How Google Tells the Difference Between Paid and Normal Links


How Google tells paid links apart
So we have been talking in some length regarding paid links, and why they are bad for you. The whole purpose of this exercise is to highlight the fact that things are changing in the online game. While they are not paradigm changes as yet, there does seem to be a change coming in the way people think about the internet, which in-turn effects how search engines think, or rather, act. Getting a boost in SERPs through paid links that pass PageRank is a thing of the past - I assume you all know that much. But how can you avoid using paid or chap links? And how does Google actually tell the different between paid links and actual links?

Before you read any further, you might be interested to know that this post is part of a series. So if you missed out on any post, here's a listing of this series.

Part3: How Google Tells the Difference Between Paid and Normal Links

As indicated by Google, if you have a high PageRank, say 4 or above, you might be getting emails from various companies asking you to give them a link-back in exchange for money, or paid links, if you will. Tempting as it might be, such links can do you more harm than good. Google is strictly against this practise as we mentioned in our previous post, and you must not fall for such offers.

Why ads are okay, but paid links aren't?

Some of you asked us this question, and I think it's a very genuine question. And with a very simple answer too. You see, the whole concept of paid-links revolves around the idea that some website wants to get an unfair advantage by 'buying' backlinks, and hence increasing its authority. This will in-turn improve its ranking in search results. This is not how Google wants websites to rank, however. Google wants high quality, and the most relevant results returning to its users. And paid links will inevitably impact the accuracy of those search results. So anything that manipulates search results is against Google's quality guidelines and TOS.

Ads, on the other hand, do not manipulate search results. They are used for increasing awareness, improving traffic, and reaching out to more potential customers. They don't have anything to do with search results, which is why they are deemed completely safe by Google, and permissible (except for some type of ads Google doesn't approve of).

How Google tells paid links apart from normal links?

At the back-end, it's mostly a game of keywords. But then again, we don't know what exactly goes on at Google's end, so we can just speculate. But one thing we can be certain of, and that is relevancy. Google will check the relevancy of the site you have linked to the content you have put the link in. Now in most cases, paid-links won't be highly relevant to your blog's content. Google will decide the content on both sides to verify the authenticity of the link. A lot of the times, these paid-link buyers end up automating the process by using robots, which is manifested by the fact that many links might have the same, or similar anchor text, among many other facts. That's a pointer to Google right there.

But what about links you make to other blogs that are not paid? Well, Google has a way of checking that as well. Google will analyze what sort of links are present on the linked website, and what sort of links it is getting. It will also evaluate links on your site to get a feel of the bigger picture. So most likely, your link, if not paid, will pass the scrutiny. We will, however, recommend that you avoid linking to sites not related to your own.

A few people also asked me about guest posting. Well, when you guest post on another blog, or accept others' posts on your own, you usually are accepting content that matches up with your site's keywords. In such situations, putting up links is fine. This is probably why you should mostly guest post about stuff related to your website, and not something random.

If you must link to other websites or content that your own content doesn't really relate to, you can always use the rel="nofollow" tag to identify links you don't want crawlers to follow. And this is basically how ads work. They should be marked with a nofollow tag, otherwise there might still be a bit of a penalty.

Here's something I really want all of you to understand. I don't claim to be a Google expert. I am just sharing my experience. Google, of course, uses advanced algorithms to identify paid-links, and also some other methods known only within Google. All we can do is speculate, because Google has never really told anyone how they do it. If you think some of the above information is wrong, feel free to tell us in the comments below. We'd be glad to correct our mistake. Cheers :)

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24 comments : Post Yours! Read Comment Policy ▼
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  1. Thanks Qasim for answering our question that would paid text link ads be considered as paid links. This post really helps a lot :)

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  2. Big like for this article !
    I was always worried also the linking game !
    Eventhough I searched google, I never got a satisfying reply.
    Thanks for helping !

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Qasim i like your way and i'll follow you
    yatuts

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think we have not to play with Google by any way, it's a big company, and if we want to work for her, then we have to respect her policy, that's it Bloggers, my adsense account has been disabled, but today i'm ready to work hard and to respect google's policy.

    Have a nice day
    MyWay2Blogging

    ReplyDelete
  5. So, the speculation continues! Nevertheless, the article is very well composed. I am sure the title would attract hundreds of readers in the long run.

    ReplyDelete
  6. really great post about paid and normal link. Thanks...

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  7. Then, If we use rel='nofollow' tag for Paid links, They are not considered as Paid links. Right?

    Regards,
    Aravind - Bloggers Lab

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Google ask you to add a rel='nofollow' tag into the paid links, if you are post a paid article on your blog and add rel='nofollow' tag then there is no problem with it.

      Delete
  8. Nice Sharing Qasim Zaib its relay helpful.

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    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Mohammad. My comment is a little bit off topic but relevant to links being placed on one's blog. My comment verges to a new line of questioning which I think should be discussed as well. I don't have advertising on any of my blogs and avoid it like the plague. There are just too many bad websites out there in my opinion to want to advertise their site on my own.

    Your post brings up a lot of different questions for me but the main important one is how do you think Google finds all those comments people leave on one's blog that has links to (irrelevant to your own) websites in them? Most people consider them as spam comments. I consider all comments irrelevant to a particular post as a spam comment. I'm just wondering what or how Google does with and deals with these sort of spam comments. I wonder if Google collects the spammed urlss and puts them into a black list folder or something? We may never know. You probably don't know the answer and its okay if you don't.

    You know what would even be nicer than deleting spam comments, is having the option to remove links from an anonymous comment, or somehow finding out who is leaving anonymous comments so one can block further comments from them on one's blog. Having links placed on your blog to often dangerous websites, by anonymous commentors, I believe is often worse than having a paid text link on your blog - or a simple advertising.

    I am curious about the way Google searches for links, etc, as the next person is but I believe their search methods should mostly be a secret to the public, so people who try to add too many ads (or website links in comments) on their blog get caught out by Google. Blog owners should do the right thing by Google, considering the company is giving us so much in return, including free blogs/websites.

    I think, also, as blog owners we have a duty to keep our blogs safe for other visitors to our blog. I have found that some websites actually avoid advertising altogether and have set up these popup advertising windows the moment you click on their website. I wrote a post on how to get rid of these links from your blog on one of my blogs - on my Blogger Tutorials blog. Having paid advertising on our blogs is one thing but popup advertising windows is something we all can do without. As a blog owner how are we supposed to protect our blog from spammers and bad websites in the first place, when websites and spammers intentionally go out of their way to avoid paid advertising in the first place? Keep up the great posts.

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  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  11. @bdelkarim Mywaytoblogging
    you are right brother I agree with your point we have to respect Google policy

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  12. Qasim bro, I guess it should be 'Part 3' :P

    And one more question. What if some site creates an ad spot winner contest on his/her site and the site provided doesn't relate to niche? Would his site be penalized by Google?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Fantastic post, Qasim!
    I believe its great place to share information. :)

    ReplyDelete
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  15. @Mehul Mohanwell, thank you for the correction :D
    You have an excellent question. The simple answer is, simply make that link nofollow. That is how ads are supposed to be. You'll be hurting yourself if you don't

    ReplyDelete
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    please can u help for another reason.
    Earlier i create a blog named tunerway.com but now the domain is expired......now i cannot renew it , because i make this domain for free from intuit.com..
    NOW THIS DOMAIN IS tunerway.blogspot.com
    Please tell me can i redirect tunerway.com to tunerway.blogspot.com .
    please....

    ReplyDelete
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