Most website owners understand that getting links from quality sites is the key to creating better Google rankings.

In the past few years Google has been working hard on making sure that links from low quality sites don't count as much as those from high quality sites and the link marketplace has changed dramatically.

Dave Naylor started an interesting discussion on his blog this week about how websites are selling text links disguised as Google Adsense adverts, purely to avoid being spotted as a link seller.

This kind of stealthy approach to buying and selling links just shows how far underground the link marketplace has gone recently.

On the other hand we see that GoCompare has bounced back almost to its previous rankings after removing its alleged paid links.

Some people were even paid to remove the links that GoCompare had apparently bought in the first place - nice work if you can get it.

The lesson to be learned here is that while there will always be websites using tricks to build better Google rankings, in the long term it is better to build a sustainable business.


Published 28 March, 2008 by Patrick Altoft

55 more posts from this author

You might be interested in

Comments (5)



"The lesson to be learned here is that while there will always be websites using tricks to build better Google rankings, in the long term it is better to build a sustainable business."

Really? Surely this "we see that GoCompare has bounced back almost to its previous rankings after removing its alleged paid links" suggests that their plan has paid off fantastically.

They managed to buy their way to the top of a competitive, lucrative industry and then are only penalised for a few weeks, before being returned to pretty muc hthe same position.

If you go-compare their lost revenue while peanalised to what they made from their top ranking overall, I'm confident that the message is that cheaters do win, and that many large sites cannot afford not to buy links, they must just be careful to not get caught!

over 10 years ago



I wonder how they retained their high ranking after they got rid of their paid links?

Did they employ a white hat technique instead?

over 10 years ago

Ciaran Norris

Ciaran Norris, Chief Digital Officer at Mindshare

Patrick - interesting post, and I appreciate your honesty, but I agree with SEO Alchemist.

If the links that they had bought were not what was keeping them in the top 5 in the first place, then the penalty for having them should not have sent them so far down and, therefore, they should not have bounced back so quickly. It simply doesn't make any sense and, I think, confuses the whole issue even more.

There are, for me at least, no real lessons to be learned here, especially as I would bet a big of digging would find that more than a couple of the other sites in the top 10 with GoCompare are probably using tactics similar to those which got them banned.

over 10 years ago



This is really sad that buying and sellink of links is done under such cover....

over 10 years ago



Whilst Go Compare were penalised, they didn't last long outside of the top rankings. Those of us who have found ourselves penalisec, for whatever reason, have seen our pages dumped on page 100 for a lot, lot longer.

almost 10 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.