Great post by my old friend Dan Thies on the SearchReturn Discussion List today. This comment had been made in a previous edition (sorry can't recall by whom):
"Matt, using VPN, surfed into Google's network (without showingthe audience his screen) to come up with the internal number oflinks the site was actually being credited for towards rankings.The number? Three links."
And Dan responded by saying:
This is an extreme example of what has been the reality of paidlinks for a long time. Google is very good at detecting andfiltering paid links.When Matt said a while back that they were catching 95% of paidlinks already, the text link industry and their flacks in theblogosphere jumped all over it, accused Matt of lying, trying touse FUD to control webmasters, etc.
Here's the truth: the paid text link industry has become nothingbut a big scam. Those who profit by it, and there are many,don't want to admit that. They want to shift the discussion andattention away from the truth.
Here's the truth: renting links has never been a "standard and accepted SEO practice." Bob Massa remembers. Danny Sullivan remembers. No amount of spin and noise on the part of the link peddlers can change the reality of the situation.
If you want links, build something worth linking to and market the hell out of it. It's easier, it's cheaper, and it works. ~ Dan Thies.
Excellent advice! If you haven't had a chance to subscribe to Detlev Johnson's SearchReturn, you should. It's a great, free discussion list with lots of good info and input from people working in SEO and SEM. Here's the link to subscribe to SearchReturn , give yourself an early Christmas present!