Many webmasters who have been following the discussions about Google's dislike of paid links have been confused about what constitutes bad links and good links, in the eyes of the search engine companies. In this article, I will seek to answer many of the questions people have on this topic. There are two kinds of links that you can pay to have made for you: rented or paid links, and permanent links.
Introduction To Paid Links, Or More Accurately Rented Links With Rented links, you can generally make your purchase decision based on the PageRank of a page. The downside with rented links is that Google has stated that they do not like links that are sold on the basis of PageRank, and they are trying to create systems to identify links rented for PageRank, for the purpose of discounting those links. While they may eventually be able to target and negate links developed by systems like Text-Link-Ads or TextLinkBrokers, they will never be able to completely identify and discount all links that are sold for the purposes of PageRank . In the end, I suppose Google is not going to penalize the Source or Target websites for those links, but they will nullify the value of the individual links in the Google algorithms. Cutts suggested and implemented the "rel=nofollow" a while back as a tool webmasters could use for the purpose of identifying links for which the webmaster did not want to pass PageRank. The only thing that Google's algorithm will actually do to links identified as rented or paid links is that it will treat those links as "rel=nofollow's". If Google succeeds in their quest, the webmaster buying the links will be throwing away his or her money, if they are buying placement on a webpage solely for the purpose of influencing PageRank.
The Story Of Permanent Links The second kind of link is the permanent link. Permanent links come in many formats, and in most cases should generally be viewed as non-rental links. With rental links, you pay a fee for placement once a month, quarter or year. Of course, the Yahoo directory is not viewed as a paid link by the Google engineers, because although you "pay" to get the link, Yahoo does not guarantee placement of your link in their directory. Instead, Yahoo says that we are paying them to "review our link." This is why Google is not discounting links from the Yahoo directory. Those Yahoo links are nice to have, but they still do require a yearly review for commercial websites, which must be paid for on a yearly basis.
Permanent in all cases is in the eye of the beholder. Permanent as a rule in the Internet world means that you will not have to pay another fee later to keep that link on the page, where it will reside. In the context of links on the Internet, permanent actually means that the link will live at that location, until the webmaster who owns the website changes his or her website's direction OR goes out of business. In my experience, perhaps 10% of the website's where we get links placed will go under within one year. Towards the end of the second year, webmasters will look at their Profit/Loss and make a determination whether their income level will justify shooting for a third year of operation. Another 20% will close their website at the end of the second year run. So, 30% will drop out of business, within their first two years. Of the remaining 70%, many of those websites will survive to the fifth year and beyond. I don't know how long one will be able to count on a permanent link just yet, but links that I built for myself in 1999 continue to produce traffic for my websites today, and those links have sent me continuous traffic for years.
Permanent, One-Way Links Many permanent one-way links can be acquired on pages that currently have PageRank on them. In those cases, it may simply be a matter of your link being added to a list of links already on someone's web page. However, any link created through a content development method, such as pay-per-post or article marketing, will be posted on a new page on the Internet. All new pages on the Internet begin life at PageRank Zero. It is like the birth of a baby. The baby begins small, but grows into a child, then a teen, and finally an adult. All article pages begin their lives at PageRank Zero, and most of those new pages will increase in PageRank as they age. Some web pages will never mature beyond PR1, but others can grow into pages that are as high as PR6 (at least that is the highest I have seen an article page to date). If you trust Matt Cutts of Google, he has indicated that all new pages begin life at PageRank Zero and in the Supplemental Results. He also said that Supplementals are not the end of the road. Cutts stated that the only thing required to bring a web page out of the Supplemental Results is to have that web page gain PageRank. (For those curious why a page went from the Primary Results to Supplemental Results, the answer is that either Google began counting links differently OR the links that gave a web page PageRank no longer exist.)
Three Reasons Why Article Marketing Helps Link Building My conclusion from this information, and I might be biased, is that the use of article marketing for link building is a positive in the Google algorithms. * I conclude this because links developed through article marketing begin on pages that have a PR Zero. So, we are obviously not getting links placed on websites for the sole purpose of acquiring PageRank, not directly anyway. We are placing links for the sake of having links, but with good luck, many of those links will gain PageRank over the long haul. * By the very nature of article marketing, we can ensure that the links we develop for our websites reside on web pages that are tightly focused and targeted to the content of our websites. * Most websites that post articles do so through a process of moderation, meaning that all article placements have been human reviewed. That human review process at the other end of the transaction puts most article websites on par with Yahoo's human-reviewed directory. When we can get our keywords embedded into the link pointing to our websites, then that is always a much better deal. But, that outcome will be affected by the webmaster at the other end of the process. Each webmaster has his or her own rules for article placement, and some of those folks simply do not permit embedded keywords in our links, either in the body of the article or in the about the author information. A plain text link is better than no link at all, although we always strive to get embedded keywords in our links.
Final Thoughts When you write a great article people will link to it, no matter where it may reside. So in time, the pages that house your article will gain PageRank. As the article's author, you will are in total control of the relevance of the web page linking to your website. Just as you are in control of relevance, you are also in control of whether people will choose to reprint your article. Write a good article, and people will use it.