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“I’m glad you asked, son. Being popular is the most important thing in the world.” – Homer Simpson
It is important to be popular on the Internet and buying links helps with that. Link buying has certainly gotten a bad rap lately. Especially from Google and a certain Mr. Matt Cutts. I don’t want to split hairs, but isn’t essentially all advertising on the web link buying? I realize the difference when you are buying links in order to achieve higher rankings versus buying links in order to increase your brand and drive traffic. But sometimes the line between the two becomes blurred and that is where I get a bit frustrated. It would seem if you buy a link you better have a nofollow attribute attached. But the problem is most people and site owners have no idea what that is. So if I buy a link, must I become more proactive and explain why the nofollow should be attached. I guess Google thinks I should, but is it my fault if it isn’t done. Do I get penalized for that?
But, you know, sometimes buying links is all the little guy can do to compete with larger more established sites. And while the credo of good content will draw links, it doesn’t work that way in the real world much of the time. Small site owners are forced to buy links to gain better rankings. Finding the time to run a business is hard enough without the pressure of writing brilliant content and then hoping people will find it and link to it, right?
On the other hand, link buying has gotten out of control and Google’s way to handle it was to penalize both the link buyer and the link seller. The problem is, just about everyone is buying links in competitive markets, but only a few are actually getting penalized. The playing field isn’t fair and Google has made it worse by turning everyone against each other by asking site owners to report other sites for link buying. The Internet has only been around for a short while and already it has brought out the worst in us. Okay, I’m going a bit overboard, but you see my point. Google created a system based on link popularity and now it is being abused, but they had to see that coming, so isn’t there a better way?
I don’t have an answer, but maybe Blekko does.