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Google’s Page Rank Update Increases Profitability of Selling Text Links

Posted By Darren Rowse 5th of November 2007 Search Engine Optimization 0 Comments

Text-Link-SellingThis email comes from a ProBlogger reader who wishes to remain anonymous:

“Dear Darren,

I have watched with interest the Google Page Rank fiasco (is there any other words for it) that happened recently. I am a blogger with numerous blogs who sells text links both privately and through a text link selling service on my blog and who was not penalized in the latest Page Rank update.

Since the update I’ve noticed four things:

1. About 50% of the blogs in my niche that used to sell text links have stopped doing so.
2. I’ve had about a 50% increase in demand for text link purchases in the last week.
3. I have had an increase in the number of private text link sales this week.
4. The amounts advertisers are willing to pay me have gone up.

As you mentioned in your post on the 27th (link) the laws of demand and supply are coming into effect. Less bloggers are selling text links but the demand remains steady. As a result prices are going up, more are going directly to bloggers to cut out the middle man and my profits are going sky high.

I just wanted to feed back to you that while Google might be happy to stop some selling text links that their actions have actually benefited many text link sellers greatly. I estimate that I have made an extra $1500 in the last week from Google’s update.

I for one hope that Google continues to crack down on the practice because it will mean I could retire young!”

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Wow, that is a nice little earner there, did you begin blogging with selling links in mind or did it just work out that way?
    either way I am stoked you have found a way to make your $$ good job

  2. So there is an opportunity in all the mayhem. I have never sold text links but I think I will have to consider it if the value of them are going up.

  3. now will this post get back all those bloggers who stopped selling links back into the scheme of selling text links.. that remains the question…
    if it does will the prices come down. will google go allout and penalise everyone again so as to not miss out on anyone… these questions are going to come forth once the first gets answered…

  4. Google has created this problem. Now their search algos will be gamed because of exactly what Darren predicted – link sellers are going underground.

  5. Mariam, a lot of link selling already is underground. I’ve sold more text links, lately, as well, though not to the tune of $1500. I’ve just noticed a slight increase.

  6. Wow, perhaps that will help me. I’ve recently started selling text links on my blog, and I would love to see this happen to me. Of course my blogs are fairly new, so it might not happen. However, I will be sure to update if it does!

    Those of you selling links underground.. how do you facilitate that? Companies contact you and make an offer? Or do you approach them and let them know that the space is available?

  7. It is not possible for Google to track all websites selling text links. They probably picked on the top earners who are more visible to send a clear warning to the blogosphere to toe the line or suffer the consequences.

    How does underground selling of links work?

  8. Brandon Harshe says: 11/05/2007 at 3:58 pm

    An extra $1500 per week is nothing to sneeze at. I’m in the process of starting up my own blog and will gladly take on that kind of profit!

  9. I wonder if the PR update has actually increased the PR of his blogs, making his sites more attractive for advertisers or was the increase purely supply and demand?

    As much as Google might hate text links, half of blogs in the world have one in the first place is because of these ads (maybe not directly, but revenue is ultimately what starts 98% of the blogs on the internet). If Google really finds a way to ban sites that sell text link ads, it is going to be a major disruption to information online period.

    Going back on topic though, I just can’t see why selling text link ads make the blog’s content less relevant for the user. If that’s the case, maybe all SEO companies should be de-indexed from Google’s search engine because they provide the service to increase your rankings.

    In the end, we, like Google, are just trying to make a living by offering something to the public. Too bad it’s another one of those times where the big company just squashes the small guys.

  10. It could be that Google will be happy with this result. They certainly had it in their power to ban pages with these ads or they could have banned the pages that were buying them. What they appear to have done is to make these paid links count against the selling sites at a higher level than more “organic” links. A first semester economics course would tell you that if you reduce the supply, but leave the demand in place (by not banning the sites that buy the ads) the price is going to go up and the number sold is likely to go down. Presumably the folks at Google are smart enough to know that, which would indicate that this is the result they were going for.

    Also, for what it’s worth, it doesn’t look to me, from my own experience, like the update was 100% related to selling of text link ads. Some of it was the normal Google dance, with some pages going up and others going down. The bad habit of using plugins to put 15+ social bookmarking and 6+ feed subsciption links on every page of a site probably hurt in my case as much as having 4 paid ads on the same pages. Some of my sites that had only the bookmarking and feed links with no paid links suffered.

  11. I was selling links through TLA and my blog went from a 0 to a 4(PR). I think content, traffic, and higher PR links makes a big difference.
    I was recently contacted about advertising on my blog via text link. I decided to have a November special because of this. I believe that you can’t live by Google!

  12. Wish some of it would come my way! I escaped the slap, unlike over half the sellers in my niche, but I still have one free slot for sale.

  13. I had a blog go from a PR 0 to a PR 4 that was not accepted by TLA. However, I did have another blog go from 0 to 2 that was accepted. Just waiting for the contacts!

  14. As Joe stated above, I too would like someone to leave a comment about underground link selling. I’m amazed at the $1500 increase. Good job and good luck on your early retirement.

    I received an error message when I submitted this reply so I apologize if this posts twice.

  15. For every action there is a recation, or opposite side as you will. If you accept your PR being lowered you can make your money, while if you want money you have to accept Google possibly lowering your PR.

    I for one fail to see how much different Pagerank does these days seeing as most of my traffic comes from referals from other blogs.

  16. I believe “Page Rank” is written together.

  17. I don’t think google is trying to stop text link selling because there is no way to stop it!

  18. I’m hoping to sell some advertising on my blog. It’s a pagerank 2, so I guess google can’t really do much. It all basically boils down to content anyways, right?

  19. I agree wholeheartedly. Even though my pagerank has gone down the value of the links has doubled. Go figure.

  20. I don’t think we can ignore Google altogether. Google still brings in lot more traffic to small and medium sized blogs. For me, I am getting about 25% of the traffic from Google.

    Let us play this paid text links safely. If Google decides to dump all the paid text links, then the advertisers would not find any value in buying text links. So, without Google, the entire paid links industry itself looks out of the world. So, I am not sure everything is going to roll out in the future.

    Anyway, congrats to the anonymous blogger for making some quick money from the surge in demand

  21. Going back on topic though, I just can’t see why selling text link ads make the blog’s content less relevant for the user. If that’s the case, maybe all SEO companies should be de-indexed from Google’s search engine because they provide the service to increase your rankings.


    If people are allowed to sell all the text links they want, the entry cost of setting up a website and getting traffic naturally gets that much higher.

    Think about what a major corporation can do the searchability of your site’s content in a matter of seconds, if sold text links are valued the same as other SEO strategies like “working hard to get your posts recognized as valuable by like-minded blogs.”

    If you drive up the entry costs of getting good work recognized on the web, you drive the amateurs out of the web. That’s the end of Problogger and the end of empowering any of you who started from scratch.

    Google, for all their problems (like making AdSense worthless except to one who would throw it in your face every second), is very sensitive to this issue.

    Making money online is not the only goal some of us have here. I personally am trying to create an audience for a style of reading and writing that is long gone. If people are allowed to buy links for sites that have content relevant to my blog, the competition against my blog will be far too much for my time online to be worth anything. And I’m already giving up my time to build an audience, and not getting paid anything for it – do you want me to go broke so my opinion on a Sonnet or a Bible passage can be read by one other person?

    I think Google made a mistake in hurting the PR of legitimate sites. But this thread is convincing me that buying and selling links is something that isn’t quite ethical. There is little or no sensitivity in the thread to the larger issue of why anyone is able to business on the web in the first place – i.e. “costs are low enough.” And it doesn’t look like anyone cares if others are allowed to have a voice and traffic, if one’s PR is injured in any way in the process.

    Long term, I realize I can’t be dependent on Google sending traffic either. But right now, it doesn’t hurt, I know that much.

  22. My fellow blogger here, who wrote to Darren, must not have felt the pinch of a Page Rank crash. Thats why its all nice for him now. I have seen blogs with numerous links got stripped off the PR. Also, whatever we may say, that we don’t care about Page Rank and all, you still do. Ask yourself.

    So in the end, you would look for whats best in the long run and not risk it for some money!

    Every man on his own!

  23. I think this kind of thing was inevitable. There will always be those who wish to play by the rules no matter what (who’ll stop selling links) and there will always be those who will make the most of any income opportunity they see.

    There will always be a supply & demand system. There will always be paid links – Google will never eradicate it.

  24. Off the specific topic, but here is a guy who makes a lot of money off multiple blogs, and his grammar is terrible! I wouldn’t advertise on a site with writing like that. It’s unprofessional.

  25. Exactly what I predicted.

  26. It’s simply this: The google algorithm encourages people to get as many links as they can. The only way to have a successful site is to get the links needed. A good site has two choices, buy them and or hire someone to get them. Organic linking can’t compete with SEO companies that can give someone thousands of backlinks. Google is putting a bandaid over a cut they have caused.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but when I am searching for something, I don’t care how many links a page has to it, i am only concerned if it is what I am looking for. I think google has forgotten about this.

  27. The issue is that your page rank will decrease and less advertisers will want to use your site.

  28. I suppose eliminating the middle man can give your earnings an instant boost.. yes! It’s a simple balance between the supply and the demand I guess…

    Oh and making a correction – demand increases by day – i don’t think it stays steady:)

  29. I take this as another proof or justification of the notion that PR is no longer that relevant these days.

    Now that this phenomenon is taking place, I’m having second thoughts on whether to really stop selling links and worship Google blindly or take the road once most travelled.

  30. I’d like to know if anyone who’s site lost PR in the update also noticed a drop in the SERPs. My site went from a PR2 to a PR1, and for the first few days held steady in the rankings. But today I can’t find it anywhere. I’m wondering if it’s related to the PR drop/text link selling, or if it’s something else.

  31. Very interesting. My blog dropped to a PR3 (no rankings loss, just a drop in PR), I assume because I had a “Sponsor a blog post” link where I offered other SEOs the opportunity to post for free with a link back to them. The plugin I used to automate this included paid options for more links and longer posts, which I couldn’t disable. Guess I shouldn’t have used the plugin at all and I got slapped for it. I never sold a single link nor did I take any money while this offer was up, though.

    Your post puts a new spin on selling text links, though. ;-)

  32. It has also led to an increase in offers of paragraphs with paid links. 3 of my friends got similar offers, but the dropping PR is a big deterrant.

  33. Elisa says: 11/06/2007 at 4:46 am

    Pleased to hear someone is making cash.

    But the page rank change isn’t going to fix the fact that –
    overall, blogging is becoming a less profitable playing field.

  34. This person will be laughing to the bank only until Google finally catches up with him or her and slaps them with the same penalty most others are getting. Then their income will dwindle significantly.

  35. I was contacted today by a persistent ad buyer. Boy, was I tempted to say ‘Screw Google!’ and take the cash!

    Sadly, I hit delete instead. :'(

  36. That is interresting, I didn’t came up with the idea but it is trough, now there are less offers but still a lot want to buy text links. 1,500$ extra isn’t bad :) I hope I could do the same.

  37. The law of demand and supply is definitely at work. I am thinking of higher prices and much more hidden ways to sell links.

  38. It’s a pity that the value of our website Ad space is valued mostly by PR of the page.

  39. Fiasco is way to strong. I think minor kerfuffle is more appropriate.

  40. I’m not convinced that a drop in PR is bad for anyone. There’s been talk for a while about the actual “worth” of google PR. People are beginning to look at different methods for actually ranking a site and I think that actual traffic and click thru rates will be more of a deciding factor in the long run than PR, alexa or anything else.

    If you want to sell links on your sites, sell links. This move by google was nothing more than a calculated bid to get more users on their adsense system. Of course, once you’re on adsense, be careful, any slight misstep and your time spent advertising will be wasted when they ban you before you get your first check.

  41. Darren,

    Why have some blogs become high rankers? I’ve been looking at a few blogs in the student market and some that have been blogging for 6 months or less have become a page rank 4! I think that’s crazy, what are your views, could there be another ‘tweak’ over the next month or so?

  42. My site went down because of the TLA I was so bummed! And this just happened last weekend!

  43. Big G is not really against the selling of links that are very relevant to your site, I’m in the Myspace game and I have notice that some Myspace sites that use to be PR5 drop to PR3 this was on the first recent update then 2 weeks later drop again to PR0 why? they had non relevant links to loans, credit cards and other finance links in the footer, got to admit though Big G their giving bloggers a hard time.
    It must be all that revenue you guys are taking away from them!

  44. If you use a tool like WP Text Ads on the WordPress platform, your links would include the ‘nofollow’ tag and Google will not penalise your site.

  45. As a relatively new blogger, I have 3 questions about selling text ads:

    1. Do people just get a one-time fee, or a monthly fee for selling a text ad? I would assume that latter would be better.
    2. Are the text ads to be posted indefinitely, or should there be some deal worked out in terms of duration?
    3. How much should a site expect to earn from a text ad (per 100 unique visitors)?

  46. anybody knows when google will update page rank? what what is the actual time google takes an update of websites?

    I asum ill have pr 2 of my blog


  47. Either nothing has happened, or mine pr has not improved.

    @ Lingeriezone a nice blog :-)

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