Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz had the chance to pose a question to representatives of the major search engines which has been on the minds of many within the industry; “how do the engines feel about pay-per-post services on blogs, where advertisers can buy links and product reviews?”
The responses, as Rand reports, were surprising:
Yahoo’s Tim Converse :
“Yahoo! wouldn’t try to pick one post out of twenty or fifty on every blog that might be running advertorials or paid reviews just to stop link value from that particular post. If the engine looked at the site and saw that in general, the outgoing links were of high quality, there would be no discount of link value for paid blog material”
Google’s Adam Lasnik :
Agreed with Yahoo’s Tim Converse
Ask.com’s Vivek Pathak :
Vivek from Ask was quick to note that if the link were off-topic, Ask would be likely not to give that link much weight.
MSN’s Eytan Seidman :
“Agreed but didn’t expand”
Why is it surprising that the search engines are not going to pinpoint specific blogs and sites which are paid to write reviews about the clients of companies like ReviewMe or PayPerPost? Probably because of the intent of the advertisers paying for such placement.
Blogger influence among their readers, traffic coming from the postings, and the option for readers to comment themselves on the blog posts which leads to an almost instant form of focus group monitoring at a small percentage of the price, in most cases, surely outweigh the SEO linking factor of the services.
If anything, the pricing structure put together by ReviewME helps to reflect the influence of such postings, as ReviewME factors in such metrics as RSS subscribers and Technorati links to their system.
Not to say that linking is not part of the equation, which it is and should be, but it’s not all of it.
Fishkin adds how thankful he is that the search engine representatives were so responsive and direct with their answers:
“I’ve never heard that level of straight-forwardness about a near-grey-hat subject like that before.”
Kudos to Rand for having the persistence and drive to pose such thought provoking and industry related questions at these conference sessions.