RSS Directory

With today being Google’s anniversary, I might as well keep all my posts about them today. In the heated debate of whether or not Google penalizes sites for paid links, I gathered some information for your review.

The most notorious sites for having paid links are paid web directories, who charge you a fee to include your site in their directory. Most people understand that they will not see much, if any, traffic from these sites, but the reason they purchase the links is to accumulate backlinks for their sites in efforts to boost their Google PageRank.

Well, Google has no problem when it comes to paying for links in efforts to drive traffic to your site. For example, if you paid for a sitewide link to your site on my blog, you would be doing so in efforts to draw traffic to your site- not in efforts to boost your PageRank (PR). Google also prefers for site owners to flag paid links with a “nofollow” attribute so that their spiders can ignore such links.

Google understands the real reason why people pay for links in many of these online web directories, and they seem to have begun to penalize them for it. For example, I’ll name seven very popular web directories:

Aviva directory
Zorg links
Alive web directory
Big web links

Forplex
Directory dump
Elegant directory

Any website owner understands that its pretty much a given that your site will show up #1 in Google’s search results for its own name. However, if you click on any of the links above, you will see that none of these well known web directories appear in the search results for their own name! Oddly enough, if you do the same exact search in Yahoo, you will find that those sites will appear as the first listing for the same search term!

Is this just a common change that a site’s indexed pages go through just before a PageRank update, or is this something long term? Google has been reaching out to the public for quite a while asking people to report paid links to them so that they can use that information to “improve [their] algorithmic detection of paid links”.  You can read Google’s policy about paid links here.

Now, many web directory owners disprove this by saying that their directories have seen no change in SERPs (search engine results page). However, the directories that have seen no changes seem to be of much smaller scale than some of the larger directories mentioned above. Google can’t pick up on every single link that they wouldn’t particularly care for, so it seems that theses smaller directories are flying under Google’s radar. Get too big and you get noticed.

The twist on all of this is that if you search for the term “web directory” in Google, what comes up as the first result? Check it and see. (That particular directory is free, however.)

I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this? Have paid web directories become a thing of the past, or is this just jumping the gun on something temporary? Has the years of hard work from the owners of these paid directories now gone to waste?

*For information on Text-Link-Ads and Google, go to this post.


Category: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Article posted by: Neon on September 7th, 2007



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12 Comments to “Is Google Dropping Paid Links?” »

Comment by steve
Sep 07 2007 at 11:09 am

Anyone who invests in paid link directories are wasting their money anyway! LOL…

People buy links thinking that its going to help their PR. The link directories HOMEPAGE may have a good PR, but look at the internal pages. Look at the PR of the page which contains your link- ZERO!

So, you just paid 20-70 bucks for a link to a PR0 page. Good for you. Geez. What a waste of money. Now all those people paid for links and the sites are now being penalized by google! There’s no easy way around hard work and legitimate link building to build your PR.

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Comment by Samantha
Sep 07 2007 at 1:25 pm

You’re so far off from reality you dont know what youre talking about. Why do you think people pay for links? Because they’re worthless? No way.

 
 
Comment by cher
Sep 07 2007 at 1:58 pm

I’ve submitted my site to Aviva, from then onwards, my site is nowhere in GOOGLE.

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Comment by Blogs for Money
Sep 07 2007 at 2:04 pm

Interesting observation!

I think it’s the start of the end for paid links. And I can’t say I feel sorry for anyone that’s put money into it. If you have to think twice before doing something to increase your rank, you shouldn’t be doing it. There’s one certain way to get to the top of the search engines: Have the best content.

You might be able to trick Google now and then, but you’ll eventually be found out, and being completely dumped out of Google for a few weeks of higher placements isn’t worth it. Put the effort into putting better content on your site and people will naturally link to you, and Google will have more stuff to index.

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Sep 07 2007 at 2:14 pm

[…] notice is in follow-up of my previous post about how Google is hitting sites hard which are based on paid links. They’ve been warning […]

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Comment by Jimson Lee
Sep 07 2007 at 2:48 pm

I knew they had been talking about this but never seen any results. WOW I cant believe it…. This is really something everyone should think about.

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Comment by Michael Martinez
Sep 07 2007 at 3:40 pm

When it comes to stamping out paid links, Google has been looking at far more than just paid link directories. They have been aggressively penalizing sites and stripping sites of their ability to confer (internal, not Toolbar) PageRank and anchor text for selling links.

Is this the beginning of the end of paid links? If there is an end in sight then its beginning more likely came last year.

I would say it’s too soon to know if the paid link industry is about to collapse under the weight of Google’s algorithmic restructuring.

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Comment by YC
Sep 08 2007 at 1:41 am

It is likely the paid text link industry will evolve into something else. I do not know what, but they would probably find a way round this. I think this affects those who have concentrated on paying for links more, and it does show that at the end of the day if you want to do well with Google, you should know what it looks for – content.

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Comment by Get More Traffic
Sep 08 2007 at 1:07 pm

Excellent post, great for debate.

Their problem is that they don’t want people buying top positions in the SERPs. There should never be a way to do that. The big players are then paying others for top spots when they could have been paying Googs. Why does that piss you off??

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Sep 09 2007 at 3:03 am

[…] has a couple of thought-provoking posts on how Google seems to be dealing with paid text links. Be sure to check out his first video post where he talks about how to break down your goals into […]

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Comment by Web Designer
Sep 19 2007 at 4:54 am

Yes,you are correct ,
google is certainly dumping paid links but this is not true for all web directories.
many great directories are still ranking high in the SERP’s.
the reason because these directories are dumped because they are simply maid for earning revenue.
Let me share with you my experience.
i did a paid submission of of one of my site to two different high pagerank directories.
one directory was from the list above (i do not want to name) and other was a directory with PR8.
i submitted my site to both the directories with the same content and same everything.
you know what happened. the first directory from the above list approved my link within 24 hours and the other directory refused my link saying that the site did not have unique content.
moral of the post: the directories dumped are just concerned with the subscription money and not with the quality of the link and see the result they are dumped now.

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