How To Stay Under The Google Radar
So you got some paid links going on your blog and Google haven’t got to you yet and you want to keep it that way. Here are a few things you can do to stay under Google’s radar. Keep in mind that this is a cat and mouse game. What is working now may not work in the future.
Make Sure Links Are Related To Your Blog
Having links that are unrelated to your blog is one of the biggest paid link tip offs. Keeping your links related to what you blog about will help you stay under Google’s radar. You should consider more creative linking strategies as well. Links in the side bar are often viewed as paid links, especially if they are site wide. Links at the post level are a lot harder to detect. If you’re a new publisher to Text Link Ads, consider running single page links instead of site wide because those sell more.
Upgrade To The Latest TLA Plugin
If you are running an old TLA plugin, then you need to upgrade to the latest one right away. If you’ve been wondering how Google can tell if you’ve been selling Text Link Ads, it’s actually pretty simple. Shoemoney explained it in his Fun Numbers post. If you want to see all the sites running TLA, do a search for function tla_ads. The number has gone down from the 34,100 that Shoe reported. This doesn’t necessarily mean that publishers are dropping TLA. The latest TLA plugin doesn’t have function tla_ads in the codes so publisher running the new plugin won’t show up on the hit list.
Do Not Label The Links
Labeling your links with “Sponsored Links” “Advertisements” “TLA” “Text Link Ads” etc. just screams for Google to bitch slap you. The best thing to do is not to label the links at all. If you must label the links then do it with an image and not text. The image can say whatever you want it to say because the Googlebot can’t read it. This doesn’t mean it won’t in the future. For that reason, you’ll want the image to say something along the lines of “recommended sites” or “sites I read.”
Remove Your Link To Text Link Ads
Google has targeted Text Link Ads publishers because TLA is the biggest player in the link selling business. Many publishers link to TLA under their paid links using “Your Link Here” or “Get Featured Here.” The bot can follow the link to Text Link Ads and conclude that you are selling paid links.
The easiest way to avoid this is to remove the link to TLA. However, this could reduce link sales. A way around this would be to hide the link behind a redirect and add a nofollow and noindex to it. The bot won’t see text link ads in the URL because it’s behind a redirect and it won’t follow the link because you put a nofollow on it. Hell, it may even conclude that you are following Google’s guideline on putting nofollow on sponsored links. 😈 OK, that’s probably wishful thinking.
While the redirect and nofollow may keep you from the bot’s radar, it doesn’t keep you safe from pissed off readers from manually reporting your blog to Google. So, if you want to really play it safe, remove the link entirely.
Paid Links Are Not Going Away
Paid links are not going away no matter how hard Google tries. While Google has been able to get many sites to surrender, that had the effect of increasing prices because of less supply. I’ve talked to quite a few sites and they tell me that since the Google crack down, their link sales have been better than ever. As long as they stay under Google’s radar, they’ll be able to enjoy the income the links provide plus get Google traffic as well.
Good luck in your cat and mouse game with Google.