The startling revelation of the Gawker story brought to light that SEO firms are still resorting to malpractices like bribing bloggers. Google head of web spam, Matt Cutts responded on it affirming that Google is aware of such practices and has been coming down heavily on dozens of spammy sites and bloggers.
What is the whole issue about? Let us look at this practice of offering money to bloggers. It was always an assumed notion that bloggers are being paid handsomely to put links of the said websites within their blog. But it came to light with the story published on Gawker where the blogger wrote about how a shady marketing firm had approached him to put their clients’ website links within his blog.
This blackhat technique is resorted to by some SEO firms to find the easy way out. They ask the links to be placed amidst the quality content and get past the search engine rankings. Often even the website owners are oblivious of this deal that takes place between the writer and the scammer. Good writers are shortlisted and approached by them, and the payment is done at times in advance or after the article with the links is posted.
How it works is that these shady firms give the keyword and URL to the writer who writes relevant articles and places the link of the website strategically within it. The popularity of the writer decides the price that he can demand. So it’s no longer about approaching sites to place links, it’s about approaching the writer directly.
Google has never been easy on any practice wherein links are exchanged and transaction of money is involved. They have always advocated achieving popularity for the site through ethical means; natural organic links are encouraged and not the paid ones, then if it is to the site owner or the blogger.
After the Gawker episode was publicized, Matt Cutts issued a statement that they are taking action against such malpractices. Now, how this will happen is something that we do not know. How will Google trace such wrongdoers? What action will be taken? Or is it just a threat to dissuade scammers? We do not know the answers to these questions at this stage. But one thing is for sure that these malpractices have been noted and Google will crack down soon on it. In what way is what we have to wait and watch…