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  1. Contributing User
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    Forbes Mag & Paid Links Expose!


    quite a great read here on a google forum --

    http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters/thread?tid=4d212d4d4f5964a8&hl=en

    as you'll note, it's all about Forbes magazine site being caught with paid link offerings and getting penalized by google....

    AND as a real bonus, both JohnMu and Matt Cutts weigh in on same on behalf of google..

    note too, that this was "found" by Barry of rustybrick, an ex member here....

    any many of us blogged about same too....myself included!

    a great read as it unravels the whole paid links/penalty & "what-chu-talking-bout" wide-eyed query from the OP who is the head of marketing I think for Forbes...

    DO read this...specially those of you who sell links or buy same....



    Jim

    Comments on this post

    • distinctseo agrees
    • KernelPanic agrees : Thanks Jim
    • EGOL agrees : lol thanks!
    • NathanielB agrees : Thanks Jim :)
    Jim Rudnick
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    read. learn. hypothesize. test. analyze...then rank!

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    Thank you for sharing - what I found almost more interesting was the discussion that ensued in the comments below the story on TC.
    A lot of people seem to feel like Google isn't justified in making you play by "their rules" and that Google should fix their algorithms so they aren't "link based".

    I wonder what they'd propose as a solution?
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  5. Super Moderator
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    Looks like they took those pages down pretty quickly, too
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  7. nobody
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    Read it on tech crunch and thats how google found out but they won't admit it. They want people to think their algorithm picked it up.

    If links are extremely relevant, there is no way of Google telling.

    For example NYTimes has a bunch of sidelinks here I find it very relevant under their list of "A list of resources " which very well could be sold link. HOw could google know?

    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/c/credit/payday_loans/index.html?scp=1-spot&sq=payday%20loans&st=cse

    Forbes was ratted out a while back because they were dealing with Conductor and Google was just watching them closely manually. And also they have bashed Google in the past so here is another reason.

    IMO, in battle of buying and selling links, GOOGLE WILL LOSE!
    My best advise for googlers, if any of them is reading this, is that they need to start thinking away from links as major ranking factors and put more focus elsewhere. The social media signal was a good move, they need to be more creative however.

    my two cents
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    Note to Self: Bookmark this link. http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters/user?userid=15154945144548427878&hl=en
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    I had a newspaper Journalist working for me for a while writing content. He had been in the newspaper business for 30 years and written for many large papers.

    One of the things he always did when writing an article was keep a list of sources he used to write the article. Sometimes the list had up to 30 links/resources.

    I thought it was great.

    If everyone did this we would be in a very different Google world.

    So don't snap judgement on newspapers and links, it's in their nature to give out links to resources.

    Comments on this post

    • jack0 agrees : Create an International "Throw Google Off" week where everyone links to random sites from their highest PR pages.
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    Originally Posted by bkseo
    IMO, in battle of buying and selling links, GOOGLE WILL LOSE!
    I wouldn't bet the farm on it. Google has shut the door on every unnatural rank manipulation scheme we have come up with since they opened their doors... up to the current ones

    They absolutely will win and it will be algorithmic.

    imo
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    Originally Posted by Dice79
    So don't snap judgement on newspapers and links, it's in their nature to give out links to resources.
    If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.....
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  17. nobody
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    Originally Posted by KernelPanic
    I wouldn't bet the farm on it. Google has shut the door on every unnatural rank manipulation scheme we have come up with since they opened their doors... up to the current ones

    They absolutely will win and it will be algorithmic.

    imo
    Is that why they coudn't pick up on JCPennys linking scheme until it was reported? Also did you look at my NYtimes links? How does Google, or you, know that those are or are not paid links?

    Even if Forbes was caught, another newspaper can link out to highly relevant websites under term "partner" and Google couldn't be able to judge if they are paid or not. They could be very well editorial for the past cooperations and partnership with those sites.

    Like I said, Forbes was ratted before and Google was watching them closely.

    And I like to insist, if I have some serious money, I can still reach out and buy links going under radar links. But I rather spend my time and money elsewhere.

    Comments on this post

    • KernelPanic agrees : great comments as usual
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  19. Young Walter Matthau
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    My 2 Cents


    Hey Guys:

    Jack here @ DevShed. So here's my take on this...especially since our sister site eWeek was cited in this...I'm not taking a moral right/wrong stance, just a "how google's spider sees this"...which may be already answered in your minds but here goes anyway -

    Google, being a machine, isn't so good at telling what is a link to a partner or advertiser or what is a link to valid content. What the Googs excels at is being able to tell what is similar across multiple sites.

    So here's a company that produces these links ala the AT&T one with no rel=nofollow, and that is fine...except that it was probably distributed across 1000's of websites.

    The same link, the same anchor, the same text and on a topical scatter-shot of websites instead of a focused and consistent topic set is a way (if not the only way) that Google can discern if a link like the ones mentioned in Forbes is purchased or not.

    So again, being amoral on the subject, the answer is that if you put purchased links on your site, run a check and use unique surrounding text at the very least around the anchor. I mean, of course, if you have to sell links on your site to survive because the CPM market is dead...not that anyone has to do that or anything ;)

    J.

    Comments on this post

    • KernelPanic agrees : Thanks Jack, appreciate the insight
    • EGOL agrees : Thanks!
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  21. Agency SEO
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    Originally Posted by bkseo
    Is that why they coudn't pick up on JCPennys linking scheme until it was reported? Also did you look at my NYtimes links? How does Google, or you, know that those are or are not paid links?

    Even if Forbes was caught, another newspaper can link out to highly relevant websites under term "partner" and Google couldn't be able to judge if they are paid or not. They could be very well editorial for the past cooperations and partnership with those sites.

    Like I said, Forbes was ratted before and Google was watching them closely.

    And I like to insist, if I have some serious money, I can still reach out and buy links going under radar links. But I rather spend my time and money elsewhere.
    Yeah I agree that Google is not good at detecting paid links algorithmically. Fathom used to preach this a long time ago before it became a hot topic. (where is that guy?)

    Remember though Yahoo used to be bad at detecting hidden text, Google didn't care when I had 100 web sites with nothing but 100 links on a white page, and Infoseek let us submit to as many pages as we wanted. am I ranting? KP OUT!
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    thanks one and all for the comments...like many here, I think that G somewhat was 'behind the curve' as their algo either did not find same or whomever has the job to read the algo's "hey, googler, I found a big anomaly in this site, so I've penalized same" emails was asleep at the switch.

    overall? we don't buy links as clients pay us to NEVER EVER risk their serps....nor do we sell same either! for any client or ourselves...tho yes, we sometimes trade an advert for a service (like social monitoring services etc....)

    ymmv. but as you can tell from the Forbes whole thread, it's apparent that someone IS awake over at google....first JCPenny now Forbes....what d'ya wanna bet that there'll be more and more of this....all from big adsense accounts too, I'd bet!!!



    Jim
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    Originally Posted by JVRudnick
    thanks one and all for the comments...like many here, I think that G somewhat was 'behind the curve' as their algo either did not find same or whomever has the job to read the algo's "hey, googler, I found a big anomaly in this site, so I've penalized same" emails was asleep at the switch.

    overall? we don't buy links as clients pay us to NEVER EVER risk their serps....nor do we sell same either! for any client or ourselves...tho yes, we sometimes trade an advert for a service (like social monitoring services etc....)

    ymmv. but as you can tell from the Forbes whole thread, it's apparent that someone IS awake over at google....first JCPenny now Forbes....what d'ya wanna bet that there'll be more and more of this....all from big adsense accounts too, I'd bet!!!



    Jim
    Yeah I agree Jim, this is the tip of the iceberg. Good to see as the big boys have enough of an advantage without cheating their way up higher. Would love to see Amazon and their network of juice passers go next.
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    This event is quite a landmark. But, all the same, it's been discussed across the web to death. I think Graywolf said it best:

    writing any more SEO articles on JCP is like contributing to an SEO content farm
    Though it was quite entertaining to read that thread.

    Comments on this post

    • Dice79 agrees : Ha! didn't think of it like that! It's possible that now everyone is talking about JCP giving them links was way better than what they had to start with.
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    Originally Posted by KernelPanic
    Yeah I agree Jim, this is the tip of the iceberg. Good to see as the big boys have enough of an advantage without cheating their way up higher. Would love to see Amazon and their network of juice passers go next.
    lol that would be great to see some major ecommerce sites like Amazon get hit for doing what smaller companies just cant get away with.

    Maybe this is what google is working at now?! I mean that's to major sites they have taken down for links, I know they had to be reported and google didn't pick them up themselves, but I recon google will take note of this as its been such big news and invest a little more into checking what links the big guys use to keep at the top even when there are smaller companies that have much better content.

    Just my 2 cent, prob wrong in thinking google will work harder for the smaller guys but we can hope for a better tomorrow
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