Having paid links on your Blog – don’t !

As your blog becomes more popular and you start to get an increasing number of people visiting your site, the temptation to have paid ads on your site must be tempting ! For most people who have Adsense, getting some more Ads for which they are paid for just hosting the ad (as long as they are getting a number of users coming to their web page) is welcome additional revenue. However, in my opinion (and after reading a lot of external comments), my advice is not to either try to get additional traffic for your site by paying people for putting a link to your site, or to put links to other sites that are paid links. Google does not like it, and is fairly aggressive in responding to it.
Here are some comments from Google help on this issue (link1, link2):

Your site’s ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to you. The quantity, quality, and relevance of links count towards your rating. The sites that link to you can provide context about the subject matter of your site, and can indicate its quality and popularity. However, some webmasters engage in link exchange schemes and build partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. This is in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results. Examples of link schemes can include:
Links intended to manipulate PageRank
Links to web spammers or bad neighborhoods on the web
Excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging (“Link to me and I’ll link to you.”)
Buying or selling links that pass PageRank

Not all paid links violate our guidelines. Buying and selling links is a normal part of the economy of the web when done for advertising purposes, and not for manipulation of search results. Links purchased for advertising should be designated as such. This can be done in several ways, such as:
Adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute to the href tag

Redirecting the links to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file

Google works hard to ensure that it fully discounts links intended to manipulate search engine results, such excessive link exchanges and purchased links that pass PageRank.

There are many programs that promote selling of text link ads / banner ads on sites, and can lead to a major problem for you if you fall afoul of Google.

Here are some additional links that discuss this issue:


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