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 TwinCities.com 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.
To be honest, I doubt that TwinCities.com 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”.