Google Updates their terms of service to include specifics on paid links. Oh what a Pandora box they have opened!
I have been meaning to post this but it has been very busy the last week. I have has a sea of emails and phone calls and questions from non-SEO people and clients contact me about nofollow tags. Some of them people who you would think wold know better. It is mass confusion.
I had a WEB DEVELOPER email me 2 weeks ago and request that I add nofollow tags to EVERY outbound link on the blog of one of his clients. He owns a developing company and has told all his clients that they MUST do this or risk losing all the results in search engines. I had a very tough time explaining to a client I blog for that this was going overboard. I had a half hour conversation to convince him not to do it- and I still think he isn’t sure.
Then Google Does This:
Update to Google TOS:
Google and most other search engines use links to determine reputation. A site’s ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to it. Link-based analysis is an extremely useful way of measuring a site’s value, and has greatly improved the quality of web search. Both the quantity and, more importantly, the quality of links count towards this rating.
However, some SEOs and webmasters engage in the practice of buying and selling links that pass PageRank, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results.
Not all paid links violate our guidelines. Buying and selling links is a normal part of the economy of the web when done for advertising purposes, and not for manipulation of search results. Links purchased for advertising should be designated as such. This can be done in several ways, such as:
a rel="nofollow"attribute to the
Redirecting the links to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file
Google works hard to ensure that it fully discounts links intended to manipulate search engine results, such excessive link exchanges and purchased links that pass PageRank. If you see a site that is buying or selling links that pass PageRank, let us know.We’ll use your information to improve our algorithmic detection of such links.
ARGH.The average site owner and blogger has no clue about the chaos going on around them regarding paid links/no paid links and zeroing of page rank. They just hear ” Google punishes people who have links on their pages ” .
My husband- who works in IT, has a forum with 7500 members and long time web user asked me last weekend if he should add nofollow tags to all the links on his forum. Google is scaring people. I don’t think they mean to. They are totally out of touch with “average” Internet user and site owner.
They have not educated them or tried to educate tham- and I don;t think it would work.An average site owner could care less. People DON”T CARE or have the time to figure out what Google is trying to do or why they are doing it. They just want a successful website- one that turns a profit.
Google may be justified. They can do whatever they want. Its their search engine. They just don’t get that the bulk moms and dads and hardware store owners and chess geeks and teenagers with blogs about Runscape do not scour Sphinn and Web Master World daily to figure out what Google wants them to do. They have no idea who Matt Cutts is. Google wants them to figure out what a nofollow tags is, what is does or when to use it. To the masses the past of least resistance is just have NO links .. easy. end of problem.
I have had
7 phonecalls in last 2 weeks to remove links from client blogs
1 email from developer requesting nofollow tags be removed from his clients site’s blog
14 emails from clients asking me how to add nofollow tags “to their links” ( not PAID links… just links)
1 Spuse ask me if he shouls add them to his forum
1 client DEMAND I remove “recommended” links type page and strip site of outbound links.
3 clients ask me to add nofollow tags to their sites. ( Not one of these clients have a paid link on their site)
I have mentioned to others that I thought that Google has over estimated site owners level of interest or ability to understand- or desire- to understand their inner workings. They are not lazy – they are BUSY. I really believe this will be a mess if Google just makes a blanket statement- We Will Punish Paid Links That Do Not Use Nofollow Tags. The risk for misinterpretation is just so high.
To quote a client “Better to just err on side of caution and get rid of them all”