Google has finally taken some action to alert people that paid links are not the best idea for search engine rankings. Just yesterday the search conglomerate reduced the PageRank of numerous websites for supposedly having paid links. A really good article titled, "Google’s PageRank update goes after Paid Links" from Search Engine Land displays a list of some particular sites who took a hit. This warning has been coming for some time now, especially from Danny Sullivan in this article about how selling paid links can hurt your pagerank on Google , and to be honest I am glad to see it happening sooner than later. As a professional in the SEO industry it is tempting to opt into these paid link strategies because no one can argue that they don’t work. However, I have always preferred to stick to my white hat strategies because I believe that it is just not worth it in the end to try some quick fix. The way I see it is that buying and selling links is a way to manipulate the search engine rankings of a site and this goes completely against what every single search engine wants for their results. With these possibilities, the people / companies with the most money can easily buy the most high quality links and thus manipulate the results / rankings for their site(s). Why was this ever allowed in the first place? Google had to have seen this coming a long time ago. I find it hard to believe that people say that Google cannot track the majority of these. With the billions of dollars that Google rakes in on a monthly basis and with the tens of thousands of employees that Google has (the majority of whom are some of the smartest people in their fields) Google can pretty much do whatever they want. I do not want to get into any kind of conspiracy theory or voluntary oversight on the part of Google, but these warnings via knocking down PageRanks should have come a long time ago. For the sake of the little guy and the web design / marketing companies out there who really put in the time and effort to create the best possible resources for people with their sites, I hope that Google and the other search engines really take a strong stance on this issue and continue to bring down the hammer on sites for buying and selling links.