Google not OK with Text Link Ads

James Ryan Jonas

A lot of people know it. Some blogged about it. Matt Cutts himself confirmed it.

Google hates paid links.

But our site is a testament to how Google particularly dislikes the paid text advertising program Text Link Ads or TLA. used to have a PR of 4 prior to the Google PageRank chaos that engulfed the blogosphere in late October last year. The commotion stems from Google ‘s move to slap sites that supposedly sold links with a PageRank penalty. This site, along with several other sites, lost 2 PRs. That is, our PR4 became PR2.

In response, we removed all links in the site that promote TLA and stopped getting direct paid link ads. We cannot totally disable TLA then because some ad campaigns were running during that time.

Google saw the change and upgraded our PR to 3. All’s well that ends well? Not really.

In early January 2008 — just a week or two ago — Google updated PRs again and, surprise!, this site’s PR has gone all the way down from 3 to 0. Yup Pagerank zero as in nilch, nada, nothing, none.

It is at this point that we decided to totally forget about Text Link Ads. We disabled the TLA InLinks Program plugin in the blog and stopped getting TLA ads.

Voila! Two days later after the change, this site’s PageRank was up again, but not just to 3 but to its original PR of 4 (see screenshot).

Pinoy Money Talk and Google PageRank

We can confirm that Text Link Ads was indeed the culprit for our PR downgrade because after completely removing all TLA’s ads on the site — and doing that and nothing else — we got our PR 4 back.

TLA does provide a nice addition to our Adsense income, but if we are to choose between Google and TLA, there really is not much of a choice. If only TLA can find a way not to violate Google’s Webmaster policies, say put a nofollow attribute to their links, then we’d willingly embrace them back.

For now, we are happy that this site’s original PR is back. Hopefully, the increased PR translates to higher ranking in Google search which then converts to more visits to the site which, in turn, boosts our Google Adsense income, replacing the foregone TLA earnings.

Wishful thinking but still… 😉

James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.