Well, it looks like Google is cracking down on paid links, and some people are being hit hard with their rank dropping. The Stanford Daily saw their PageRank drop from an incredible PR 9 to a PR 7.
I have yet to hear one person say that their rank has gone up. This doesn’t mean that people won’t see their rankings rise over the next while, but Google is on the warpath against paid links.
It looks like Text-Link-Ads and similar companies might have a huge issue on their hand, and if nothing else, it can’t be good publicity, since the majority of their pricing is based on Google’s PageRank, and people buy these links in hopes of gaining PageRank to their own sites.
I have yet to experience any negative side effects on any of my blogs, but I am a very lightweight advertising sales person. I think I currently have one text link sold amongst all my blogs.
So far many of the sites owners I have talked to aren’t concerned about their dropping rankings as they continue to focus on bringing good content and an abundance of traffic to their sites, but over time this could become a competitive edge for those willing to forgo selling text links, and monetizing their blogs other ways. These sites that find these alternative revenue builders, could then eventually rank higher in Google, causing those selling links to re-think their lack of concern.
The question I have been getting quite often by people just entering the world of advertising sales is, “how does Google know I am selling text links?” Well, with systems like Text-Link-Ads and other text link sales companies, they have you put code on your site, and that leaves a footprint that Google can then search for, and once identified, and probably checked by a real person, they can adjust your PageRank accordingly.
The whole paid link market has to change, Google is forcing them to. It is a very interesting time to be an Internet marketer.