Sunday, April 15, 2007

I support Matt Cutts

Ah-ah. Lots of SEO people normally like to reinforce how much they like Matt and how they got on well with him. I've only personally spoken to him a few times at SES this year - and I'm not going to claim anything more than that. What struck me was how pleased he was to talk to other search engine programmers but also webmasters.

I've not been afraid to be unpopular with this blog and say that I support nofollow. I even pushed the boat further out by explaining why link sellers are taking a risk. I imagine that if this blog had a higher readership then I would have had more angry comments.

It should come as no surprise that I wholeheartedly support Matt's post to encourage people to report paid links. Use the spam form (authenticated or not) and include "paidlink" in the text body.

A lot of people are hostile to this. Why?
  • They've sold campaigns to clients and explicitly said they would buy links - now they're exposed
  • They've convinced themselves that some paid links are appropriate - I think this is the most common one
  • They make most of their money buying or selling links
  • They need to buy links in order to get their SEO to work
The thing to note is this - Google's guidelines have said that ethical agencies report spam. They have said this for a while.

6 comments:

Adam C said...

Andrew, interesting stance.

Where do you put paid directory submissions in the link buying debate?

Fraser Edwards said...

Andrew - what are your thoughts on Pay Per Post, Review Me etc?

Andrew Girdwood said...

Hi Adam C,

Google's guidelines still say use directories and include Yahoo as an example. You pay for Yahoo so paid directories are fine with me.

I know it's more complex than that. A directory looks like a directory. Google and weigh the links appropriately.

That's different from a blog site selling "editorial" space or navigation links. In those instances Google needs to sort out the natural flow of the web from the paid-for interruption.

I think that's the main difference. Directories are honest and accountable. Paid links are more sneaky and sly!

Andrew Girdwood said...

Hi Fraser,

Thanks for your post. I think I'm write in saying that Wordpress has gone as far as banning Pay Per Post.

I think the UK it's edging towards becoming illegal to do - an advert which does not declare itself as one.

If you're just using pay-per-post to get keyword rich anchor tags in then we just have that sneaky link buying (unlike the 'honest' directory approach) which Google dislikes.

I know many good bloggers make their income from this - but it's certainly not something I'd recommend to a client (writing or paying).

fraser edwards said...

Thanks for your reply Andrew.

It's not a method I have used yet although I've been looking at the options and to me it doesn't seem all that different.

Is a paid review which is declared as paid really any different from a paid directory?

Andrew Girdwood said...

Hi Fraser,

I do have to disagree with you. A directory like BOTW.org is clearly a hierarchical collection of links. Google and other search engines can see that. A link within a directory can be measured as such.

This blog, for example, is a regressive archive of content. A link in one of my posts looks like I'm writing about that site, picking it out for a special mention and a pay-per-post is designed to falsely generate a link that looks like that for the target site.