Google Admit Problems with Text Link Advertising

75 comments
Source Title:
Text links and PageRank
Story Text:

It will come as no surprise to Search Marketers that Google have problems with text link advertising. As Google engineer, and "webmaster relations officer" Matt Cutts points out, it's not just Google, but it's interesting to see Google, normally closed mouthed on indexing difficulties, detail problems with their algorithms and advertising.

"Selling links muddies the quality of link-based reputation and makes it harder for many search engines (not just Google) to return relevant results."

Much of the post carefully, but not to subtely lays the blame for these indexing problems at the advertisers feet. This comes as no surprise, as Google are now infamous among those that follow the little twists and turns of the GOOG PR machine for putting the onus on the user, or the publisher rather than deal with a problem head on.

What if a site wants to buy links purely for visitor click traffic, to build buzz, or to support another site? In that situation, I would use the rel=”nofollow” attribute. The nofollow tag allows a site to add a link that abstains from being an editorial vote. Using nofollow is a safe way to buy links, because it’s a machine-readable way to specify that a link doesn’t have to be counted as a vote by a search engine.

Threats and Warnings

Google also make it clear, in no uncertain terms, that sites selling links (link brokers presumably) could be penalized themselves for selling links.

I wouldn’t be surprised if search engines begin to take stronger action against link buying in the near future.

Google famously penalized SearchKing some years back for selling links for PageRank - and much of the post does focus on "selling links for pagerank" but how they expect to tell the difference of intent on a case by case basis is quite beyond me. Most likely, we'll see a few high profile warning cases targeting those that sell text links - this again would not be to surprising.

Should Google Define How we Advertise?

I think saying (and although it's not stated directly, my interpretation seems fairly clear) that if you sell text links, you must use rell="nofollow" or suffer the consequences is arrogant, and outrageous - who are Google to determine how site owners conduct their business - who are Google to dictate the way webmasters code their sites, and make their money?

A good thread for Friday i think, let us know what your opinion on Google and Text Links.

Comments

"Selling links muddies the

Quote:
"Selling links muddies the quality of link-based reputation and makes it harder for many search engines (not just Google) to return relevant results."

hmmm, how about "selling ads at the top of a search page muddies the water that the searcher has to swim through".

Quote:
I wouldn’t be surprised if search engines begin to take stronger action against link buying in the near future.

This bit amazes me. I logged into one of these text link services and I was amazed that you can see exactly which sites are selling link. If I were at the plex, ALL these sites would be toast, and if i had had a bad nights sleep, maybe I would apply the heat to the sites that buy the links from these obvious brokers.

Assume they are gonna some after you from all sides. :-)

I bought text links on sites

I bought text links on sites before Google even existed. I bought them for the same reason that Google employs text links in their Adsense program rather than banner ads and why I buy Adwords ads. Well-placed text converts.

nofollow

Is using nofollow simply to appease a single ISP really an option the internet advertising sector is going to accept, or will they more likely nofollow that idea?

I thought Google just wanted

I thought Google just wanted to give access to all information i the world - but in recent months they have proven that they want to shape it as well, tell us what how and when to publish things.

Google, if you want to create loyalty between publishers and yorself, this is definately not the way. In fact, in response to your increasingly unaccepable attitude I see more and more publishers that are ready to spam the hell out of you. And honestly - we are pretty successfull in that.

Years ago I use to have a certain degree of loyalty to the engines. Some ethics, some say. It's all gone and do you know who did that? Yes, Google and Yahoo! They made me not give a shit and loose all loyalty. Now it's just a war and I, along with others, are doing pretty good. We don't win every battle but we win a lot and we have an infinite number of tricks, loopholes and hosts to use.

Google, do you really want war? Are you so stupid that you think you can win it. Dosen't this remind you just a little bit of Vietnam?

I have no fear. Attack us if you want, ban me if you want - do whatever the fuck you like and I will still pop up in your messud upo SERPS and grab the users I want.

But, do you, Google, think that in the long run this will create better user experience and more trust in search? Hell no. Will I cry if search one day ends? No - it's not my stock that get dumped. I just move on to the next thing - new ways to grab the attention of relevant users.

I made extensive comments

because this makes me a bit annoyed. G jumpstarted the text link broking with the Toolbar PR meter, and now they've decided they don't like how it's going, so they want to choke it off. What happened to "Do no evil"?

People work full time in this industry. Now, if a site gets killed, and the owner hasn't realised that building a business on traffic from a single supplier with whom you have no contract is stupid, I have very little symapthy. But if Google just arbitrarily destroy the text link business, becuase they aren't brigth enough to deal with it another way, that's a very different matter, IMO

Well

To me Google is just another user, an important one but just another user.

I think what publishers seemingly fail to grasp, and I have no idea why its not rocket science, is that from a user perspective ads are as much a part of the content as...well...the content.

With that in mind I can understand the user Google getting mightly pissed with "off-topic" ads, I can understand them getting pissed with "on-topic ads" to poor quality sites.

Having said that, sites showing on-topic ads leading to a quality site should get a BOOST from user Google regardless of the delivery method. Users look for reasons to like a site not reasons to dislike it.

The big money is in direct

The big money is in direct links. The bottom line is that Google's stance keeps webmasters in perpetual surfdom, allowed only to scratch out a subsistance living by using Adsense or some other ad service.

Google's stance supports the gatekeepers, and Google is one of the gatekeepers with Adsense.

I was under the impression

I was under the impression that most text link ads were JS includes like Adsense. Google won't be indexing those anyway, will they? The only ads that Google will index are those DESIGNED for boosting PR, and seeing as we all know those are against G's policies anyway, what is the point in this post?

no no no

there are a lot of text link ads which aren't JS. If you have a little but popular blog about wine and a vinyard offers you £100 for a text link you're not likely to JS it really are you? - you probably just about learnt how to use blogger.

That's the whole issue with this, because many text ads are entirely genuine they vary a lot and many are not on pro sites made by trained programmers.

Making assumptions is an issue. Some sites don't want to use JS. Some people have no coding ability. It's the same principal as saying "ISDN numbers should link anyway". There are a lot of things I'd like to force on every website in the world (let's start with no marquees) but in reality that's unreasonable. Just 'cos the SE's have more money than me doesn't make their opinion inherently more right :)

mopatop

Intent-O-Meter (Beta)

Gurtie has a histerically funny post about Google's Intent-O-Meter (Beta), the new system for judging the intent of text link buyers and sellers...

Apparently Google will scan your brain, but don't worry:

Quote:
Of course, Google are at pains to point out that webmasters can opt out of the brain scans by running like mad in the opposite direction or going to live in France. What effect this will have on sites registered to you is unknown.

hehe!

Call for cloaking

if ($isGooglebot)
$rel = "propaganda nofollow";
else
$rel = "propaganda";

Hilarious kidding.

Here we can see a Google

Quote:
Here we can see a Google Engineer pointing out the cold dark core of a spammers brain from a later test, at a Google Training Session.

ROTFL, I nearly weed reading that.

Quote:
A lot of effort is expended that could be otherwise be spent on improving core quality (relevance, coverage, freshness, etc.).

You said it...

Quote:
showing on-topic ads leading to a quality site should get a BOOST from user Google regardless of the delivery method

There you go Matt, you can kill 2 birds by getting those engineers to accentuate the positive. Who'd want to buy irrelevant ads if relevant ones worked so much better? It would even benefit your users, albeit indirectly.

Of course you'd need to ensure the target site was quality, but you've got all kinds of stuff for evaluating the quality of sites now, right?

Yahoo! Buy Text Links

DaveN points out that Yahoo! buy Text Links

and makes this good point aswell:

Quote:
Matt if I spend 10,000 a month on textlinks you better believe that those links are a vote of confidence 10,000usd votes of confidence, Just the same as me buying Adwords, I want my text message out there. and if i have to spend 20,000usd a month to rank for POKER, it’s still better than hiding text links imo

Another good point raised is just who Google intend to hurt? If you're going to hurt the advertiser - is that a link to my site, or my competitors site?

Sheesh, Google, sometimes you're insulting, sometimes arrogant, sometimes foolish but, sometimes, you really, really are pig ignorant.

Money spent on wrong advertiser

Money spent on text link ads is *supposed* to be spent on adwords. Shareholders have their needs.

It's certainly

It's certainly understandable that Google would want to not count paid links in their link popularity formulas. Makes all the sense in the world, and I think it's important for them to try to do this.

BUT...

To expect the people buying them and the sites that are selling them to use the nofollow attribute, is utterly ridiculous.

I don't believe for one moment that Google or any engine is going to penalize Bob's Shoe Store because he allows Joe's Sock Store a small text link on his site for $35 a month.

If Google notices it and decides it shouldn't be counted toward link pop. then so be it, that's always a chance. But if Google actually decided to downgrade Bob's site itself, then Google would be sinking to a new low. (I really don't think this is their plan.)

Of course, sites that are buying and selling these things as a business model are fair game. That's a totally different story and I can see Google having to do what it has to do in that respect.

Very Funny

"after 15 people claiming to be a Mr D Heil registered for the first volunteer session, Google arranged a recriprocal data exchange with the Department of Homeland Security and now have everyones iris scans and hat measurements on file. Who said reciprocal agreements were bad?"

Here is another thing - this

Here is another thing - this was not how the nofollow tag was billed to the masses - it was supposed to be for unreviewed user added links not ads.

Barry makes a point that i

Barry makes a point that i thought about the first time i saw matt's blog:

Quote:
Does this make you wonder as to the real reason Matt Cutts started a blog?

So far, roughly 33% of his blog is in some way "anti seo" - i've been keeping count heheh...

I believe Matt was implying

I believe Matt was implying that (to steal Jills example for a second) if Bob's Shoe Store sold ads to Joe's Sock Store, they would not be penalised, but would lose their ability to pass reputation (PR and anchortext relevance)

However, he has implied that Joe's Sock Store woudl be seen as being outside Google quality guidelines.... and we all know what happens to sites in that virtual space....

I even think that killing ad sales sites ability to pass reputation is a silly idea. Which sites currently beenfit most from selling links? Hmm, big authoritative ones. You know, the ones that the authority model is based on.... Kill their ability to pass reputation, and the web graph would go to hell, I think

Google wants to scare people

Google wants to scare people into doing something differently because they don't know how to cope with people outsmarting their algo. Give me a break.

Ladies and gentleman, i

Ladies and gentleman, i think we have a winner....

Barrys point

yeah I suspect we've all had our doubts - I think of it a bit like the patent application of the blog world :)

But whatever the reasons for him doing it I love reading it - it's genuinely interesting, plus some of the comments people leave must have them in hysterics in their 'how to beat up SEOs next' meetings

Buying text ads for the competition

Jack's Sock Store buys text links from Bob's Shoe Store, but has them point to Joe's Sock Store. Goodbye Joe's Sock Store.

Could it ever be that easy?

Who does he think he is

If google has problems, google has problems, his FIVE "all search engines" references are nauseating, I doubt any SE wants Matt speaking for them. Just a another stupid fear tactic.

Link buying is just as natural as anything else on the web, to suggest it is only done to harm "search engines" is a pathetic attempt to distort the web, not index it. The level of arrogance coming from the plex is atounding. Do "authority" sites exist solely to enhance google efforts? Are sites supposed to volunteer and run revenue free or revenue hobbled to further google goals? If you can't crawl, index and apply a good algorithm to that index, you need to put some brain work in.

come on

a lot of people do buy links purely for SEO purposes and they do skew the SE results.

You can see why they hate it, just expecting the rest of us to fix a problem which was created, as loads of people have pointed out, by the SE's themselves (ok - by Google) is out of order.

The thing is, what do they expect - they take a natural www pattern and use it for ranking, clearly the nature of that means the pattern will be corrupted. The fact people bother to try to emulate it has to mean it was common enough for the SE's to want to use as a reference in the first place.

Bottom line is simple. Text

Bottom line is simple.

Text Link Ads work so well that Google (via Matt's personal blog) essentially admits they work and they have trouble in detecting them!

IMHO I'd go out and buy some more purely based on Matt's admissions

Spin

Quote:
The Google PR department is probably going to print this thread and hang it on the wall as a testimonial to the effectiveness of their spam control brain washing campaign.

-WebGuerilla

Another thread for the wall.

Something about creating a monster then trying to stop him pops to mind, but it's Friday so I'm feelin' lazy.

Quote:
Here is another thing - this was not how the nofollow tag was billed to the masses - it was supposed to be for unreviewed user added links not ads.

I hope the PR team won a vacation for nofollow. :)

I think the mention of

I think the mention of SearchKing and the link to the news.com page is a little uncharacteristically obvious for them. There isn't a link to something that G did to praise someone for NOT being in the link buying or selling business. Rather it was a link to show the possible spanking you can get by incurring the wrath of google.
(I personally think the mention was due to a post I made at SEW
http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showthread.php?t=7436 pointing out that Google doesn't HAVE to threaten, they CHOOSE to. They probably don't give two blinks about me, SK or all the portal partners that were slapped because they were hosted by SK, but to me at least, it seems like I'm still just really pissing them off. You'd think they would want the whole SK lawsuit thing to just go away as it was kind of the start of them showing their clay feet, instead they wear it like a crown???)

I won't do it because I've had my 15 minutes, but someone should point out that using SK as an example of the horrible fate awaiting those would choose not to hand the keys of the internet over to G, misses the simple fact that I did not die. I fought the force and I still exist.

Google Started This Game...

I think it was Greg Boser who said at SES San Jose something to the effect that "Google created this game (link popularity) and now they want to take their ball and go home."

Rather they need to learn how to play the game better so we can continue to buy and sell text link ads without necessarily degrading the quality of their SERPs. Either throw the whole PageRank algo out, Google, or work to better understand what is a relevant link and what is not.

Ok , Time to buy a link on

Ok , Time to buy a link on dailycal.org ....Well for my competitor :)

Relevancy

or work understand what is a relevant link and what is not

Yep, that's the problem. How can any SE truly determine relevancy? They can't. They fall back on themes, on-topic, all the buzzwords, all the BS we've heard for years but in reality there's really no way they can judge relevance.

On its home page Jim's Sandal Shack links to Gurtie's Gambling Den. (Sorry Gurtie, I liked the alliteration.)

"Hmmm? What's going on here?" says the Intent-O-Meter. A sandal store with links to a casino. Money must have changed hands, it's a paid link.

Meanwhile, big Keyhole in the sky is checking out all the babes strolling along the Atlantic City boardwalk. It happens to catch a shot of the sign in Jim's Sandal Shop's front window: "Visit Gurtie next door, she'll give you a straight deal."

Sandals and casinos. Related links.

Strapping on my asbestos suit..

I don't consider buying text link ads to be the biggest issue in SEO today, but I wanted to say Google's position after Phil Ringnalda's comment about links on the O'Reilly site. Very little of this should be a surprise to people who bought links on dailycal.org, csmonitor.com or other places and noticed that the links aren't working. hardball, I don't think Gigablast or Exalead or Teoma cares much for paid links either--this is not a Google-only issue.

I agree it is a good issue for a Friday discussion. :)

everything is related

honestly - you can find a good reason for anything.

Real estate site specialising in Houston linking to diet pills site?

Real estate site specialising in Seattle linking to steroid pills site?

here's why

Jeb Bush's official site linking to Viagra and geriatric porn?

here's why (keep the voters happy)

Gurtie..

You scare me, Gurtie. :) On http://www.mensfitness.com/rankings/304
how is it possible that Durham isn't on the list of fattest cities? They were always at the top of the lists--did everyone shape up all at once?

You scare me, Gurtie. :) She

Quote:
You scare me, Gurtie. :)

She scares me too sometimes. How on earth did you work those relationships out mate? It must be a god given talent!

It reminds me of that 6 degrees of seperation thing.

Matt does this mean you'll rethink the TLA algos to allow Houston Pharm links and Politics with Viagra and porn (actually no, don't bother on politics and porn, they've always been associated with each other!)

Demographics

Advertising is about demographics, as Gurtie points out. Something that Google cannot measure and therefore attempts to ignore, co-opt and/or subvert. It is a giant hole in Google's hull.

I scare lots of people :)

but I used to have to write ads to sell some pretty strange things.

Brads spot on - if I find the fattest city in america and I think 'how do I sell to people who aspire to live here' I have my demographic. I either dress up as a hamburger and hand out leaflets or I advertise on a local website.

And the hamburger thing would be dangerous.....

I wish Google never went

I wish Google never went public, we all knew this would happen.

huh?

Quote:
hardball, I don't think Gigablast or Exalead or Teoma cares much for paid links either--this is not a Google-only issue.

Don't want a rhubarb here Matt but If you don't like the structure of the web or can't develop an algorithm to deal with that structure that is your problem. I don't see Gigablast or Exalead or Teoma or Yahoo! or MSN complaining, you can't claim they don't have the tech to provide good results because of purchased links.

Real world I buy billboards, people come to my stores, you are suggesting I conform to google world. NO way. You index the web, if you want a private web structured to your piccadilloes then pop a new TLD and get busy.

You are suggesting a PSA web, no one gets paid except you. We all serve the better good eh?

Kudos

>if you want a private web structured to your piccadilloes then pop a new TLD and get busy

You have a great way with words, I tip my hat.

FUD

All together now "FUD glorious FUD" ;O)

Search engines sell text ads

How can search engines sell text link ads that allow keyword phrases to be used in ad text links then object when webmasters sell text link ads on their websites? It doesn't make sense.

It is one thing to suggest best practices when linking and staying on topic when linking. It is not ok when you begin to tell webmasters what they can and cannot do on their own websites.

As mentioned before, this all started with PageRank. Creating better search engine algorithms to decifer links might be the way to go.

yawn

Q: What did the Good Witch say to the Wicked Witch of the West when she was threatening Dorothy?

A: "Be gone! You have no powers here!"

i post this on matts blog

"we prefer not to trust those links."

Matt just say it the way i see.. you sell you soul you burn in hell.

when you dance with the devil you ALWAYS get burnt, just don’t bitch when you do.

DaveN

Rand makes some good points

Rand Fishkin has some good points on this whole mess aswell - if i listed all the good ones, i'd have his entire post - and im not sure he'd like that, so here's just one of them:

Now let's take a look at some other items from Google - specifically here in their Webmaster guidelines:

"Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!, as well as to other industry-specific expert sites."

As far as I can tell, Yahoo! costs $295 and many "industry-specific expert sites" that list other sites have monetary costs associated with submission. Either Google wants webmasters to submit to paid directories like Yahoo! and other "industry specific expert sites" or they don't. I'm fairly certain it can't go both ways.

How can search engines sell

Quote:
How can search engines sell text link ads that allow keyword phrases to be used in ad text links then object when webmasters sell text link ads on their websites? It doesn't make sense.

They're not objecting to the practice, they just want to not have to count them in their link pop.

I don't see it that way.

I don't see it that way. I think it is possible that other text ads might cut into the search engines own business of selling text ads. It also might be more difficult for the search engines to distinquish those type of links from other links within the current algorithms.

Just my opinion.

Rand makes a great point

Rand makes a great point (see Nick's post above - but the link to Rand's blog is broken) about the guidelines.

I'd like expand on that post above, and I'd love to hear Matt's comments on this.

The Google Guidelines state:

Have other relevant sites link to yours.
...snip...
Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!, as well as to other industry-specific expert sites.
http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html

If you pay for inclusion in e.g. the Yahoo! Directory - aren't you 'buying a text link'? You pay for the editor's review and approval of your 'text link'.

If "other relevant sites link to yours" because they request that you pay them to review and approve your text link - how did 'paying' change the relevance of that link?

The Google Webmaster guidelines indicate that linking from other relevant sites, and Paid Directories, and 'industy specific sites' is an acceptable practice. Where does the line on relevant links get drawn?

The commercial world that values Google at $70billion understands that the internet is a commercial place. People buy and pay for things they want on the internet. Why would Google now want to try to change it?

Sure - blog spam, counter link spam, scraper sites etc should be easy to spot for Google where there is no relevance in the link - but there are still tons of sites using these methods - which are still in the index.

Isn't indicating that 'all' paid links should be 'nofollow' a bit of a sledgehammer on a walnut? Why not solve the obvious relevance issues first?

direct links only please

What Google wants is patently unreasonable as a commercial proposition.

if I had the money to buy text links, I would want to get full value out of it in terms of visitors.

That means that I want a link that will work when clicked even if:

1. the user has js turned off
2. the user has redirects or meta-refresh turned off
3. the user is using a browser for the blind

In other words, the best value for my money is a direct link. Anything else is of lesser value and the publisher will have to accept a lesser price.

Should publishers accept a lower price to help Google?

nofollow = content hoarding

I notice that the Matt Cutts blog uses the nofollow attribute in the comment attribution links.

Now, if sites are rewarded for content by search engines, then sites who use the nofollow attribute in the attribution links are hoarding the rewards. As differentiated from trackback links, the comment author has directly helped to create the reward for content and I suggest that an equally good case can be made that he/she ought to share in the reward.

True there is the argument about comment spam. I suggest that it is quite possible to selectively mark posts as having or not having the nofollow attribute. But I think bloggers just want to publish, not maintain.

Matt, back away from the engineering side of the table...

An angle that I think Google is missing is that they'll never stop link buying...as it even predates them...but it's an activity that reaffirms Google's own brand. I can't tell you how many company's F this up. As search and search engine users mature, you need more attributes and branding to make the experience "sticky". If you keep the business world engaged in trying to maintain their Google presence, you've made Google more "sticky".

It's not an absolute relationship, but your relationship with your most important users might be the last defensible battle line after search is commoditized from the engineering side.

the zen of regulations and sanctions

Ok, this is the third, and last post in the three.

I previously this observation on a board where most of the threads start with "disappeared from the serps", maybe it will get a better reception on a more boutiquish board like TW.

And it is this:

Always consider regulations and sanctions as a view into that which an organisation feels it is unable to control naturally or internally.

For example:

There is no law against walking in front of a truck. Why? Because they don't need it. Few people are going to do it voluntarily.

But, there is a law and a sanction for smoking in public places.(some jurisdictions, boo for them ....)

Why? Because left to their own devices, some people are going to smoke wherever they please. Why sanctions? Because without sanctions the regulation is toothless, someone is going to light up anyways. Me.

Organised coercion.

So, when an organisation such as Google starts making rumbling noises about a certain problem, you can be pretty sure they cannot handle it internally. In other words, in the current case, they can't detect it reliably. So they start talking about the future.

In short, the boogie man's coming ....

tomorrow, maybe ...

if we can get our act together.

Then we're gonna getcha!

Um-hum.

what is wrong

So I can buy links to rank in a search engine, what is wrong here aslong as I am ranking for the something I have to offer. The more I spend to rank the more cash I hopefully make but also the better my product has to be, other wise the cost of my links outways my turnover. One day the big companies come and buy links for whatever price and the sites that have good "real content" and rankings make good money, hence produce more real content.

Why not just let these quality sites sell links as much as they want and let the market decide the value of the serps.

The serps would be manipulated by the best seo's with the best backing to buy links and over time this means the big companies will rank for the big terms.

What is the issue here Google, allowing mad link buying allows your serps to get better over time.

DougS

"How can search engines sell

Daria said:

"How can search engines sell text link ads that allow keyword phrases to be used in ad text links then object when webmasters sell text link ads on their websites? It doesn't make sense."

It does if you're an internet advertising company, looking to anchor the internet advertising model entirely around your own services.

Matt may be talking about SERPs issues - but it also happens to serve the AdWords model particularly well, as have other recent changes in Google's filters.

Text Ad Conflicts

Brian,

It does if you're an internet advertising company, looking to anchor the internet advertising model entirely around your own services.

Yes absolutely, I agree with you. That's basically what I was saying in my second post:

I don't see it that way. I think it is possible that other text ads might cut into the search engines own business of selling text ads. It also might be more difficult for the search engines to distinquish those type of links from other links within the current algorithms.

Text ads from webmaster sites cut into the business model of search engines selling text ads.

Think about this scenario.

Quote:
In short, the boogie man's coming ....

tomorrow, maybe ...

if we can get our act together.

Then we're gonna getcha!

That's a good point. And the boogie man could very well be some sort of government entity(s).

Think about this scenario. In the US (and I assume many other countries) ads in magazines and newspapers legally need to be labeled as such. Even in search engine results, the FTC has stated that paid listings need to be clearly labeled as paid.

So the big question is...is a link that you pay for an ad?

If so, then there already may be laws/rules about this. If Google can get any enforcers of these rules to start enforcing them, it would make Google's job a whole lot easier.

Just a thought. I'm not making any judgements as to whether that is a good or bad thing, or if/when it will happen, but at some point in our future, I imagine it will. We can't remain the wild wild west forever.

lol

Quote:
We can't remain the wild wild west forever.

Define "we".

Quote:
If Google can get any enforcers of these rules to start enforcing them, it would make Google's job a whole lot easier.

Google calling the cops on webmasters?

"We Defined"

We = The Internet

Google/USA != The Internet

Luckily only people in USA have to worry about anything with the "FTC" :O)

In the US (and I assume

Quote:
In the US (and I assume many other countries)

It's a Joke

First they state "authorative" sites should link out freely to other sites/resources or they are seen as "hoarding PR (remember that). Yep, I remember how GoogleGuy coined the phrase "PR hoarding" saying you should not use JavaScript or any other method besides a straight href link or you may be identified as "hoarding PR". They sure have turned around on this one ;)

I posted to Matt's blog, but it hasn't shown up yet. I'll take an excerpt from my post:

Quote:
I am getting so tired of this Google "conformity" and do as I say, not as I do attitude. If you took away Googles advertising revenue the company would be close to worthless in monetary terms.

I see a lot more "advertising" leading to questionable sites/pages of those using AdWords than I do from "real" sites buying "real" advertising on other sites. I guess the real difference is you will not penalize/police yourself for links going to other sites/pages.

Advertising is natural and is the backbone of any business when it comes to increasing income for both the buyer and the seller of the advertising. What television station, newspaper, magazine, radio or any other form of media delivery would be able to exist without advertisement income?

Why should those that deliver media via sponsorship and advertisement have to conform to Googles wishes of hiding advertisements in JavaScript or other methods such as rel nofollow or fear suffering the wrath of Google? It's a pathetic cry for help from Google as far as I see it.

There is no way that I see in which Google will ever be able to count only "natural" links.

A natural link....hmm.. I know of professors at colleges, teachers at educational facilities, librarians, IT personnel, and people that do work for State Government sites which have linked to their/friend's sites for the "sole" purpose of PR and ranking purposes. So the "natural" links you see may not be as "natural" as you think. I do not have the answer for the problems Google has created and is now drowning in, but to suggest discounting or even penalizing the advertisers/advertising businesses is completely ridiculous in trying to handle the problem.

Google needs to stop and get a grip before they start taking actions which will end up having them being seen by the masses as a censuring greed machine as many people already see them.

Nofollow really Notrust

The problem that I have seen with nofollow since it was introduced is this...

I create a page and nofollow all the links on it. The engines notice all the nofollow links (which they have never stated that they actually wouldn't follow, they merely said it was a sign that YOU don't endorse that link.)

If I were a search engine, and I noticed a page with a lot of nofollow links, I would assume that was a page the owner didn't really care about, because they allow a lot of links on their page that they don't trust.

Would I downgrade the imporantance of that page? In a heartbeat. Properly moderated forums, blogs, and websites don't have anonymous links that they didn't put there or approve. A page where the majority of the links are not trusted... why would a searcher want to view a page that includes content that the creator doesn't trust? Why would I rank a page highly that includes content that the webmaster doesn't endorse?

Logically, nofollow is a way to weed out low quality pages. How can it be anything else?

One or two nofollow links in an article or newspiece is one thing... but a page where the majority of links are nofollow can not possibly be a decent page (or else there is something sneaky about it, like hoarding PR.)

Scottie said: If I were a

Scottie said:

If I were a search engine, and I noticed a page with a lot of nofollow links, I would assume that was a page the owner didn't really care about, because they allow a lot of links on their page that they don't trust.

Absolutely - this was raised as an objection to applying nofollow at the very beginning.

---

Quote:
One or two nofollow links in an article or newspiece is one thing... but a page where the majority of links are nofollow can not possibly be a decent page (or else there is something sneaky about it, like hoarding PR.)

Guess Matt's blog is screwed then... ;)

That's actually a bit fucked

That's actually a bit fucked up if you think about it.

He has his comments on premod yet chooses to use sitewide nofollow...

Doesn't make sense, unless of course your a search engineer hoping to convince the terminally stupid that contrary to all reason your daft, somewhat insulting solution to blog spam is actually a good idea after all...

ROFL

Quote:
Doesn't make sense, unless of course your a search engineer hoping to convince the terminally stupid that contrary to all reason your daft, somewhat insulting solution to blog spam is actually a good idea after all...

LOLOLOL

introducing the new nofollow algo


/*------------------------------

NOFOLLOW.C

new nofollow algo

author: phd/mba
schedule: thanksgiving
status: normal(not tested)
purpose:

nuke bastards who actually care
enough about pagerank(tm) to run
around using nofollow
-------------------------------*/

int adjustfollow(page,rank)
{
int r;
int f;

r=rank;

f=contains("nofollow",page);

if(f>1) r=0;//sonofabitch knows about pagerank

return(r);
}

/*-----------------------------------
EOF
------------------------------------*/

Here's a thought - referring

Here's a thought - referring back to the original article, and the following comment:

Most likely, we'll see a few high profile warning cases targeting those that sell text links

If Google were to specifically penalise text link advertising networks, then would this potentially fall under anti-trust legislation?

After all, would it not be a case of one advertiser abusing its market position to damage other advertisers?

Just thinking aloud.

"In the US (and I assume"

Hopefully the rest of the world has the sense not to cripple the internet with heavy-handed legislation.

Witch hunt

The new scarlet letter: ADVERTISER

rel="nofollow"

If a site owner were to mark a link "unimportant" it creates some liablity for that clown. Of course justice would best be served Wild West style ;) , they could incur the "impersonating a law enforcement officer" penalty and be 302ed into oblivion. Until something better comes along, the WildWildWest works just fine.

Go ahead punk, make my day.

Quote:
Q: What types of links should get this attribute?
A: We encourage you to use the rel="nofollow" attribute anywhere that users can add links by themselves, including within comments, trackbacks, and referrer lists. Comment areas receive the most attention, but securing every location where someone can add a link is the way to keep spammers at bay.

Google original intent

Association

So which of our text link selling companies is going to be the first to say YES to getting round a table and forming an association?

Strength in numbers.

Choice of Words

Nick I may not have used the Headline yopu chose unless it was a lefthand plug for one of your advertisers...
I was expecting Patrick's company to be mentioned...

probably a good point,

probably a good point, though it's hard to avoid when a brand is built around a fairly generic term :)

And if they dump

... the Goo Toolbar's PR functionality altogether? (Not that it's really anything but a smokescreen, IMV, but anyway.) And cancel API access to it?
All of which they could do in a snap - so where would that leave at least half the link hawking industry?

They essentially created that market: via implementing their oh-so-clever PageRank algo as a ranking instrument in the first place (which I always found an hilariously absurd idea: an overblown form of "citation index" within a commercial Web environment: something only non-MBA uni freaks could ever dream up ...), plus bragging about it via their toolbar.

In expansion of Greg Boser's totally correct statement: trying to stop that game by taking away the ball is basically all that's left to them. So it's only reasonable to expect them to do just that, probably sooner rather than later. With Matt Cutts merely crying wolf in anticipation and preparing the PR field. ("Well, we told you so but you wouldn't listen ... so don't complain that we're doing something against it now.")

That apart: which experienced SEO seriously still believes in PR these days anyway?

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