old stuff below.
May 29, 2009
Google is staying focused on their no paid link policy. As a Google shareholder I am not sure if Google is taking the best approach to solve this problem. Please be clear that any website with paid links on it must understand that they are at risk and that if Google finds paid links on their site Google will penalize them. Also even if Google does not like the outbound links on your site they can penalize you for "Spammy linking and linking to web sites Google considers spammy" which can cause Google to give you a penalty. Web sites will be penalized by Google if they link to sites that Google does not like.
Often people might say Google is going too far and suppressing your freedom of speech rights. You can have your web site link to whoever you like, however Google has the right to trust/distrust web sites in their own index when Google sees links they consider spammy (of low quality). This has been proven in court by the legal case "Search King vs. Google" of a few years ago.
Google has penalized some innocent sites and for this reason we advise clients that want to be very safe not to give out any outbound links at all. Google is trying to find the many thousands of web sites that should be penalized for violating Google's paid link guidelines.
E.g. They say "Sponsored Links" as the heading and do not use no follow tags.
One very bad side effect from this is that many webmasters are in fear mode and will not give out any outbound links at all, even merit based outbound links. These webmasters beleive that Google will penalize their site that is innocent. This webmaster fear is warrented by Google making too many mistakes and penalizing innocent sites. This is happening more and more and will affect rankings and search results quality more in a negative way over time. If webmasters are afraid to give out merit based links that does create a bias in the Google search results and negatively affects the Google search results quality.
Matt Cutts Said,
July 25, 2008 @ 10:24 pm
"the toolbar PageRank display is not linear. It’s more than twice as hard to get a PR6 compared to a PR3, for example."
On July 26th, 2008 Google has updated the PageRank for sites on the Google Toolbar, a toolbar PageRank export update occurred. We still see random greybar pages on thousands of different web sites. This has now been going on for over one year and Google will not talk about it. We believe this is something Google has done on purpose to confuse webmasters and search engine optimization experts, just like when they broke the backlinks checker in the Google Toolbar on purpose a few years ago. We really do not like Google breaking the tools they give us to use on purpose to confuse us, it just seems like an evil thing to do to loyal Google Toolbar users.
Google has made some major improvements in their SEO guidelines. - June 2008
In the last few weeks Google has penalized many sites for selling text links, or as Matt Cutts (Google - manager / engineer) refers to it as PPP (Paid PageRank Passing) advertising, so major sites like Forbes.com, Washington Post, Search Engine Roundtable, etc. have had their PageRank dropped from PR7 to PR4 or PR5. Some people that have been penalized think this is just a Google update and do not understand that they have been manually penalized by Google. Also their links have been blocked from passing link juice for the last 2+ years in some cases. Now this is just Google sending a strong message. Also by lowering the PR of these sites, it makes it harder for them to sell their Google devalued links. At first I used the words "worthless links", however that is not correct, because even though I am not fond of these sites, they do receive a ton of traffic and people do click on their links.
Then a few days later (10-26-07) Google did do a complete PageRank toolbar update. It is important to understand that what was done prior to 10-26-07 was a manual penalty given to those selected sites by Google, and not related to the PR update done a few days later. So just to be clear Google did the manual penalties for a few weeks, then when those were completed they did the normal PR toolbar export update. This seems like a logical engineering approach to me, If I worked at Google I would do it the same way. Unfortunately it did confuse many people and they were not sure what was happening, many people are still not sure what happened.
When the PR toolbar update was done on Friday night, it did allow us to study algorithmic enhancements from Google to further detect links that Google does not like, what Google believes are paid links. These new enhancements from Google are not perfect, some / many paid links still go undetected and there are cases where Google has penalized innocent sites. You can see and understand this by tracking how Google valued or penalized links that go to internal pages of sites that only have one link pointing to them. We study and test thousands of cases like this every year. We see when Google likes a link, and when Google does not like a link, and the clear and conclusive effects for both cases.
There are two reasons why so many peoples PR (PageRank) dropped: 1. Google knocked out a huge amount of PR by penalizing all these PR10, PR9, PR8, and PR7 sites for selling text links. Because some of the sites they penalized were still passing link juice. Some were not and had been blocked from passing PR (PageRank) for years already. 2. The natural expansion of the Internet means a fixed amount of PageRank is divided up among all web pages on the Internet, so more pages simply means less PageRank for everyone.
Search engines want to filter out and devalue links they do not like or trust. Two major criterion they are looking for are paid or purchased links and traded low quality (spammy) links. A term you will hear in the search engine optimization (SEO) industry is TrustRank. Meaning can the search engines trust a link? Most people are ignorant of all this, and it is easy for the major search engines to write algorithms to filter out the link juice passing to a web site that trades low quality or purchases text links. The search engines may at their discretion apply various penalties to web sites that they feel do not follow their often vague guidelines. The funny thing (at least to me) is that most of the best links are paid for in some way, the payment may not be in money, it may be in other ways, and the major search engines do not even know it. It is under their radar, however since 80% or more of the people trying to purchase or trade links are ignorant and so obvious, it is easy for the search engines to not count the links they do not like from these people and their terrible link building methods. I want to mention a few points about what I just said above and clarify without getting into the long and unresolved debate about paid links. So for example you have been doing business with a company for years and at dinner you say please put up a link to my web site saying how great my company is. This is fine, now what if you have to give your client a $3,000 discount on his next order of pet food for him to put up this link? Is that a paid link? What if he really does think you have a great company and wants to vouch for you, and he is just using this as a way to squeeze a pet food order discount out of you. Is it okay? See how far we can go with this....
This is why you will now see some text link brokers and SEO experts that follow strict guidelines to try to protect their links from being blocked or filtered out or penalized by the major search engines.
E.g. they will not except spammy web sites or low quality advertisers, they will not display their inventory publicly, and they will not allow their publishers to link back to them. The first one "not excepting spammy or low quality web sites" seems like a huge win for both the search engines and web surfers. Great search engines like Google now look at who you link to, and if it is to all garbage low quality web sites, guess what, the search engines will not trust your links and the spammy sites you link to.
Please click here to read another useful article about SEO link building.
Some background and history below.
In 2004 Google had a long list of blocked sites with high PageRank that people were purchasing text links on. So first Google blocked hundreds / thousands of PR7, PR8 and PR9 sites from passing PageRank. There are many theories and reasons about what Google used as criteria for blocking sites from passing PageRank, which all relate to what appears to be natural. Or at least what Google considers to be natural links. One example of this is site wide links, the logic search engines use on this is that it is not natural for a site to have thousands of backlinks from the same site all with the same anchor text... this whole machine template generated concept that search engines do not like to see. So in some cases they may only give credit for one or a few of the links, when a site has thousands of inbound links from the same web site, unfortunately if we like it or not Google often just blocked all these sites from passing PageRank at all, this is especially true if the site wide links are high in number (over 20) and to off topic or male enhancement type products :). There are very few exceptions to his, however in 85%+ of cases Google just filtered out all the PageRank passing ability of these high PR8 and PR9 sites selling site wide text links, especially if the sponsored site wide links were footer links and to non related topic sites. Matt Cutts of Google has written about this in his blog and even given very specific examples. Sites that are doing the above will find that if they are not currently blocked and or penalized they soon will be. We keep a database of blocked sites and track them over time, generally if Google blocks a site they do not unblock them in the future. Once the link trust is gone, Google is reluctant to give these sites a second chance.
Google also broke their backlinks checker on purpose to keep people (SEO's) from seeing if a site passes PageRank. Prior to May of 2005 SEO's could use the Google backlink checker tool to see if a PR9 site was passing PageRank to the sites it linked to.
So wow, Google blocked many powerful sites from passing PageRank and prevented people from seeing what backlinks worked and which ones did not work. Today most people do not know that the Google backlink checker was broken on purpose by Google. We are constantly explaining to people that it is a waste of time to even look at the Google backlinks checker. I think this just makes Google look bad and evil, why have a tool that you broke on purpose and mislead the general public?
E.g. you can not trust Google. There are other tools that do work and most good SEO's know how to check backlinks, however knowing if they work or not is another story, please phone us at (805-493-4450) if you need to hire a good SEO company to help you. We see thousands of webmasters just wasting their money buying blocked and worthless text links.
As the cat and mouse game continues... in 2005 more SEO's and Text Link Brokers, started selling many thousands of low PageRank links on PR1, PR2, and PR3 sites. The idea being that Google blocked the high PR powerful sites from working so buy thousands of low PR text links and obtain great search results that way. This worked for a while.
Now in the summer / fall of 2006 Google has de listed millions of low PR junk pages. So all those webmasters who purchased many thousands of permanent or rental links on low quality, low PR pages have nothing to show for all their time effort and money invested. Furthermore it appears Google is penalizing sites involved with these spammy Internet marketing methods.
The moral of the story is you need high quality, natural, embedded text links on outstanding authority and search engine trusted web sites with excellent quality unique content to win.
Please email your comments to: TomForrest@HTPcompany.com , please let us know if we may publish your comments or not.
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