Last Updated on September 9, 2020
How Does Google Define It?
As a White Hat SEO practitioners we have been pretty vocal on why you should follow Google’s webmaster guidelines. This really applies to link building and not amassing paid links. Paid links are a dangerous SEO strategy designed to artificially boost your ranking by paying other sites to link to your content. So how can you make sure your links aren’t damaging your SEO.
Paid Links Video
Matt Cutts released a video on this topic back in 2014 that explains where Google stand on paid links. He outlines the Webspam’s team criteria for sniffing out suspicious, unnatural and paid links. This 7-minute video is really worth watching. Personally I was surprised (and pleased) to hear that Google’s quality guidelines follow the spirit of the Federal Trade Commissions’ guidelines.
Do you have paid links on your website?
So now you know what Google considers a paid link to be. Do you have any on your site? Google AdSense, Bing and Yahoo, and doubleclick are not considered paid links. So if you’re running ads from any of these platforms on your site you should be okay.
If you’re running ads from any other sources you need to make sure that any paid link or advertisement your site is hosting must have a “nofollow”. Or it must be redirected through a file that is excluded by your robots.txt file. This will help tell Google that is is advertising and not an attempt to exploit SEO.