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October 30, 2007

Google vs Webmasters and Google is Losing

The battle for top ranking the major search engines, is one that’s ongoing on a daily basis with a top Google ranking being the number one target.

There are whole business’ models build out of getting a top ranking in Google and to a smaller extent, the other major search engines.

You could say Google has unknowingly created billions in business turnover, from others trying to outwit them.

In the battle of getting rankings which has turned to the power of links, has launched full services around this concept. It’s not new just more obvious now especially due to the explosion of blogging.

Some of theses services buy and sell text links. In the same way Ebay does, it’s a matter of bringing together buyers and sellers. Now link pricing has been set in several ways: a single purchase cost using services like payperpost.com and reviewme.com blog post services, or a pay per month option which is used by other services such as text link brokers and many other providers.

Now most of the pricing is based on Page Rank of the pages the links are on. Recently Google updated its page rank and many sites took a major nosedive. Now we are talking about the dropping of a PR 10 down to a PR 6 which happened to a site called statcounter.com.

Statcounter.com is a free web based statistics program which allows you get good statistics on traffic for your website.

The best feature is being able to hide any display of its counter on your page. I recently found out that even if the counter display is hidden- it still creates focused text links back to its home page (that’s another whole story)

Now some quick research into statcounter.com after the PR drop- they still rank for over 500 different competitive 2 and 3 word keywords. So the PR drop would have no effect on traffic at all. They do sell text links and this has been suggested as a reason for the drop in page rank (to discourage this action)

The dropping of PR is most likely just an adjustment of its numbers- it’s happened before and will probably happen again- and quote a well known SEO company:

“My guess is that the toolbar PR penalty is just that — a lowering of visible PR in order to make a statement”

If sites keep rising in PR then it has no value. So it’s like a re-valuing of a dollar under inflation.

If you are not selling text links, it won’t really affect you. This fits together with Googles recent statements about the selling of text links as they do not approve if they are purchased for the sole purpose of influencing search results (which most if not all are).

Google has come out and said that no follow tags should be placed on these links and also asked for webmasters to report sites that are selling links. This tells me that they are getting desperate to stop “the purchase links for rank” sites.

So is buying links a good thing or not?. Well Google is against it, however if it’s done correctly and not abused like some have, it’s a win-win for blog owners and business owners.

Like most SEO it should not be the only method of getting links, however it could be used well by those with a reasonable budget and long term business plan. I don’t pass judgment on whether I agree or disagree or whether it is the right thing to do or not.  The type of links and how to buy is a whole other article.

Author:  Paul Easton is a self confessed online marketing nut- who helps from an “in the trenches, doing it” point of view. Search engines and linking for long term traffic a speciality. Working out of New Zealand, he focuses on Niche US markets. Get a Plan for free web Traffic here: http://www.SEOTrainingLive.com/

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