Search Engine Optimization Tips and Tricks – Learn how to increase visibility in Search Engines – Part 15 – Avoid paid links

In the previous post (Advantage of links to SEO), I covered the importance of links as a part of a SEO strateg. Links are very important to get your blog ranked highly, as long as those links are from good sources, since links from trashy sites are likely to drag you down.
In this post, I will be looking at what are some of the problems associated with a strategy of trying to increase your SEO rating by buying links or using such programs, such that search engines associate you with trying to subvert the normal method of getting people to rate your site by linking to it, and accordingly penalize you. Let me put out a few links and blog posts that convey how serious this is (and remember, if you are using such a scheme, there is a very good chance that the folks at Google Search also know about it, and if they detect you using it, then they are likely to penalize you for it).
Google Help on Paid Links (link)

A site’s ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to it. Link-based analysis is an extremely useful way of measuring a site’s value, and has greatly improved the quality of web search. Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results. 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.

Thus, if you are having a paid link to your site, then be sure that it has a ‘nofollow’ tag associated with it; but then that does not help your site in terms of PageRank, so might as well not do it.
Google Help on Link Schemes (link)

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.

What does this mean ? It means that if you indulge in buying or selling of links that do not have ‘nofollow’ tags (which pass PageRank), then Google can reduce the PageRank of your site, and for sites that are dependent on search engines to provide the traffic to them, this can be disastrous. If you do indeed face such a penalty, you can remove such links and apply again, but everything takes time. Google has implemented this for many sites that were selling such links.
To make it clear again, Google is worried about links and states this as a policy in terms of what to avoid: “paid links that flow PageRank and attempt to game Google’s rankings.”
So, be very careful about using paid links.

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