What is a Paid Link or Paid Inclusion?
"Paid inclusion is a search engine marketing model in which Web site owners pay a search engine company to guarantee their sites will show up in search results."
But then this definition changed when this process of buying links spreads from search engines to individually run websites and blogs. Companies started preferring to have their links shown on a blog having higher visitors or Page Rank with more visibility i.e. having a small banner on side bars of a web page or a banner at the end of the article.
Now according to Page Rank Theory, each web page having some Page Rank pass its juice equally to the links placed on that page. Someone then publish a theory that High Page Rank is effecting your ranking in Google SERP's.
After this a new era of paid linking starts. People start placing their adds on the webpages having high Page Rank.
This situation alert Google
Here are some Google clarification over their Paid Links Policy
- According to Google co-founder Larry Page, any search result that was paid for should be clearly marked as an ad.
- Not all paid links violate our guidelines. Buying and selling links is a normal part of the economy of the web when done for advertising purposes, and not for manipulation of search results. Links purchased for advertising should be designated as such. This can be done in several ways, such as:
* Redirecting the links to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file
- According to Google, Paid Links are meant to pass the Page Rank to other blogs and thats why they are not good. So we should use rel=nofollow tag on every paid link we have on our blog to stop passing page rank to them.
So, let's see I placed an add on a page with zero page rank with out NOFOLLW. Is Google still penalized me? If we see Google Paid Link Policy than I should not be penalized cause I am not passing any Page Rank but we don't have an answer of this question yet.
Then how can Google know this is Paid Link? A link of my friend's sites without NOFOLLOw in my side bar can be declared As a Paid Link by Google but a paid link in my main article can't even recognize by Google as paid link.
Of course, they can do what they want with their own software. But at least give a clear definition on HOW OR WHAT METHODS THEY ARE USING TO MARK PAID LINKS
Yes! this Page Rank drop down is due to Paid Links."
A good thing is that, this time Google decided only to give a warning by dropping that green pixels only. Nobody claims about loss of SERPS or ranking on general. SEOMOZ gives a nice data regarding this issue. You will find it really interesting. Take a look here. LINK
BTW Yahoo directory goes from 9 to 7 and Business.com also goes from 8 to 7.