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Google's Matt Cutts talks about buying links

Top Google software engineer Matt Cutts recently wrote about paid links in his blog. Being one of the main software engineers on Google, Matt Cutts knows best about Google indexing and quality control issues. Matt Cutts suggested that it was better not to use paid links.

What are paid links?

A paid link is a link from one web site to another for which a webmaster has paid. Paid links have nothing to do with the sponsored search results on Google, Overture and other pay per click (PPC) search engines. If a webmaster pays another web site to place a permanent text link to his site, this is considered a paid link.

What does Google think about paid links?

Google engineer Matt Cutts confirmed that links are important to Google in his blog post: "Google (and pretty much every other major search engine) uses hyperlinks to help determine reputation. Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and link-based analysis has greatly improved the quality of web search."

However, he also stated that "Google does consider buying text links for PageRank purposes to be outside our quality guidelines" and that he "wouldn't be surprised if search engines began to take stronger action against link buying in the near future".

He also revealed further information about what can happen to web sites that sell links: "Reputable sites that sell links won't have their search engine rankings or PageRank penalized–a search for [daily cal] would still return However, link-selling sites can lose their ability to give reputation".

What does this mean to your web site?

If possible, you should avoid purchasing links from other sites. As Matt Cutts puts it: "The best links are not paid". Search engines want to find web sites to which other web sites link naturally.

Natural links are links from other web sites that makes sense from a web surfer's point of view. If a link to another web site leads to further information about a topic and if the link is useful for the web surfer then it is a good link.

For that reason, it is important that your web site gets these natural links.

How can you get natural links for your site?

The best way to get natural links is to build a web site with great content. The better the content of your web site, the more web sites will link to your site without asking.

Our software program ARELIS can also help you to build natural links to your web site. ARELIS helps you to find out which web sites link to your competitors. Sites that link to your competitors could link to your web site as well.

In addition, ARELIS finds web sites that offer content that is related to your web site. For example, if a web page contains an article about the topic of your site, it would make sense if that page links to you. ARELIS helps you to locate these web pages and to contact the webmasters.

Apparent quick-fix solutions such as buying links or participating in link farms don't lead to long-term results. Sometimes they can actually harm your web site rankings. You have to find the right web sites that link to your site.

ARELIS makes the hard way of building links as easy as possible for you (further information in the recommended resources below).

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September 2005 search engine articles