My post yesterday about Google's paid links smack down sparked quite a discussion and a bit of debate.

Good points were made all around on all sides of the debate.

One person argued that "any method where you had a hand in creating a link where you knew you were likely get more SEO benefit from it than direct traffic" could be seen as a violation of Google's guidelines. Another argued that Google was simply not practicing what it was preaching.

Most comments made it clear: Google can be an enigma.

Is Google inconsistent at times? Yup.

Is Google arbitrary at times? Yup.

Is Google conflicted at times? Yup.

Is Goggle hypocritical at times? Yup.

Is Google unfair at times? Yup.

Google is a great company but make no mistake about it: Google is an imperfect company. All companies are because people are. And people run companies.

For everything we love about Google, there's something we hate.

When it comes to paid links, it's clear that Google has a real problem. It doesn't like them, but there is a huge grey area as to what constitutes a 'paid link'. Should Google push the identification of 'paid links' onto publishers? Nope.

As I stated in a past post on paid links, there's a fair argument to be made that Google shouldn't expect publishers to go out of their way do its job. In an ideal world, Google's algorithm would take care of everything. But we don't live in a perfect world and the bottom line is that if you want your pages to appear in Google's index, you have to play the Google game by Google's rules or risk penalty.

There are a lot of philosophical debates around issues like SEO but at the end of the day everyone is aiming for the same thing: results.

There's no right or wrong way to climb your way up the SERPs ladder. A lot depends on the type of websites you run and how competitive your industry is. A lot also depends on your risk tolerance. Some people are willing to push the limits while others stay out of the grey area that exists between white hat and black hat. There are successful white hats and black hats, and not-so-successful white hats and black hats.

Here on the Econsultancy blog we report on important news and trends that are relevant to online publishers and digital marketers. Much of the information is pragmatic, some of it is intellectual.

We can debate Google until we're blue but when it comes right down to it, make no mistake: you control your destiny.

In the world of SEO, there are a lot of things that you can't control. Google can change its policies at any time. It doesn't have to enforce those policies equally. An algorithm update might result in a drop in your SERPs through no fault of your own.

None of this means that Google's policies aren't worth discussing. None of this means that we shouldn't point out where Google isn't treating people equally. And none of this means that we shouldn't watch Google like a hawk.

But don't be fooled into believing that any of these things minimizes the importance of developing a viable online strategy that works for you. The only thing that matters is the results you achieve.

Achieving results depends on taking advantage of what you can control and accepting what you can't. If you're focusing on the stuff you can't control, chances are you're not paying enough attention to the stuff you can.

That's something to keep in mind.

Patricio Robles

Published 4 March, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2642 more posts from this author

You might be interested in

Comments (1)


free currency trading software

My page rank is 0.Then it’s 5.Then it’s 0 again.
I keep my PR button on my page so I can show everyone it is 0.
Maybe it’s because I have a dud site I’ve been locked out of that links to my domain…and this has generated a lot of links from myself back to my dud site.Can’t do anything about it,though.Can’t ask Google to remove it from their index because I can’t verify I own it.
But I don’t know how PR works,anyway.Oh well Almighty God Google has spoken and I just have to take it.
About my site content:I post original content that I’ve written myself very frequently and other search engines find my backlinks…it’s just a mess.

about 9 years ago

Save or Cancel

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.