Google's Matt Cutts: Text Link Ads Link Sellers Targeted

Jun 3, 2013 • 9:16 am | comments (27) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under

Text Link Ads Targeted By GoogleA few weeks ago, we reported that Google busted another link seller network. We didn't know which link seller network it was - until now. Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, tweeted last week that the link network they went after was "TLA linkselling sites."

TLA, as everyone in our industry knows is Text Link Ads. They are one of the older and more substantial and much more visible link selling networks. Heck, I even had them on this site until I nofollowed my paid links. Also, in 2004 or so, my company build the software behind the site, mostly how they bill link buyers and pay link sellers but it grew into more. Keep in mind, this was all before the nofollow attribute, not that it matters.

That being said @patrickaltoft asked Matt Cutts, "do you mean link sellers in general or specifically ones hosting ads via Text Link Ads the company?"

Matt responded, "capital TLA."

TLA's home page PageRank is still a 6 but the link sellers may have taken a hit?

Are you a TLA link seller? Did you notice a hit? Are you a TLA link buyer? Did you notice a hit?

Forum discussion continued at BlackHatWorld, WebmasterWorld and Twitter.

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06/03/2013 02:21 pm

I would be careful with that

Jim Christian

06/03/2013 02:41 pm

In the words of VW's SB commercial: Don't fret me brotha, da sticky bun come soon!

Nathan Grimm

06/03/2013 03:07 pm

I think the real takeaway here is, Text Link Ads links still worked up until a few days ago?! Crazy.

Bill Ross

06/03/2013 04:02 pm

I agree Nathan. I am still surprised it took them this long to "uncover the TLA network". I remember back in 2009 I was suspicious of the value of their network so I contacted them and told them I had a huge monthly budget and the type of sites I wanted to buy links on - at which time they sent me a giant list of sites I could buy. What took Google so long?


06/03/2013 04:16 pm

I guess they wanted to make sure they could take care of it algorithmically / without to much collateral damage? As someone who was unaware of them specifically until about ten minutes ago.... do they identify their links somehow?

Bill Ross

06/03/2013 04:18 pm

From what I remember (and its been a while since I tested their network or buying links for that matter) to pull in the TLA into your blog you needed to put some code on your site - which means Google could probably just detect that code.. I hate to think it would have been that simple though..


06/03/2013 04:30 pm

Ha, never underestimate the ability for people to justify not changing what they've always been able to get away with..

Nick Ker

06/03/2013 06:12 pm

Hm. I would have thought TLA was eliminated long ago, since they are so high profile. Almost every new client I get who already has a penalty or penguin problem has used them.

Graham Ginsberg

06/03/2013 07:24 pm

Proof that my best blackhat techniques where never that great. I never used this company or even knew they exist. PS> It appears that Google may have reverted its P2 filter. Maybe too many were hit. Come on peopel, we need to eliminate this Google cancer #blockgoogle

Graham Ginsberg

06/03/2013 07:25 pm

Google cannot appear too determined to capture the entire world's pocket books with their PPC. Give them time


06/03/2013 08:30 pm

Interested to hear why you think the filter was reverted.

Fionn Downhill

06/03/2013 10:07 pm

EXACTLY!...they seem to get Mom and Pop sites with laser precision why did they take so long.

Fede Einhorn

06/04/2013 04:10 am

Finally! LOVE THIS!


06/04/2013 05:17 am

Can anyone tell me how to ascertain the real cause of penguin hit on one of my website name theppiclaims. com. The did all sorts of things but all proved vain on this website.


06/04/2013 06:13 am

@Bill, no wasn´t really that simple though.... TLA´s Backend just gave detailed instructions (html code) on how to integrate the link with anchor and target-URL. No other code as formerly known from oldschool linkexchange-networks. Just the plain link.... not that easy to detect! We just sold a bunch on one handful of high quality sites... one of them (where we sold about 5 links to other high authority brands) is suffering since a while. Can´t really attach this to last P2 update, because it already started earlier on. But linkselling seems the only answer to me, as this site has a really natural and highend own linkprofile.

Patrick Zalman

06/04/2013 10:10 am

I previously bought about 30 ads with TLA and got hit with an unnatural link penalty mid-May. This caused me to cancel all TLAs and they expired and were removed about a week ago, so I submitted a reconsideration request, which I am yet to hear back on. Funnily enough, I have some non-paid links on sites that sell TLA, so I hope that doesn't cause problems.

the sniga

06/04/2013 11:09 am

Why don't Matt Cutts target whole link building companies also if you are targeting only link sellers ?? Both are doing same job then why don't think about link building services ?

Alan Smith

06/04/2013 12:03 pm

If i am getting paid links from high quality and related site then will it create problem?

Nick Ker

06/04/2013 03:13 pm

If they are paid, it will be a problem (if Google's algorithm or a manual reviewer notices).

Patrick Zalman

06/05/2013 12:05 am

Just got my manual spam action revoked!


06/05/2013 11:49 am

Congrats! Care to share any insights gained? I am sure there are some people who frequent this site that would be interested to hear anything you feel stands out as important.

Jacob Kristensen

07/31/2013 07:09 pm

I used to sell links trough text-link-ads, but i have been very unsatisfied from the start. Their price cut was outrageous, and advertisers had the ability to cancel links without warning – the worst part was the quality of the links – all the links I've had have been spam. I had to manually review everything due to the lack of quality in their network, and i almost always rejected offers because of this. The most ridiculous part was that i was earning more on adsense when i finally decided to cut them off and apply nofollow. Its just not worth it to spend years working on a site, only to risk loosing your rankings due to link selling. After my traffic has grown, i haven't really looked back. There's just so much more to be earned trough affiliate ads and recognized networks like adsense. I personally think TLA are crocks, stay and i recommend publishers stay away from them. Spammers make money on TLA, quality sites just put their reputation at risk.

Agus Dwikarna

09/29/2013 10:15 am

Well, TLA had been banned from Google SERP since late 2007, IIRC. If you search 'text link ads', the TLA site won't show, instead an ad from (you guess it) TLA is displayed at the top of the SERP, below the search box. Also, this is old news. Google had penalized link-selling websites since 2007. Those who were affected are websites that sold what seemed to be way too many links. Of course, only Google knows how many is too many. Bottom line, text link ad is dying. Legit, high PR, old websites stop selling in fear of offending the mighty Google (it isn't worth it). Serious upstarts refrain from buying because natural organic traffic will eventually come if your website is good enough. Thus, we're left with nasty spammy sellers, who build websites to sell TLAs. And those who're buying TLAs for dodgy looking websites.

Spook SEO

02/01/2014 04:56 pm

My site was ranked in Top last 2009 but it was completely down in 2013 up to present. Almost all of my links created problems and I noffolowed almost 80% of it. That was the risk. As of now, I don't know where to start. Some blogs and friend of mine suggested some tips but I don't have the will to do so. I might sell my website.


02/10/2014 10:16 pm

Until the world stands up with a class action lawsuit - google will continue to monopolize the internet for what they can gain from it. They want to gain so no one else can.

Gene Eugenio

04/04/2014 02:04 am

This news brings the following to mind: As always, Google = a day late, a buck short. Still, gotta give them props for trying. Not that I am rooting for the other guys, but Google needs to step up. With Hummingbird, it looks like they have.


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