Most SEOs Say There Are Penalty Proof Paid Links

Apr 19, 2011 • 8:40 am | comments (28) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO

linked bullets penaltyA few months ago I ran a poll asking if you believe in penalty proof paid links?

We had over 200 responses and I am a bit surprised to see that most SEOs believe in penalty proof paid links.

53% of those who replied said there are penalty proof paid links, whereas only 26% said there is no such thing. Another 20% answered that they do not know.

I honestly felt that more SEOs would either say there is no such thing as a penalty proof paid link or say they did not know. I am a bit shocked to see so many SEOs saying they are confident that they can pay for links and not get caught.

Are you surprised?

Image credit: Jim Sher on Flickr.

This post was written earlier and scheduled to be posted today.

Previous story: How Much SEOs Spend On Education & Learning


Barry Adams

04/19/2011 12:43 pm

Surprised? Of course not. Every SEO worth his/her salt knows that paid links work, and that unless you're being a total numbnut you simply won't get caught. Google is horrendously bad at detecting and acting upon paid links.

Ruan Smit

04/19/2011 01:10 pm

I am surprised, we see each and everyday how google is perfecting it's anti-spam/link buying methods. I'll keep to doing it the good old fashioned way.


04/19/2011 01:14 pm

There are so many types of links that can be paid for it really can't be much of a surprise. For example you can sponsor a charity for a link but Google is unlikely to penalise this type of link even though it is effectively a paid link.


04/19/2011 01:24 pm

The risk is always that a competitor reports you and Google then manually sees your link profile, detects a pattern of unnaturalness, and takes action. Finding a link that will not be detected automatically, and would pass normal human review is easy, but a zealous competitor could build a case against you and make reports that could invite closer scrutiny.


04/19/2011 02:44 pm

There is always risk if the site you are buying links from sells to anyone besides you. If anyone of those paid links competitors catch on and report it to google everybody gets taken down a notch.

Syed Khaled Hussaini

04/19/2011 03:47 pm

I am a bit surprised it came out to 53% only

Sebastian Cowie

04/19/2011 04:06 pm

Adding to Barry's previous comment. Unless you're going round buying 600,000 PR8+ links for $10 then odds are you'll fly under the radar. It would be counterproductive for Google to introduce penalties based on links e.g spam sites / open wordpress blogs with a penalty where you could effectively destroy a competitor by blasting them on these penalised sites.

alexander zagoumenov

04/19/2011 04:24 pm

In my opinion paid is paid, organic is organic. Paying for links to attain higher organic results does not (and should not) make sense. I missed the poll, but I'd be in the 26% group if I participated.

Syed Khaled Hussaini

04/19/2011 04:27 pm

Not the greatest fan of paid links myself but I respectfully disagree with the statement "no such thing exists". Do you really believe Google discounts all paid links?

Adam Alter

04/19/2011 04:37 pm

So yeah, sponsoring an event, cause, website, or group and getting a do-follow link in return all falls in the paid link category correct? Think Google penalizes them?

Adam Alter

04/19/2011 04:42 pm

BTW, your link to Webmaster World is a 404.

Remi Turcotte

04/19/2011 04:50 pm

your paid links on the right column are sooo obvious : even if they are all contextual they are still the best way of getting penalized !

Remi Turcotte

04/19/2011 04:50 pm

your paid links on the right column are sooo obvious : even if they are all contextual they are still the best way of getting penalized !

Adam Marsh

04/19/2011 05:26 pm

I highly double Google penalizes them but they should... Across the board there should be no discrimination.

alexander zagoumenov

04/19/2011 05:31 pm

Syed, don't get me wrong, we're not dealing with absolutes here. I don't think Google discounts anything. It's just the matter of what value (strength and sentiment) is put on factors. All I'm saying is that I don't think paid links should be a factor in organic results.

Michael Martinez

04/19/2011 05:47 pm

Unless you're talking about Yahoo! or BOTW links, I would say anyone who believes in "penalty proof" paid links is engaging in Wishful SEO. Paid links can be ignored but that doesn't make them penalty proof.

Roie S

04/19/2011 06:07 pm

You need to really buy some lousy links if Google is on to you... Since most SEO's buy links for their clients, this would mean a global banning plague :)


04/19/2011 06:33 pm

All SEO is the wishful thinking of gambling addicts who have invested their companies in a Cosmic Slot Machine named Google. If you don't believe me, try a test. Tell some sad case who just spent four hours at a single slot machine that they should work a real job if they want money. Tell seomeone on an SEO forum that they should perform real marketing if they want sustainable business.

Syed Khaled Hussaini

04/19/2011 07:00 pm

The topic is "if you believe in penalty proof paid links", to which you voted for "there's no such a thing". As I mentioned, I don't fantasize paid links either but I do believe that they are gazillion types of paid links that are penalty proof (at least for now). Perhaps, there could be little more info on the definition of "penalty proof links" - to me, penalty proof paid links are just paid links that will pass as a natural link even if a Google engineer/staff manually reviews it - finding and paying for those links is not the easiest thing in the world but its not impossible either.

Ben Pfeiffer

04/19/2011 07:26 pm

Will try to fix. Appears the thread was removed for some reason and I can't seem to locate it.

alexander zagoumenov

04/19/2011 08:28 pm

I'm with you, Syed.

Michael Martinez

04/19/2011 10:39 pm

Most SEOs have no way of determining if the links they pay for are passing value (on a link-by-link basis). It's pretty much equivalent to using a shotgun for sharpshooting. With a big enough spread, something usually hits the target.


04/20/2011 03:04 am

It's impossible for the net to endorse penalty-proof links, since Google can easily change their notion of what should be penalized every few years.

Amazon Promotional Code

04/20/2011 09:33 am

You are right syed khaled but what you think that it was fair preocess or not?


06/08/2011 06:11 pm

Google can't tell if a one way link is paid or not. If it sees many reciprocal links, then it can error on the side of safety. Why not just buy a bunch of links for your competitors and wait? Because they can't tell.

King Douche

07/14/2011 03:31 am

Unless you advertise your site for sale on eBay and say that it's monetized by paid links.  NEVER do that.

SEO Professionals

08/10/2011 07:02 pm

The problem with paid links is that they do actually work. As long as no one notices that you're purchasing links, paid links can have a positive effect on the search engine rankings of your website. However, once Google discovers the paid links your website can get in major trouble.

Lapworth Architects

02/14/2012 02:27 pm

very well said and very true! Problem we have is we are all in the hands of Google what they say must be followed. By SMEs and even their own competitors!

blog comments powered by Disqus