Back to the original purpose of this blog, to answer Questions. and the question is ” how can Google identify bought links?” for obvious reasons the guy who asked the question didn’t want to be linked to (I wonder why)
How can Google tell if a link is a vote or bought?
The simple answer is they CAN’T. yep because it is impossible algorithmically to determine if money has changed hands! But it is not as simple as that. The question really is not ‘CAN Google identify individual paid links’?, but rather,
do they HAVE TO?
Google have smart sub algorithms. if you think that G has just the one size fits all, then you are wrong. Why do you think Google is now (and has been for 18 months or more), spidering FAR more pages than it indexes? WHY?
If you are to understand SEO then these are the questions you need to ask yourself. Google uses MASSES of amounts of processing power and it is well known that a year or two they were struggling with capacity. So Why do you think at this time, when they are struggling for capacity, that they start spidering more pages than they intend adding to the index?
The only answer is to evaluate more pages, and check on a larger spread of pages, but for what?
Moving on. People have the wrong idea about how Google does things, why do you believe that Google looks at each LINK individually? it doesn’t really do that (although it is now known that they are fighting hand to hand which is something they said in the past they didn’t do) .
Google is an algorithmic beast, it ‘best guesses’ things based on mathematical probability. EVERYTHING comes down to mathematical probability. E.G. this site is the best because 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 etc all add up to say so.
Onwards and upwards we go. Here are some things from the Google webmaster guidelines to consider. :~
Don’t link to bad neighbourhoods as this may harm your site.
Don’t participate in schemes designed to increase your page rank
Don’t buy links
3 little things, so let’s look at it in practice.
A high page rank site that is themed on medical research, is well trusted, suddenly starts linking out to sites that are incompatible with regard trust in the eyes of Google. The sites it is linking to are using common content, are not cited by any other authoritative sites, and really have nothing going for them.
If a well respected person started endorsing products of all shapes and sizes, most of which are crap, you would QUICKLY lose confidence and respect in that person. What makes you think the web is any different? the web reflect real life offline, and once you get your head around that simple statement of fact, you will find life a lot easier online.
A blogging network gets found out.,people have been reporting various sites, and the Google link-mapper has found that they cluster into a neighbourhood. BOOM you have a dodgy neighbourhood. This scenario plays out hundreds of times a day in Google.
So how does this affect you? it doesn’t, yet!
BUT you go out buying links, you buy 50 links, 30 of those are from suspect or known bad neighbourhoods. You have no heavy duty links, in fact you have absolutely no links of any consequence! and many of the links you have are reciprocal links.. hmmmmmmmm
Can this site be trusted? let’s cluster around this site and see if we can pull any other sites into the cluster.
Where do you source your bought links? Do you REALLY think that Google doesn’t have an army of people who spend time on forums like DP, etc tracking down link sellers? Why do you think you have enquiries that don’t come through?
DAY after DAY after Day Google are building bad clusters. because if you remove the crap your relevance gets better.
Back to Algorithms
What are the CLASSIC characteristics of paid links?
1. small text
2. grouped together in blocks
3. placed to the side or in the footer.
Microsoft patented a technology called Block Level Link Analysis, this is a vision based information retrieval system . They did this a few years back, have Google licenced it. What it does is lay out pages in visual format for Google to work on. Not sure if this can be done? how do you think Google produce heat maps?
By now you might be getting an idea of how, if a simple uneducated chap from Wales can work out how to find pockets of spammers. What can Google with their hundreds of PHD’s and unlimited resources achieve?
Google do not, and, can not, differentiate between two links on a page with regard which is bought and which natural, but that is the beauty of it all you see. THEY DON’T HAVE TO! that isn’t the Google way, never has been likely never will be.
It is the wet behind the ears SEO’s that are talking about this. people who don’t understand SE and search engines at all, but yet call themselves SEO’s, take money from clients, and try to justify what they do with things like ‘how can Google tell which links on pages are paid?” Again I say, they don’t HAVE TO!
Google will decide whether or not to trust a site, or even a PAGE on a site, Google can and does punish GROUPS of sites (bad neighbourhoods). Google uses trust as a MAJOR factor in its algorithm. IF Google decides a SITE is untrustworthy, then ALL outbound links will be affected, and sites linking to it will also have their trust level affected .
So what is the answer? the answer is to do what the pro’s have been doing for a while, and that is to get links from people who do not sell links! And if you buy links, buy them for traffic, and treat everything else as a bonus.
Think about it