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April 20, 2007

Your Competition Now Works for Google

Still think you can fool Google with your unnatural links? I’m talking about link exchanges, link farms, hidden links, and now even paid links. Google’s Matt Cutts recently wrote about Google’s plan to catch you. You and I know it as vigilantism.

Prior to the Google era search engines were mediocre at best, looking at on page factors only which could easily be manipulated and spammed. These factors included metadata (especially the keyphrase tag) and the number of times a search term appeared on a page.
Those days are long gone. With the advent of Google, the concept of link popularity became tantamount to the determination of the relevance of a page to a specific search query. But what is Google looking for when it comes to links?
The answer is natural, one way, inbound links from trusted sites to unique, original, useful, informative, or educational content, with the anchor text of the link containing keyphrases relevant to your site.. The answer may also be found in what they do not want: link farms, link exchanges, hidden links and paid links. And guess who they have watching you? Your enemy.
Cutts wrote in his blog this week the following:
“I’d like to get a few paid link reports anyway because I’m excited about trying some ideas here at Google to augment our existing algorithms. Google may provide a special form for paid link reports at some point, but in the mean time, here’s a couple of ways that anyone can use to report paid links:
– Sign in to Google’s webmaster console and use the authenticated spam report form, then include the word “paidlink” (all one word) in the text area of the spam report. If you use the authenticated form, you’ll need to sign in with a Google Account, but your report will carry more weight. – Use the unauthenticated spam report form and make sure to include the word “paidlink” (all one word) in the text area of the spam report.
As far as the details, it can be pretty short. Something like “ is selling links; here’s a page on that demonstrates that” or “ is buying links. You can see the paid links on” is all you need to mention. That will be enough for Google to start testing out some new techniques we’ve got — thanks!”
Whoa! Google is now asking your competition to report you if you buy or sell links. Interesting, isn’t it, when Google’s massively popular AdWords program is all about paid links. Conspiracy theorists will tell you that Google is trying to take over and control all paid advertising on the Internet, worldwide. But I digress. The point is that Google is asking your competition to report you if you buy or sell links. Period.
So what to do? Create the kind of links that Google wants. There is only one way to do this, and that is through the regular creation of unique content. Here is what you do:
1) Set up a blog ( is owned by Google and a great one to use as they crawl all of their blogs regularly)

2) Post content in the form of articles

3) Syndicate those articles through article distribution sites (do a search for “article distribution” to find these sites), use your keyphrases within anchor text links back to your site (these links are usually included in an about the author section, but can be in the article body as well)

4) Get active in social bookmarking and social media optimization, sites such as digg, furl, and to name a few.
Those four simple steps are all it takes to conduct an effective link building campaign that won’t get you into trouble.

Author:  Matt Foster is the President of ArteWorks SEO, one of the top 15 search engine optimization firms in the world. For more information, please visit