Roughly half of SEOs claim to have

Frozen in Fear vs Fearless

The broader SEO industry is to some degree frozen by fear.  not bought *ANY* links in a half-decade.

Long after most of the industry has stopped buying links some people still run the “paid links are a potential FTC violation guideline” line as though it is insightful and/or useful.

Ask the people carrying Google’s water what they think of the official FTC guidance on poor ad labeling in search results and you will hear the beautiful sound of crickets chirping.

Where is the ad labeling in this unit?

Does small gray text in the upper right corner stating “about these results” count as legitimate ad labeling?

And then when you scroll over that gray text and click on it you get “Some of these hotel search results may be personalized based on your browsing activity and recent searches on Google, as well as travel confirmations sent to your Gmail. Hotel prices come from Google’s partners.”

Zooming out a bit further on the above

Ad unit to look at the entire search result page, we can now see the following:

4 text ad units above the map
huge map which segments demand by Telemarketing Final Expense Leads price tier, current sales, luxury, average review, geographic location
organic results below the above wall of ads, and the number of organic search results has been reduced from 10 to 7

How many scrolls does one need

Telemarketing Final Expense Leads

To do to get past the above wall of ads?

If one clicks on one of the hotel prices the follow up page is … more ads.

Check out how the ad label is. Visually overwhelmed by a bright blue pop over.

It is worth noting Google Chrome

has a built-in ad blocking feature which allows Travelocity customers likely remained hem to strip all ads from displaying on third party websites if they follow Google’s best practices layout used in the search results.

You won’t see ads on websites that have poor ad experiences, like:

Annoying ads with flashing graphics

or autoplaying audio
Ad walls before you can see content
When these ads are blocked, you’ll see an “Intrusive ads blocked” message. Intrusive ads will be removed from the page.

The following 4 are all true:

Google buys entire businesses, guts them & sells them for parts.
Google’s core business model is selling paid links with ever lighter disclosure.
Some SEOs suggest selling links or exposure is beneath them.
Ex-Google employees leverage

Their past gains to buy well linked

sites like
And, as a bonus, to some paid links are a crime but Google can sponsor academic conferences for market regulators while requesting the payments not be disclosed.

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