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Google’s Crossed the Line on SEO Publicity Stunts

by Jon Cooper
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Some of what you see & hear being penalized by Google is a publicity stunt.

For example, when the blog networks that got deindexed roughly a month ago, only the biggest & most well known ones took a hit. Other smaller networks that you’ve never heard of went on their merry way. I’ve even used a couple for my niche sites during the last few weeks. Of course Penguin did a way with some of them, but nonetheless, at the time those big dogs were being deindexed and as the outcries over “blog networks don’t work anymore!” were everywhere, it was just to send a message. 

But a recent publicity stunt crossed the line, big time. After iAcquire was outed for paid links, their site was deindexed by Google. Although it might be a coincidence or a bug, I see it as just another manual action that is meant to send a message and doesn’t hold any real weight outside of this occurrence.

Except it did something that was way, way worse. It penalized a site that never actually violated their webmaster guidelines. It penalized a site for the services it was performing for its clients, and if they’re going to do this to iAcquire, then they need to do it for every website that offers services that violate its guidelines.

They’d have to start deindexing black hat forums & black hat software providers. They’d have to go down the line on their own results for queries like “link building services” and “link building packages”.

And honestly, it’s a shame, because they honestly think they’ll try & manipulate us into thinking paid links have no place for the Web.

I’m not going to bash Google without giving them a solution, and it’s simple:

Make obvious paid links pass no value.

It completely solves your problem. If paid links won’t work, then we’ll stop spending our money on them. It’s that simple. You don’t have to penalize us for them, you just have to make us look like an idiot for spending our time & resources on these when we could be obtaining white hat links.

And about the obvious part – really, there are so many obvious paid links I see everyday that pass value & work that Google completely misses. From what I’ve seen, the majority of paid links have footprints and are somewhat obvious, and if there any type of paid links that are screaming at us saying they work, then it’s this kind.

The funny part is that you wouldn’t have to come up with that complex of an algorithm to find them & make sure they pass no value. Here are a few obvious signs that would root out a ton of paid links:

  • 10+ exact anchors in the sidebar
  • An edit to a post that only added a link to an existing piece of exact anchor text months after the post was first indexed
  • Exact anchors in sidebars that are completely unrelated & irrelevant
    • Set filter to do this 99.9% of the time for adult, poker, & similarly spammy links
  • 3+ links to the same website in the same post (and if they’re the only links, then it’s even more obvious)

Those are just off the top of my head. There are flaws in a couple of them, but I bet if you spent a few hours working out the kinks, you could figure it out down to the last details.

So in conclusion, Google, stop with the publicity stunts. If you want people to say paid links don’t work, then make them actually not work. Make us go through so many hoops to make them happen that it would be more worthwhile to build white hat links than to pay for these. It’s the only way you’ll be able to win.

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This post was written by...

Jon Cooper – who has written 122 posts on Point Blank SEO.

Jon Cooper+ is an SEO consultant based out of Gainesville, FL who specializes in link building. For more information on him and Point Blank SEO, visit the about page. Follow him on Twitter.

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