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  1. Son Of Spam
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    Is Buying Links Black Hat?


    The definition of black hat is simply this,

    webmaster's who do not follow all the rules and guidelines of search engines, techiques used to cheat, or manipulate search engines for faster results in obtaining better serps, more traffic, and higher PR.

    Ok then, isn't buying links black hat? I mean it's not the "natrual process" for obtaining links. It's intent is clearly to get faster results by manipulating SE. And there have been discussion about Google looking at ways to combat this technique on searchenginewatch, where Google Guy frequents.

    The benefits of buying links from high PR sites are undeniable! All one has to do is buy a text link from a PR6 or higher and he gets indexed the next day. Buy some more high PR links and bingo, your PR increases. These were not earned, they were bought to fully manipulate SE. How is that different then other BH techniques with similar goals and results?

    Doesn't this give weight to the belief that some techniques that started out as BH become WH? So what makes them wh then? Are we not all SE manipulators?

    Not trying to argue, just invite stimulating discussion.
    Personally I don't care if people buy links, but Google seems to.
    Last edited by Bud Wiser; Jul 30th, 2005 at 12:36 PM.
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    no process whereby a webmaster solicits inbound links is a "natural process".

    Technically speaking reciprocal links are also an "artificial" way of obtaining links. The only natural links are ones that are given without any solicitation whatsoever. Even directory links are "artificial" in that you are paying an entity to give you an inbound link.

    In the end, most SEO efforts are "technically" a way to artificially influence SERPs, so we are all "black hats" in one way or another. I would say that buying or selling text links is no more black hat than engaging in reciprocal linking.

    The best argument for the legitimacy of text link advertising is the fact that the major sites that promote it are not banned by Google. If google was against it they would have banned linkadage.com, text-link-ads.com, and all the other text link ad sites a long time ago.
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    Apparently the no-no is "to buy or sell links for the purposes of increasing PR or ranking", buy them for advertising purposes, and everything is Ticketyboo ;-)
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    EGOL
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    I feel that there are legitimate advertising opportunities on the web. These are no different than buying an ad in a magazine or newspaper. No sin there in any way. If you buy an ad on the homepage of a website that is highly related to your online retail it is a good business opportunity. If you get a link from it then that is a bonus. This is White hat and wise - especially if your ad is in prominant position with an image to catch attention and maybe a little text for sales pitch. IMO the web is all about this type of advertising.

    I don't know how google can disapprove of this type of advertising because isn't this just like their adsense product???? The only difference is that the webmaster is selling the space direct to advertiser.

    The opposite extreme would be buying links on every page of a gigantic site that is totally unrelated to your business - and those links are down at the footer with a few dozen other text links. These ads are bought for manipulation of search results.

    To answer your question... my opinion is that it depends upon the intent of the person buying the links and the type of links that they are buying. Where I would place them in the white - gray - black spectrum? Somewhere between white and gray - my definition of black hat is something in the SERPs that tricks people into the site. Like a viagra or weight loss page that is optimized for Florida Beaches just to show the ads and has nothing to do with Florida Beaches (even though lots of people going there want to have a trim body and great sex appeal) - or a page that is in violation of a search engine's webmaster guidelines.

    Bottom line, if you are buying links get the ones that will bring you traffic - and those are genuine advertising.
    Last edited by EGOL; Jul 30th, 2005 at 12:54 PM.
    * "It's not the size of the dog in the fight that matters, it's the size of the fight in the dog." Mark Twain
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  9. Son Of Spam
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    The buying links to obtain better PR has become a more widespread practice then any other bh technique, more people are doing that then cloaking, or hiden text, or keyword stuffing, or any other bh technique. Google is well aware of this, and rumor has it that they are indeed looking at ways to discount such links obtained this way. The rumors are from good sources and have not been denied by Google Guy. Right now this is the number one form of SE manipulation method. While it is highly unlikely these sites will ever get banned or heavily penalized, thier link status will be discounted if G has it's way. Perhaps this will be a case of wh technique turned bh?
    Last edited by Bud Wiser; Jul 30th, 2005 at 12:55 PM.
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    *I don't know how google can disapprove of this type of advertising because isn't this just like their adsense product?*

    Not quite, AdSense ads are in JS, AdWords are redirects, so no PR/ranking advantage there.

    *..my opinion is that it depends upon the intent of the person buying the links..*

    How would G determine that?
    Last edited by glengara; Jul 30th, 2005 at 01:02 PM.
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  13. Banned
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    Hell yes and it can kill you!


    You guys sure remember the Search King case where they filed suit against Google for loss of Page Rank after Google devalued all of the links they sold since they sold them (priced them based on PR of the page they were linked from) to raise buyers PR.

    You have heard of Blue Find who's directory pages were devalued after they went out promoting PR6 directory links.

    Have you seen TextLinkBrokerage who ripped off many webmasters by selling links? All of the sites they sold links off of were all striped of PR and all those that purchased links from them (William Cross) got burned.

    Since this happened they are not selling links to webmasters but are looking for bigger fish (suckers to buy wholesale) to rip off.

    http://www.textlinkbrokerage.com/purchase.html

    What a scam artist this guy is, these are the types of links the Search Engines are going after.
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    EGOL
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    Originally Posted by glengara
    AdSense ads are in JS, AdWords are redirects, so no PR/ranking advantage there.

    How would G determine (intent)?
    True, but that doesn't make buying advertising a sin. It's smart business and I don't think that google can disagree one bit or expect all webmasters to use JS on all ads.

    Determining intent is impossible. But they probably value the links differently based upon theme, page position and the reputation of the site showing the ads.
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    sure, but Google decides the intent, and they aren't stupid. The Google employee can press either the OK, or the Ban checkbox. it's that simple.

    Originally Posted by EGOL
    To answer your question... my opinion is that it depends upon the intent of the person buying the links and the type of links that they are buying.
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    Link buying links with the purpose of increasing search engine rankings are not white hat nor is it black hat. It is a gray hat thing to do.

    If you want to be a real white hat then you should only buy advertising to build your brand and to increase traffic to your web site. A white hat would not mind a rel="nofollow" on the links in the ads.

    Is it safe to buy links? I think so. I buy links and a recommend others to buy links.

    Will the search engines do something. I think they already are! Block level analysis are pretty nifty when it comes to identifying which parts of the page layout that contain real content. At some point in the near future headers, footers, navigation and ad areas will not have any value when it comes to search engine rankings.
    Last edited by sorvoja; Jul 30th, 2005 at 01:15 PM.
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    Buying links to increase your rankings is black hat

    just because the odds of getting caught are small does not make it any less against the guidellines

    Google does not care about "its just advertising"
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  23. SEO Elite
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    I personally do not buy links. But what if your buying text links for advertising? You can get penalized for that? Without advertising there would be no businesses...
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  25. Banned
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    Not really, simple text links sold directly from a site will not hurt you, but they are going after known "link farms" that include reciprocal link scams, reciprocal link directories and link brokers that sell PR.
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    It is the search engines that should adapt to the web site not the other way around. Advertising is very important to almost any business, and has been an important part of the web since Wired sold that banner ad back in 1994 (or was it 95?).

    The search engines have no business telling us what to do or what not to do, their business is to create the best possible product for their users. Nothing more.
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    With all due respect, they have a right to delete sites that simply go out and get hundreds of thousands of links that mean nothing other than in the vain minds of the webmasters that think that the more links they get the higher they will be in the SERP's.
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