Google to publishers: Accepting ‘bribes’ for links could lead to penalties

Google on tablet

Google has reminded publishers that the practice of accepting 'bribes' in return for links is against their guidelines and can lead to ranking penalties.

The reminder comes in response to a widely-shared article published by The Outline, which claims that many major online publications such as TechCrunch, Huffington Post and the New York Times accept payments from companies in return for positive PR coverage and links.

The Outline spoke to several writers, who wished to remain anonymous, who admitted to accepting money for links - a practice they say has been going on for years and that is widely known in the industry.

Of course, this will not come as a surprise to anyone in the search industry, as paying for links and 'bribing' journalists is so commonplace it has become the new norm - which makes it difficult to differentiate the paid-for links from the natural ones.

The article suggests that the price for buying links from such major, and well trusted, online publications can be in excess of $1,000 per link - which makes it easy money for journalists to place links for companies looking to improve their search engine ranking positions.

All of this talk has sparked Google to chime in, with their new 'public liasion for search' Danny Sullivan responding on Twitter to reiterate Google's guidelines in respect to links:

About the Author

Luke Glassford

Luke Glassford is an SEO expert with over 15 years’ experience.

During his time working in SEO, Luke has set-up an SEO agency, worked as an in-house SEO for a major national company and managed his own successful SEO consultancy - using a lot of different SEO tools along the way!