the intent is simply to compete in your market online. I would highly suggest always considering these type of link purchases.

  2. Paul says:

    Good call Holly. I didn’t mention anything about directories like Yahoo.

    My new favorite “bad name” thing is Sam’s Club offering search marketing at something like 25 bucks a month. I can get a gallon of mayonnaise, a 20-pack of socks and some cheap SEO at the same place? Sweet! 🙂

    Last week I was hanging with a local biz owner who wanted to buy a link from another local biz and asked how to request a “no follow” because someone told him that Google could ban him if it wasn’t put in. What the… That probably brought on the post, but I digress.

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