Back in 2007, at the SES San Jose, I picked up the T-Shirt I was wearing today. I believe it must have been the last Google Dance at a large search marketing conference. The SES in San Jose in 2007 has gone down in history as the point Google brought down the hammer on Paid Links.
Google is not the Government
To make sure you know your history, make sure you read these posts, and understand how we got there. Sometimes it's just important to understand your history to know what will be coming next..So for those who were not there, here are the links to some great readings:
- Matt Cutts’s comments and slides from SES
- Michael Gray’s slides from SES Google is not the Government
- SEOmoz: The Paid Links Debate Rages On
- Search Engine Roundtable: Are Paid Links Evil?
- Update added: Slides by Capt. Todd Malicoat; Why I'm a Link Libertarian
At least I can say, I got the T-Shirt...
A couple of observations;
- It's been 5 years since the war on paid links started, and there is still no end in sight
- Paid links have gone underground, even more off the radar all SEO's thought would happen back in 2007
- Paid links now come in disguise; AKA guest posts; content marketing or sponsorship
- After 5 years, I still fit this T-Shirt.. (really!)
Honestly, link-building is a blind spot on my SEO resume. First I worked for eBay, getting links thrown at pages left-and-right. My job was just to not shoot ourselves in the foot and let the link equity go to waste. Second, Slashdot and SourceForge, the sites I've worked at for 14 months, both have Billions of links. Yes, Billions with a B! Now, at Airbnb, I can see where we are going. This will be a link printing machine if we play our cards right. Why.. Because the product doesn't Suck!
Which brings me to a quote of a good and wise SEO friend of mine:
The best SEO is a product that doesn't suck. Otherwise it's just manipulation.