Matt Cutts on how Google identifies a paid link

Google have made it clear in the past that the act of selling links that pass PageRank is a violation of their quality guidelines. We are often bombarded with spam emails that first illustrate the importance of having backlinks and then go on to offer money for advertisements that pass PageRank on your site.


Google are capable of catching up with sites that make the most of link selling and this could have a devastating effect on a sites ability to turn up in search results. Matt Cutts took plenty of time out this week to tell us more about how Google identifies a paid link.

Cutts explains that the most common paid links come from webmasters selling their links in exchange for a financial payment. These explicit link sales are quite easily determined by Google but there are others which are not so easy to identify.

Cutts uses a specific analogy to explain one of Google’s criteria for determining paid links that are slightly more difficult to deal with. If you loan someone a car then you still have to cover all sorts of financial aspects to do with that car but offering it as a gift is far more similar to a genuine paid link.

Cutts also talks about how value for money is important when identifying a paid link. He mentions that Google’s code of conduct is aware of how small contributions such as a “$1 pen” are not likely to change your behaviour. However, a sum that equals the value of hundreds or even thousands of dollars is likely to get Google’s attention.

Are you interested in finding out more about backlinks? Backlinks can play a vital role in enhancing your potential to rank in Google and we know all about the importance of backlinks here at Artemis. Why not make the most of our free consultation service today and discover how we can help your SEO campaign achieve excellent results.