Paid Links, Matt Cutts and SEO

17 Apr

An opinion piece by Jeff Buechler


People have asked me what I think about Matt Cutts’ (who I have tremendous respect and admiration for) intimation that Google may start cracking down  on the practice of paid links.  Initially I had very little reaction to it. Why?

Because even though Google sometimes acts as if they are, Google is not the intertubes’ umpire calling foul and fair.

Google doesn’t own your website, and even though you may, to a large extent, be held hostage to Google’s traffic dominance, you as the owner/webmaster have to decide what is right for your site. Right now everyone knows one of the main keys to natural rankings on Google is your link strategy: a portion of which may include buying links. If you have a new site, one with great info and a great user experience, why shouldn’t your site be ranked highly? So you go out and get some link love, get your site noticed and over time, you gain other links as people discover your site.

Who has been hurt? The answer, of course, is no one.

If Google should start cracking down on link juice, who will be the crackee? The site selling links? The site buying links? Both? Internet users, web developers and SEO practioners will find always find ways to sell links…the smart ones just won’t be discovered. This leaves the newer, less sophisticated website owners in jeopardy as they attempt to improve their site. They will be the ones caught and penalized, perhaps banned. The professionals, the ones who have made the buying and selling of links a cottage industry will remain unscathed.

All SEO practices rise and fall on the whims of Google. Links are no exception. Google has revolutionized the way people search for information, and they have continually made changes to how they find, store and organize data. Everyone has benefited from this. I’m just growing increasingly concerned about the accumulation of power Google has come to have over the internet and online commerce. Perhaps my fears are unjustified, and I hope that Google is as benign as an encyclopedia. It’s just encyclopedias don’t have billions in the bank.


One Response to “Paid Links, Matt Cutts and SEO”


  1. Insider Marketing: Ramblings of an Online Marketing Maverick - May 22, 2007

    […] buy some links. […]

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