Crazy Eddie's Link Emporium

crazy-eddies-link-emporium

Dan Akroid as Crazy Salesman for the Super Bassomatic ’76 – “Yes, it’s just that simple!”

If you would listen to Google, and why wouldn’t you, you would be led to believe that they are against link buying and don’t reward sites who do buy links. In fact, they will penalize sites that do buy links. Don’t believe me? Read Google’s engineer Matt Cutt’s own words on buying and selling links. They even provide a handy dandy form to report paid links. Find a site selling links? Report them. Find a competitor buying links? Report them. Then, your site, which is honestly gathering links, should rise to the top of the rankings. Right?

Wrong. Oh, so very wrong.

Google Sells Links

Google has been caught selling links more than once. So they understand the temptation and financial rewards of selling a link. But the rewards can be much greater when buying a link: higher search rankings, more customers, more sales and more profits. But if link buying is really being stamped out by the big G, then why, oh why, are so many people doing it and dominating the search rankings?

Google Penalizes Link Buying

Google certainly scared  WeBuildPages.com whose premise of higher rankings for their clients was buying links. Jim Boykin, who is in charge at WeBuildPages.com, was making easy money with his staff finding links, paying the webmasters and then marking up the costs. It is the American way and everything was dandy until Google started checking his clients.  Heck, it scared Jim so badly he wrote an apology for buying links and promised to never do it again, pleading to get back into Google’s good graces. It doesn’t hurt when you name drop Matt Cutts either.

Google Overlooks Link Buying

But the pendulum swings the other way when you look at the considerable number of high ranking sites that are primarily buying their way to the top. I understand Google can only do so much but their product (search results) is so tainted with “purchased” rankings it is getting harder to trust the results.

Shouldn’t every effort be made to correct this problem from Google’s search team? I’m not saying every site that buys a link should be banned or penalized, but what about blatant offenders who are only using bought links? Well, this should be cracked down on, BUT I can list example after example of sites that are clearly buying links without penalty. In fact, here are few sites with high rankings for very competitive keywords that are doing just that. I have placed a link to Yahoo’s Site Explorer to check backlinks for each site. I didn’t check every link from the first 100 results but every link I checked was purchased. I’m safely guessing 80%-90% of the links are of the paid variety for each of these sites.

Site: BlueNile.com
Keyword: Engagement Rings, Ranks #3 & #4
Site Explorer Backlinks

Site: PSPrint.com
Keyword: Online Printing , Ranks #1
Site Explorer Backlinks

Selling links is still profitable and sites like Forbes.com proves this to be so. Visit this link and look at the bottom right of the page in the Resources box and you’ll see a link for “Business Plans” and “Online Printing”. Guess where the “online printing” link points? Yep, PSPrint.com. While not definitive proof it certainly gives doubt that link buying is hurting PSPrint.com’s #1 ranking.

Can Google Fix It?

I don’t begrudge either site for buying links. Hey, it obviously works and the ROI is there so why not. It is just good business. The problems is Google is punishing a few sites, almost at random it would appear, and letting most sites slide by. Google should either police this more fairly and efficiently or quit penalizing sites for buying links. It would be better to devalue the sites selling links. This would be a more sane solution but even that is probably impossible with so many blogs selling links nowadays. I don’t envy Google in this task – nigh impossible, it may be – but they have made the rules and it is now time to enforce them or change them.

17 Responses to “Crazy Eddie's Link Emporium”

  1. HyperLocal Marketing says:

    Great comic. Got this through StumbleUpon. Keep up the great work.

  2. Eric Gehler says:

    Once again RankedHard takes on the important issues of SEO in a satirical way. The entire link buying deal is a multi-million dollar industry. Google say it’s a no-no, but when push comes to show, do they actually Stand by their words? Hummm..

  3. Sasa says:

    Guys, I just used here: 90% aller Websites kaufen Links und kommen damit weg – Wie lange noch?

    Please let me know if there is a problem and I will immediately remove it.

    -sasa

  4. john says:

    Good comment, but i thinks its a bit ironic to have an inlinks ad on the same page selling links! Hah. bet you didn’t notice it.
    still love you all.

  5. michaelj72 says:

    sounds to me like a rather insoluvable problem which google itself largely creating by putting so much emphasis on page rank and inbound links as the factors in serps – and the nature of the competitive beast of the society whih is compete compete and compete.
    like with the drug wars, the little guys get caught and penalized the most and the big guys can buy their way out. they’ve have to come up with a way that doesn’t rely so heavily on links…..

  6. Chris says:

    Paid link building is true, unfortunate and without a solution, all at the same time.

  7. Gene says:

    There’s a funny side story to this whole link buying hypocrisy issue. Back when Google made Izea (the company behind payperpost) feel the sting of a firm backhanded pimp slap, the guys behind the Page Rank beatdown, Tech Crunch, were shown to be hypocrites. Izea pointed out that Tech Crunch also sold links. Nothing like drama and controversy to get page views, right?

    After all the finger pointing was over and Izea’s bloggers had to sober up to the reality that their blogs’ page rank is now Zero, the practice still continues and tolerated for those who have clout. The little guys, as always, end up with the boot up the ass.

  8. Ana Amour Rencontres says:

    Of course Google created this whole sub-industry. You cannot just invent something and then expect people not to use it to it’s maximum potential. Humans are intelligent creatures, it should have been clear that they will uncover the link mystery and use it to their favor!

  9. I agree with “Ana Amour Rencontres”, it is human nature to maximize the potential to get benefit from them. Maybe a big company like google need to find new business model to solve this problem.

  10. HE says:

    Paid link building is true, unfortunate and without a solution, all at the same time.

  11. Cristi Gullotta says:

    As I tweeted to Matt this morning, I get the feeling it’s not really in his hands. Surely if it were, things would be better. He knows what to do, and he’s not dumb. The type of spam that continues to work these days is not very sophisticated…or so it seems. Which is why I believe Google (not Matt) wants the results to suck just enough for people to click the ads.

  12. Harmony Houghland says:

    I both love and hate Google at the same time, and for different reasons. Love obviously for the traffic, and hate for their heavy handed approach to control their business partners. For good or bad they’re try to shape the internet into their vision of what is “right”. I don’t think anyone should have that much power. Google is arguably nothing, but a big scraper site themselves. I’ve hung around Blackhat forums in the past, but never had the stomach for going totally black. The internet world is afterall just another shade of grey.

  13. Manish says:

    I’ve got few offers from million dollar etailers who wanted to pay me $100 per month per link. LOL. They’re still doing it!

  14. Personal SEO says:

    Google is a double edged sword. They want to you buy THEIR stuff but penalized you for buying others.. tough and fine line we must walk. Great comic!

  15. Ranked Hard says:

    Sasa – We appreciate the link to our link buying comic and thanks for asking for permission. I don’t read German but the links are good.

  16. Ranked Hard says:

    John

    Good to hear from you. Actually I put that ad up after the comic knowing full well the irony. I was wondering if anyone else would catch it. Hey, paid links work (for now) so I don’t mind advertising a company that does it. We’ll wait for Google to make up their minds what they want to do about it.