Depending on which niche you are in there is a good chance that one or more of your local competitors are buying links. In some competitive niches, everyone on the front page is guilty of obtaining links in one way or another that Google would frown upon. So… Should you tattle tale?
Should I report my competitor’s paid links?
If you want to report your competitor’s links to Google just go here. Historically the spam reports were sent to engineers to take into consideration in future algorithm updates. But according to newer verbiage on Google’s site it appears that they will look into the reports. Although, on the form submission page the text still reads “If you know of a site that buys or sells links, please tell us by filling out the fields below. We’ll investigate your submissions, and we’ll use your data to improve our algorithmic detection of paid links.“
I do not go around turning in “competitors”. I see mountains of spam all day long and I honestly do not care about it. However as an experiment I did turn in a very basic spammer spamming the web up who is trying to rank for a very unimportant key phrase. It is competitive and would interest Google, but even if they get caught, this is not going to ruin their life.
This is what it looks like when you file the spam report:
Will Google act?
We will see. It is blatantly obvious that the site I turned in was buying links. I will keep tabs on this one. If Google penalizes the site, we will know that they are acting on these spam reports.
I will update this article if and when there is news. I will be watching this several times each week. If there is no update, they are not manually penalizing links due to a human spam submission.
I am betting that there is no response and the offenders get to keep on ranking anyways.
With this type of abuse allowed to continue search engines will continue to be easily manipulated.