Paid Links Not Mentioned In Google’s Webmaster Guidelines

George Zlatin

By George Zlatin

Just read through all of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and noticed there was no mention of avoiding paid links. Hmmm… Do you think they simply forgot to mention this in their popular guidelines for webmasters? This is the page they tell webmasters to read if they are having ranking problems or for those who have been banned. Seems like it would be logical to mention linking practices that they definitely don’t agree with. It seems a bit strage that I can’t find much in all of Google’s official documentation against BUYING paid links. It’s more geared towards those sites SELLING and how they should make sure they don’t pass “link juice” to sites that are buying advertising. Here’s some evidence of that… “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:

  • Adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute to the <a> tag
  • 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.” Another thing to mention is that if your site gets reported for paid links, there is very little chance that it will get banned manually. In fact, the following quote from Google’s own website further demonstrates that they are trying to deal with the problem algorithmically which would mean there would be major ranking changes for many sites all at one time should they ever find a way to fix the issue. “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”. Even so, there’s still no evidence that they would penalize the buyer since that would mean that any competitor can purchase a bunch of shady links pointing to your site and get you banned. They would be more likely to devalue the links or penalize the seller.