Crazy Eddie's 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.
Keyword: Engagement Rings, Ranks #3 & #4
Site Explorer Backlinks
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.