What Google thinks about hidden and paid links
If you are a regular reader of our newsletter then you
know that we only propagate ethical
search engine optimization methods.
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,
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
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 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 links
that will help your search engine rankings.