View Full Version : What Google thinks about hidden and paid links

05-10-2007, 01:54 PM
While it is possible to temporarily get high rankings with shady optimization techniques, search engines will ban your web site sooner or later if you try to cheat them.
Among other things, unethical SEO techniques include doorway pages, cloaking and hidden links. In a recent blog post (http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/hidden-links/), Google's anti-spam engineer Matt Cutts commented on hidden and paid links.
What are hidden links? Can Google detect them?

Hidden links are links that can be seen by search engine spiders but not by human web surfers:

White text on a white background (or any other text that has the same color as the background).
Links that have been changed with CSS so that they are extremely small.
Linked periods in the middle of a paragraph.
Links in invisible CSS divs.If you use links like these on your web pages then you violate Google's quality guidelines and you risk being banned on Google by using these links.
It's likely that Google can detect most hidden links. While some hiding techniques still might work, Google's anti-spam team will probably be able to detect them very soon.
What are paid links? Do they work with Google?

Paid links are simply text links for which the webmaster of the linked site paid. Paid links can be used to advertise your web site on other sites.
Most webmasters buy links to increase their search engine rankings. Unfortunately, Google doesn't like paid links.
Google is currently working on an algorithm that helps them to detect (and downgrade) paid links. Last week, Google asked webmasters to report (http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/how-to-report-paid-links/) web pages with paid links to the Google spam team.
What does this mean to your web site?
If you use hidden links or other hidden content on your web pages, you should remove these web page elements as soon as possible from your site. The more spam elements you use on your web site, the more likely it is that your web site will get a ranking penalty.
Paid links to your web site won't hurt your website rankings. However, it's likely that paid links also won't help your rankings anymore with Google's new algorithm change.
Inbound links are very important to get high rankings on Google. That's why Google works so hard on filtering the wrong kind of links. If you want to succeed on Google, you have to build the right (http://www.axandra-link-popularity-tool.com/) links that will help your search engine rankings.

05-10-2007, 02:23 PM
Great article, Mook! Thanks for sharing.

05-10-2007, 03:13 PM
Thanks Mook.
Man, there is so much to learn.
Sometimes my brain hurts from the volumes of thingsyou have to know to build a successful website!

Thanks for the information Mook. I am filing it in my fried brain..

05-11-2007, 04:18 AM
Again - DESIGN the site for your CUSTOMERS/viewers - if you try to play games for the se's - you'll be sorry in the long run.

And one way I've seen that BV users have tried to cheat the se's - is by placing text under colored shapes, etc. The se's will read that the same as the others that Mook listed above.

Use white hat methods to build your sites and in the long run you'll be much happier!

Mook, one comment, did you receive permission from Matt Cutts to copy part of his blog? If not - it would be better to link to it and not reprint any of it.

05-11-2007, 10:41 AM
Bethers the post was from axandra.com (http://www.free-seo-news.com/index.php), I forgot to post the link back (oopsie) but it looks as though Matt Cutts may have copied from from them. I am an affiliate with axandra and have received permission to reprint the articles they post there.

05-11-2007, 10:42 AM
Good article Mook.

Makes a lot of sense to me.

05-11-2007, 11:09 AM
Good article Mook.

Makes a lot of sense to me.

I thought it was a good idea to post as i think i remember someone on here saying they had created a 'doorway' page and had started receiving loads of traffic. I also think i remeber them saying that they didn't know why Google all of sudden had stopped indexing them.

Just goes to show, dirty tricks may help in the short term but if you're looking to become an established business you will not accomplish this by using those dirty tactics as BMW (http://edition.cnn.com/2006/BUSINESS/02/07/google/) did once. Even big companies have to learn the hard way sometimes.

05-11-2007, 11:26 AM

I agree with you, Beth and so many others who are doing well that good solid SEO--white hat-- will always accomplish what you want as a ecommerce site builder.

Too many "experts" hurt the average site builder with false information that will hurt them in the search engines. Most that I see are trying to sell a piece of information that is actually not good just to make a buck. They really don't care about helping people put up a quality site.

I belong to another forum and see this all the time. Eventually the people selling, or even giving away, this information go away. And they go away for good because they use their own ideas and they just don't work.

05-15-2007, 05:04 PM
I wonder what will happen to the Directories who thrive off of paid links.

05-17-2007, 01:37 AM
I wonder what will happen to the Directories who thrive off of paid links.

I'd say they'll will still do well as there are still thousands of sites and people using out dated techniques. Not everyone reads up on SEO especially first time web builders and so will be duped into thing paid links are the way to go. It'll probably be some few years before they start getting hit if at all.

Karen Mac
05-17-2007, 03:44 AM
Directories are slightly different than what google is looking at as paid links. Paying to have your products listed say in Shopzilla, which has a google PR of 7, and paying some spammy link site, or seo firm to host links to you is quite different subjects.

Yellow Pages for instance is another Directory you pay for inclusion. Thats seen more as marketing and useful to the shopper, searcher etc. It still goes back to the NEIGHBORHOOD you have links from and to.

Paying to have your link put on 5000 unknown sites, which could be gambling, porn, etc, or 5000 ezines, can get you in trouble.


05-17-2007, 04:55 AM
A comment - Axandra gave Matt Cutt's credit for this - so he did not get it from them - they got it from him.

And even as an affiliate, it is always necessary to give credit for where something came from. When they say to pass the newsletter on to your friends - it does not mean to cut and paste portions without credit.

But, I'm overly cautious in the realm of almost being paranoid about the right thing being done and credit being given where it's deserved. If I want my little place in this world of the www - then I'm going to do it all white hat.

Yep, Karen, good point. Directories - real, directories, are good places to have links, whether they are free or necessary to pay. And linking should not be done for the se's as much as it's done to bring targeted traffic. So, if that link is one that will do that - it's a good link to have. Those that are in the business to try to fool the se's are also not going to have traffic to bring you. Somehow the se's are pretty smart, aren't they?

07-17-2007, 12:31 PM
Great article Mook!

What would you say is this best way to get inward links to your website without paying for them?


07-17-2007, 12:34 PM
Im currently making a fitness/weight loss website (www.make-me-thin.com (http://www.make-me-thin.com)).

Can anyone recommend directories I could regester with to drive legit traffic to my site?

PS - Site has not yet been published on the web, but I'll let you know when it is!