Adam Lasnik of Google on Paid Links & NoFollow

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Andy Beal had the priviledge of a sit down chat with Google’s Adam Lasnik at the Australian Search Summit early this morning.

Beal and Lasnik discussed Google’s stance on paid links and the use of NoFollow (more information on NoFollow). Andy reviews the discussion in his post; Google’s Lasnik Wishes “NoFollow Didn’t Exist”; and here are the highlights:

  • Google is “perfectly fine with people buying and selling links” but prefers them to use the nofollow attribute when doing so.
  • It is difficult for Google to identify a web site selling the odd link, or a blogger adding a contextual link, in exchange for payment.
  • Google looks for are patterns that suggest money is being exchanged for links. A casino site buying a link from a blog about gardening, would raise a red flag, said Lasnik. As would an influx of links in a single day.
  • Links from one relevant site to another, would not likely cause a reaction from Google

Penalties for Link Buying:

  • Punishments for buying and selling links vary.
  • Sellers that offer lots of links for sale, could find their outbound links filtered on a page level, or site-wide.
  • Buyers, purchasing links from dozens of locations, could trigger Google to filter out the value of their inbound links.
  • In the case of linking schemes,the link seller to have their ability to pass PageRank stripped away.

Adam Lasink on the NoFollow attribute and Google’s preference for paid lnks to use this tag:

It’d be really nice if nofollow wasn’t necessary. As it stands, it’s an admittedly imperfect yet important indicator that helps maintain the quality of the Web for users.

It’d be nice if there was less confusion about what nofollow does and when it’s useful. It’d be great if we could return to a more innocent time when practically all links to other sites really WERE true votes, folks clearly vouching for a site on behalf of their users.

But we don’t live in perfect, innocent times, and at Google we’re dedicated to doing what it takes to improve the signal-to-noise ratio in search quality.

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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