Advice on paid links and recovering from Google PR drop

  • MikeGibbs
  • Novice
  • Novice
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  • Posts: 32
  • Loc: England (and a little in Spain)

Post 3+ Months Ago

Hi Folks,

I wonder if you can help me please? I think we may have been hit (somewhat unfairly I think) by Google re paid links and I'd really appreciate some advice.

I run a series of local information web sites for Spain which combine a range of community features (popular forum, chat, member reviews etc..) and a local information directory.

People pay to be featured in the local directory (we only accept ads that are applicable for the area) and they advertiser gets a full page of information, can load 10 photos, contact details etc. As part of their contact details this includes a link to their web site if they have one. This advertising funds the running of the sites.

Here's an example of a local restaurant that advertises with us (for a v.small annual fee) ...
http://www.viva-almeria.com/restaurante_el_cortijo_bar_la_parata_p5931.php

As you can hopefully see from this, the ad is very rich, includes member reviews, local maps (which we've created ourselves) and is a genuinely useful local advert. Whilst someone pays for this, this is hardly a cynical link exploitation scenario on our part on paid links and we're really committed to build the best user experience we can for our large member base. Also, every ad is reviewed on a quality basis to ensure it's a local business - so we're really not on selling our PR (in my view).

Anyway, in the last week or so I've noticed funny jumping about on the results for certain keyword searches and today noticed our PR dropped from 5 to 3. Not all keyword searches have been hit - but some seem to have been. To be honest, I'm not so concerned about PR rating as it's results that count - though I realise people do judge us on this.

Reading up about all this, I've today amended the links to advertiser websites to be 'no follow' in line with the Google guideline. However, I've no idea how to notify Google of this (or how their bot detects which links on a page are paid ones and which aren't - as we can also have unpaid links on the site).

I'd really like to know ...
- How we can let Google know what we do is legitimate and that in any case we've now amended the key links to no-follow?
- What people think of the circumstance we're in - in terms of if they think this is fair from Google (I've always stuck to the view that we don't try and do any SEO sneaky tricks - and it's seems to have worked well - though now am concerned if we've been slapped down by Google a little harshly)?

Thanks in advance :D

Mike

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