You’ve heard the derogatories: Blackhat, Scumbag, SEO. In some people’s eyes they are all the same thing. But are they?
Let’s face it. Mike McDonald has a point. SEOs are manipulators. But is that really a bad thing?
I do agree with his conclusion in the end. It’s not certain that Google would penalize a high profile search engine optimization expert, or any SEO, for promoting a product that happened to have resulted in a lot of inbound links for the SEO or his sponsor. It’s not certain they wouldn’t either. But when it comes to paid links, well, if you get caught paying cash for those then Google will nab you. We know that for certain. But, here’s the pickle. Only if you get caught.
Now I’m not saying you should go out and buy a lot of links under the radar. There are enough people out there recommending that. But it does beg the question, What exactly is a paid link?
Is it a paid link if you receive a product as a gift just so you can blog about it? Is it a paid link if you are “loaned” a product so you can blog about it? What if you trade services and that results in a big inbound link pay off for you – intended or not? Would that constitute a paid link campaign?
I think these are questions that a lot of us would like Google to answer. But Google doesn’t always come out with those kinds of answers very forthrightly. And who can blame them? The bad guys – I mean, we SEO types – we generally jump on such news and exploit it for everything that it’s worth. Can you blame us? That’s our job.