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Some Cracks in Google's Link Valuation System

Google’s Gary Illyes recently tweeted something that seem to imply paid links originally have value unless Google catches them. Apparently, an anonymous complainant submitted 700 domains that made a business out of paid links. Gary then tweeted that his team made sure” that the list of paid links becomes “worthless.

The implication of this tweet is that those sites selling paid links used to have value. However, after the Google caught them trying to outwit their algorithms, they were immediately undervalued.

This may not be the case. Gary did not explicitly state that the links had or had no value. But why devalue a link that had no value in the first place?

There is no proof whether the undervalued links did increase website rankings. But it does make one wonder why Google would render worthless sites that cannot influence rankings. Though merely implications, the possibility of paid links having worth is still there.

Mayhaps Google already noted those links and took down their value, thereby devaluing paid outbound links as well.

Can You Report Paid Links?

You can report paid links to Google through the search console on your Google Web Tools.

What is Google’s Penalty for Paid Links?

Since our SEO company runs all campaigns organically, we do not know for sure how Google penalised paid links. There are rumours here and there coming from the SEO community. As much as we don’t believe every rumour that comes our way, we do take everything with a grain salt.

According to the grapevine that’s privy to these reports, paid links interlaced with content from bigs brands and sites with authority do have value or influence search rankings. It takes about a few months before Google spots these paid links.

If you purchase paid links from sites that have low domain authority, there’s usually no ranking effect whatsoever. Worse, your site will automatically receive penalty.

As reported by the Search Engine Journal, the said tweet from a Google team member was somewhat of a revelation. The implication, though subject to contention, is that some paid links may get away with it. It does not really mean that Google is unable to catch all paid links, but it very well could. The good news here is that Google immediately acts upon reports.


Arthur Choi

Arthur Choi

SEO Strategist

70% technical SEO, 30% offsite optimisation. Loves to strategise and build organic SEO campaigns for plumbers, excavators and e-commerce clients.

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