Is paying for links cheating if done like this...

13 replies
  • SEO
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So I can't really work out whether or not this is something google would penalise..

I'm not going to name the firm to either give them advertising or subject them to public scrutiny, but I wanted to talk about their business model and see if people think this is something google would frown upon..

There is a company offering link building services which has been spoken about many times on the web..

The company offers a pay on link placement where you can choose your anchor text HOWEVER, the money you pay goes to the company itself, they themselves outreach to a number of independent blogs/sites that they have a relationship with who then post the article if they like it.

So just to clarify, you are paying this company for getting the link, but the webmaster themselves who is posting the article and link on the site is not taking payment...

What are your thoughts on this?
#cheating #links #paying
  • Only if Google catches this company and all of his links are going to a handful of sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author KulaShaker1
    the company advertises in a very prominent way.. so if you believe that google wouldnt approve of the method, then it's only a matter of time before it is caught.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    How would Google know what sites they are working with?

    What you are describing is pretty much what every SEO on the planet does. You pay me, and I build and/or acquire links to your website.

    It's not the only thing I do as an SEO, but it is a large part of the job.
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  • Profile picture of the author dburk
    Hi KulaShaker1,

    Technically speaking, that is promotional activity, and not true SEO, but most people don't know the difference, and many that do like to blur the line. Just because SEO and Search Engine promotion share the same goal, doesn't mean that they are the same activity.

    There is nothing wrong with paying a search marketing firm to perform webmaster outreach activities. However, pay for placement is cause for a penalty.

    It matters how they perform that "outreach" activity.

    Ultimately it is you, that hires the firm, that is responsible for their activities. It behooves you to investigate and monitor their activity in much the same way you would do with an employee of your business.

    If the firm is not willing to give you a detailed accounting of their activity then you might be better off going elsewhere for webmaster outreach services.

    HTH,

    Don Burk
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  • Profile picture of the author KulaShaker1
    Hi Mike

    I often think what I would do if I was google to stop cheating when it comes to link building. Google write the rules so there is no code or general practice they need to adhere to.

    if I was head of spam at google, I would probably look at the service provided and think to myself.. if people can just 'buy' their way into links ... directly or indirectly.. and even manipulate anchor text, then I would discount the links.. I would use the service of the site (google disguised as a customer) and find the link patterns using a computer algorythm which would suggest an unatrual link pattern and then disocunt the links coming from the sites to other websites.

    Im not google.. in not even an SEO, i just wanted to know what people's views where on the service and if im write to steer away from the tactic..
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
      Originally Posted by KulaShaker1 View Post

      Hi Mike

      I often think what I would do if I was google to stop cheating when it comes to link building. Google write the rules so there is no code or general practice they need to adhere to.

      if I was head of spam at google, I would probably look at the service provided and think to myself.. if people can just 'buy' their way into links ... directly or indirectly.. and even manipulate anchor text, then I would discount the links.. I would use the service of the site (google disguised as a customer) and find the link patterns using a computer algorythm which would suggest an unatrual link pattern and then disocunt the links coming from the sites to other websites.

      Im not google.. in not even an SEO, i just wanted to know what people's views where on the service and if im write to steer away from the tactic..

      I think it largely depends on how they are fulfilling their orders. If they are reaching out to legitimate websites related to the clients' sites, that is one thing.

      If they have a group of 50 domains that they own and every client who signs up gets their links posted on those same 50 domains, that is just a shitty PBN that they are selling links off of. They are probably trying to make it sound like something better than that, but really it is just a turd.
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  • Profile picture of the author KulaShaker1
    hi Don

    Well they have explained how they work, so my question is - would you class it as pay for placement and does it deserve a penalty?
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    • Profile picture of the author dburk
      Originally Posted by KulaShaker1 View Post

      hi Don

      Well they have explained how they work, so my question is - would you class it as pay for placement and does it deserve a penalty?

      Hi KulaShaker1,

      Your post did not provide enough details to discern for certain whether or not it is pay-for-placement. It depends on the nature of the "relationship" and other factors.

      This sentence does concern me a bit:
      " ...they themselves outreach to a number of independent blogs/sites that they have a relationship with who then post the article if they like it."
      It seems to imply that there is a pre-existing relationship with a private blog network that may be getting compensation for backlink placements. If that is true, then it definitely falls into the pay-for-placement web spam category that Google is likely to penalize if they detect it.

      Hiring an agency to purchase pay-for-placement backlinks on your behalf, does not insulate you from penalties for search engine manipulation practices done on your behalf by that agency. Google frowns on it regardless if it is a brokered arrangement or directly purchased.

      Having said that, there is nothing wrong with having backlinks placed in a PBN, as long as it is done the right way. So there are a lot of variables that could make it legitimate link building practice, or scummy web spam itching for a penalty. The devil is in the details.

      The problem begins when Search Rank Promoters start looking for short cuts to more cost effective link building practices that are intended to manipulate search rankings. Genuine webmaster outreach activity can be time consuming and costly, Many agencies for hire are going to look for short cuts to higher profits and that's what gets people in trouble.

      HTH,

      Don Burk
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  • Profile picture of the author Dabby Rouse
    it's not a crime, there are many such companies, it's a business
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    • Profile picture of the author KulaShaker1
      crime punishable by prison = no..

      cheating by acquiring links = possibly.
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  • There are currently too many SPAM and Google's algorithms are becoming more and more intelligent. They just flag the page from where the links come from and you have a problem and a drop in positions. Use Google products - it's worth it.
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  • Profile picture of the author michaelkoehler92
    Well If you have a control over the Anchor text then for sure the link are paid since if you get a link for free the webmaster who is going to post will have the control and you wont have any control over it.

    Just to let you know there are many companies rising up right now who build PBN website which imitate just like a real blog but they are not. Those companies themselves have access to those website and just post your link over it.

    If you want to have a perfect idea Just ask them to send you some samples under your niche and check the website properly to see if they are real or not.
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  • Profile picture of the author jamie3000
    Yes its cheating but everyone does it and there is little chance of getting caught so go for it :-)
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