This article title is intended to be hyperbolic, but the essence of it is nothing less that what’s stated on the title: You can, indeed, report a site for paid links to Google using this link.
I suspect that I was a victim of such report. A couple of years ago some of my sites are selling and buying links – and they were all penalized by Google to PageRank 0 – and they still are today. Well, maybe I’m a bit paranoid; maybe my sites are simply getting caught by the smart Googlebots, not by my competitors. I don’t know.
One thing for sure, I heard some stories from webmasters that have done the reporting to Google, as well as those who are getting penalized from such reports. All are saying the same thing: If you were reported to Google for paid links with strong evidences, your site’s dead. Expect it to be penalized for quite a long time, even if you have taken off any paid links (buying or selling.)
For more info, read Google guidelines on link schemes.
If you happen to have sites that are banned by Google or intend to advertise/place ads, you can try to do the following (not guaranteed, but well laid out in Google Webmaster guidelines):
- Adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute to the <a> tag
- Redirecting the links to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file
Maybe you wondered, “Why my sites were banned and others doing the same thing don’t?” – my answer to this is that Googlebot is working in a mysterious way – no pun intended. No matter how hard you try to comprehend Google and its search algorithms, always be prepared to be surprised.
The best way for you and I is to try to comply to Google Webmaster guidelines as much as we could without being paranoid and suffering from Google-anxiety.
Some suggest that without buying links, our sites won’t get to top ranking. I agree to the suggestion, but to do so we need to use loopholes, such as in-content paid links (such as paid reviews.)
One suggestion: Avoid sitewide links AND blogroll (or any kind of lists) links. Always use sentence(s) surrounding your links, and you’ll minimize risks involved in paid linking activities.
Google is, indeed, playing God – and to many, relationship with Google is a love-hate relationship; we hate Google but we need them, after all. But try to understand – all they are trying to do is to keep all of us honest by any means possible, so that the little guys with limited advertising budgets can compete with the multi-million-dollar-in-advertising-budget big guys.
Good luck in you endeavors in pursuing Google-luv principles!
Paid links rock (or not?)