Google's Matt Cutts: Text Link Ads Link Sellers Targeted
Jun 3, 2013
by Barry Schwartz

A few weeks ago, we reported that Google busted another link seller network. We didn't know which link seller network it was - until now. Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, tweeted last week that the link network they went after was "TLA linkselling sites."

TLA, as everyone in our industry knows is Text Link Ads. They are one of the older and more substantial and much more visible link selling networks. Heck, I even had them on this site until I nofollowed my paid links.

That being said @patrickaltoft asked Matt Cutts, "do you mean link sellers in general or specifically ones hosting ads via Text Link Ads the company?"

Matt responded, "capital TLA."

TLA's home page PageRank is still a 6 but the link sellers may have taken a hit?
I can confirm that Google's anti-spam unit was applying manual penalties to sites carrying TLA links.

One of my sites was still carrying the TLA code for footer links, although only a single link was being displayed. Really, the few dollars I was getting per month did not justify the risk I was taking on the site but I hadn't got around to cancelling my participation in the program.

Then I received the dreaded "unnatural links" email from Google. The PageRank for the site's home page dropped to zero. The following morning, I removed the TLA code from the site and filed a reinclusion request. A day later, another email informed me that my reinclusion request was approved and that the manual penalty had been removed. The home page PR returned to 4 at the same time.

Really, I was surprised at how quickly they responded and reversed the penalty. Walk softly and carry a big stick and all that...