Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Paid For Posts (PPP) and Google PageRank

After Google's April 2009 PageRank update, there has once again been a commotion and confusion about the issue of links in paid-for-posts and how they affect PageRank. As far as Google is concerned, their stand is crystal clear. Their webmaster guidelines dictate a nofollow attribute on such links as Google's Matt Cutts and Maile Ohye explain,

Our goal is to provide users the best search experience by presenting equitable and accurate results. We enjoy working with webmasters, and an added benefit of our working together is that when you make better and more accessible content, the internet, as well as our index, improves. This in turn allows us to deliver more relevant search results to users.

If, however, a webmaster chooses to buy or sell links for the purpose of manipulating search engine rankings, we reserve the right to protect the quality of our index. Buying or selling links that pass PageRank violates our webmaster guidelines. Such links can hurt relevance by causing:
  • Inaccuracies: False popularity and links that are not fundamentally based on merit, relevance, or authority
  • Inequities: Unfair advantage in our organic search results to websites with the biggest pocketbooks
Cutts also discussed the issue in his own blog, saying,

Many people who work on ranking at search engines think that selling links can lower the quality of links on the web. If you want to buy or sell a link purely for visitors or traffic and not for search engines, a simple method exists to do so (the nofollow attribute). Google's stance on selling links is pretty clear and we're pretty accurate at spotting them, both algorithmically and manually. Sites that sell links can lose their trust in search engines.

At an earlier post, he went on,

Yet another "pay-for-blogging" (PFB) business launched, this time by Text Link Brokers. It should be clear from Google’s stance on paid text links, but if you are blogging and being paid by services like Pay Per Post, ReviewMe, or SponsoredReviews, links in those paid-for posts should be made in a way that doesn't affect search engines (emphasis mine). The rel="nofollow" attribute is one way, but there are numerous other ways to do paid links that won’t affect search engines, e.g. doing an internal redirect through a url that is forbidden from crawling by robots.txt.

Links above will help you find numerous sources discussing the issue and guide you in the right direction.

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Intelligence said...

Wow I never knew that. I guess what google says is true. PPP gives certain users an unfair advantage but it sounds like they're making too big of a deal about it.

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