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Google Aware of Bribed Bloggers

Google’s Head of Search Engine Spam, Matt Cutts, sent a tweet linking to a recent Gawker story which discussed the technique of SEOs contacting ‘news’ writers, and paying them directly to link back to their site.  Cutts said that they are aware of this activity, and are “taking action o hundreds of buyers, dozens of sites, & dozens of spammy writers.” 

The specific technique being discussed isn’t exactly new, but it hasn’t gotten much attention over the years.  What happens is SEOs reach out to a writer (like me, for example) and pay me directly to write an article on this site, with a link back to the page they are hoping to promote.  I take the payment, and write the article, without the actual owner of this site knowing that this occurred.  The owner of the site believes I wrote the article only because of the merits of the story. (And no.  I won’t do this, and if I got offers, I would report them immediately).

This may be particularly difficult to police, because of the fact that a site may have hundreds of articles posted for every one or two of these ‘bribed blogs.’  In addition, to punish the entire site because of the actions of one writer may be excessive.  It can be assumed, however, that Google will take the position that the owner of the site is responsible for all content that is published there, and for policing their own writers.

Matt Cutts was not clear on whether or not they have already taken some sort of action against this type of link spam, or if it is something that is planned in the future.  It could also be just a empty threat by Cutts, hoping that it will be enough to discourage this type of activity from taking place. 

Regardless of what Google has or has not done up to this point, it is clear that they are at least aware of this practice.  You can see Cutts’ tweet HERE.  Also, comment below with your thoughts about this story, and whether or not Google will take any severe action to prevent this type of link spam.

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Michael Levanduski

Michael Levanduski is the assistant editor of Performance Marketing Insider, and an experienced freelance writer. He writes content for a wide range of sites in virtually every niche, though he specializes in technical writing as well as creating content for the performance and internet marketing industry. Michael was born in Grand Rapids, MI where he still lives with his wife and three children.

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  1. This will be something that will be interesting to watch. I am not sure how Google will be able to police this without knowing who or who not is taking payments for those articles. This is the ever ongoing problem with using links as a way to help rank sites. Companies will continue to look for ways to game the system. After all results are all that matters to clients, and most companies will do what it takes to get those rankings.

    1. Yeah, it may be difficult for Google. If they only catch a small percentage of the people doing this, however, it could discourage the rest quite a bit.

      Nobody wants to get the Google slap.


  2. This is google just trying to be a bully once again. They have ruined businesses with their updates, ones that did no SEO or ones that got attacked by negative SEO google allows to happen. They also want to control what we do with our websites. If we have a valuable site, we should be able to sell link space if we want. This is like telling someone they can’t put billboards on their property next to a highway.

    Google has become the “do evil” company and thinks it owes and should control the internet.

    1. I think it is a hard balance for Google. They need to put their first priority on the searchers, not the SEOs trying to get rank.

      They have gone too far in some cases, but I’m not sure whether or not this is one of them. I’ve personally been contacted by a number of companies that want me to write about their product, site or service. While they didn’t come right out and offer me cash, it is always just thinly vailed that they are willing to do so.

      Wise marketers appreciate Google traffic, but don’t rely on it exclusively for their own success.


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