Saturday, November 15, 2008 - Paid Link? You be the judge!

As has been reported around many SEO forums, the most effective type of link-votes are NOT cast from the side bars of websites but rather straight from the content area. The reason for this is that it is very difficult for Google to detect as an artificial or paid link.

Case in point is a link-vote that was recently cast toward for the search term “thanksgiving flowers” from this page which I’ve replicated below in jpeg format.    

Please read the surrounding text for context to determine on your own if it was strategically placed there with the sole intent to influence the search engines, or, it just happened by chance in a natural way.

The blog posting is dated November 6th 2008.  As is commonly known, link-votes take about 8 to 21 days to take effect. How fitting that it would influence the search engines just days before Thanksgiving. So what say you? Do you think it is paid?

Again, actual page can be viewed here for verification of the embedded link.


Anonymous said...

Your posting reminds me of that line in Casablanca where Captain Renault says "I am shocked...shocked that there is gambling going on in this establishment!"

There's a Fly Fishing site ( and a Christian Apologetics site ( which links to, even though it is well off topic. And that funeral site just happens to link to "Thanksgiving Flowers".

There are also dozens of what appear to be paid blog posts that go to, which also happens to link to "Thanksgiving Flowers", thus passing link juice to your Thanksgiving page.

It's good that you "exposed", but I really wonder if it isn't a little disingenous for you to "expose" them when all the major flower companies do it, including yourself!

For the record, from my observations I believe Proflowers is the most egregious. They have purchased links to rank high for the term "florist"--and their stated mission is to put all of us florists out of business!!

Mark McFall said...

Thanks for your comments anonymous. Looks you are very much in tune as iron sharpens iron.

Don't you worry about Proflowers, their time is coming.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mark. Don't get me wrong--I love your blog and it is certainly a huge inspiration for all of us who are fighting for "the little guy". It's just that unfortunately, it seems that paid text links need to be part of every SEO's arsenal, not just the big players but even the small ones like us.

Proflowers really gets my gall, because on the bottom of their home page, they stuff keywords like "New York Flowers" and "Illinois Flowers", and end up getting ranked on pages that say "skip the local florist". Worse, they have high authority links from their partners like QVC that really boost them up. I definitely look forward to reading your posts of how we can fight that!

Thanks again for a great blog--I really enjoy reading it!

Mark McFall said...

Yes, I’m very much in agreement with your thoughts here. In order for real-florists to compete organically with the big boys, they must play like a big boy. The difference, for me, is that the little guy can be a little bit smarter about it in their approach without being so blatantly obvious.

Over the years, I’ve wavered on how I feel over paid links and I’m certainly not without sin in that regard. But my focus right now is to show the lack of thought within some of the SEO campaigns of the major players where money is just thrown out to the wind in an effort to get link on every tom – dick – and harry – website that will take it.

Real-florist can be a little bit smarter about their efforts and I try to express that line of thought when I post. While we can learn from the big boys in some ways that are positive, we can also learn from their mistakes.

Whether good or bad SEO practices, the intent of this blog is to show real-florists how they do it. Feel free to help me along the way as the path is virgin territory.