Mission: Organizing The World’s Information (minus everything we didn’t get paid for)

I have been eagerly awaiting the return of one of my favorite bloggers, Andy Beard, who has been away moving house. It has been over 2 weeks since I have had an Andy fix. He’s back. With a vengeance. Andy has the eery ability to see through the BS and pick up things that other marketing bloggers miss or plain ignore.
In his post “Before I deal the FUD “I’m going to ask you to put on your regular user hat” Andy analysis a recent post by Matt Cutts, “Selling Links That Pass Page Rank” .
Note the title of the post… the words are chosen very carefully- “Selling Links That Pass Page Rank” Not paid links. Not sponsored links. Not paid for post links. “Links that pass page rank”. What is the purpose of buying a link or buying link that will pass on page rank to your site? The only reason to do it is to get higher results in the search engine results pages.

Google Created the Paid Link Monster

Google chose to factor links to a web page as one of the corner stones for ranking web pages. In general, the more links from quality sites to a web page, the better. And therein is the problem. Ruud Hein of Search Engine people explains how Google created this grey market of links and the impact in his post, Hilarious PageRank Update Impacts Google Badly.

google handcuffs link sellers
Why does Google want to stop paid links? selling links that pass rank? They are quite serious about stomping out blogs and sites that sell links- in fact- they encourage the reporting of paid links .
Google search is very interested in maintain their credibility. Matt posts here in the “report paid links” post

I even mentioned earlier this year that paid articles/reviews/posts should be done in a way that doesn’t affect search engines.

You can find countless posts the Matt Cutt’s blog on why

“The best links are not paid, or exchanged after out-of-the-blue emails–the best links are earned and given by choice”


google is world organizer of information
Google has laid out quite a task for themselves- their mission is index and catalogue information on the web and be able to serve up accurate results for a searcher researching a topic. No small task. They have put themselves: IN CHARGE OF ALL THE WORLD’S INFORMATION .
Wow. They are looking our for all of us- the searcher and the user and giving us the best possible information available. That is their mission.
They use very complicated and top-secret methods to decide what site is the best site to spew out when you type in a search term into its search box. How many sites are linking to you, what kids of sites are linking to you, how old those sites are, how credible they are, even who owns the site, a link from a site owned by the government or University is more important than a business or individual, for example. They are looking for relevance and quality. Getting your site to have good page rank takes work. SEO’s get paid a lot of money to make sure your site is well designed and easily crawled so your information can be cataloged.

Keeping The Internet Honest

Why go to all this trouble? What is the end result? All of this is done to achieve higher rankings in search engine results pages.
A dog breeder want to be on page one when you look for “dog breeder” . A florist wants to rank for “send flowers” .
Google doesn’t want you to cheat your way to the top. It considers buying links as a way to cheat or game the system.
I understand this. I even applaud this. I am a huge proponent of the Open Directory.

Google takes its mission so seriously that as well as asking you to report paid links- That if it finds out you are selling links that pass on page rank (and increase the chances of a site being higher in the SERPS) it will strip your Page Rank!
paid link seller in jail
This happened to thousands of sites late October 2007. Sites that did not have nofollow tags in links that were “paid” got nailed with a Page Rank ZERO.
They can do this- its their sandbox and they make the rules. However this is where it gets murky for me. Google wants to Organize The World’s Information … this is why it is zapping those sites that pass on page rank for a fee.

Pay For Top Spots

You don’t have to jump through fiery hoops to get on page one of search engine results pages. You can pay some one. You don’t have to go to the trouble of hiring an SEO or adding pages and pages of content or seek out links. You can pay some one to make sure you are on the SERPS everytime. The same company will even help you protect your investment.
It will make sure that a site “paying” for page rank will not out rank you. You will even appear ON TOP of older sites, more relevant sites. A competitor may not even rank anymore regardless of the value of his information if he was found to be “selling links that pass page rank”.

The whole point of buying page rank is to make to top of search engine results pages. You can pay GOOGLE to place you there. You can pay a fee to have your link ON TOP OF EVERYONE ELSE and get rid of all those other pesky sites trying to do the same things. You don;t have to pay to get page rank and be #1- you can just hand over your cash and Google will put you there.

As for the user?

Well according to Matt Cutt’s when I commented on the apparent hypocrisy of the system:

Lisa, we do think of ads as a type of search and try to show the most relevant ads we can (not just the ones where the advertiser is willing to pay the most). We also apply relevancy tests on whether to show ads on the top vs. the side, so that we only promote ads from the right-hand side to the top slot if we think that they’re very useful.

So.. there ads are relevant to the end uses research process and provide a useful purpose. These are results that are posted at the top of every single search you ever do when you are asking them for the best information.

When you pay Google money for placement on the top of search engine results page it refers to those ads “as a type of search”.
When you pay anyone else other than Google to place in top of the SERP’s your site is no longer relevant and given a Page Rank zero.
This is why the sudden change in semantics. Paid Links are now ” Paying for Links That Pass Page Rank”.

Follow The Money

follow the money
It is not the right or wrong of pay per placement in a results page- its who you gave your money to.

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            One Response to “Mission: Organizing The World’s Information (minus everything we didn’t get paid for)”

            1. Hi Lisa

              So much is murky, but I tried not to broaden the article’s scope in an attempt to get at least one tiny part of the grey area cleared up, or even a clearer indication of research which proves that paid links have a negative effect on search results (as far as I know nothing has ever been published on that by a search engine, or by a credible independent research body)

              There are so many easier/cheaper ways to get low quality links.

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