Updated 2PM CST to reflect that fact that D&B and Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp are two distinct entities. See the main article for a full explanation.
Dun & Bradstreet Credibility CorpPossible Paid Links
This is a supporting page for the article Search Secrets. You can find the full article here.
It can be difficult to identify a paid link. In the case of Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp, they obviously offer legitimate products and service in the business space. In order to identify a paid link it helps to know that it is actually happening at all. From there you can then do backlink searches for the url in question. I had the research advantage of being solicited to participate in a paid link deal so I had a url to work from: http://MyCredit.dnb.com Even then, any site that linked to D&B with some contextual text around it, could be a legitimate link.
I was aided by the Internet Archive. That site allowed me to compare past versions of pages to the current pages that had links to D&B links on them. What I found over and over again was that a new sentence had been added to each page in question with a link to Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp inserted in a sentence of text. In some cases no other changes were observable on the page. In most other cases the only other change was explicit advertising (usually Google ads) being added or in a few cases there had been a site redesign. When you see page after page with the same pattern, it is difficult to think these are anything but paid links.
I had phone discussions with three of the people who placed paid links on their sites to Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. These individuals requested not to be named specifically. In no cases did the agency who solicited the links ever disclose that his might be a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. The general sentiment from those who I spoke to who placed the links was that it was a form of advertising, and advertising that is worth-wild is difficult to get these days. When I asked about putting disclosure of the paid link, one individual said they had considered it, but that because non-disclosure was a requirement, they didn’t have a choice. In another case the paid link solicitation was presented to a non-profit board, and there was approval to add the link to their site. From my perspective it is difficult to hold small web publishers responsible for these links. They aren’t educated by the agency on the risks in terms of Google penalties, and paid links are one of the few revenue sources available for publishers.
I list these website here not to penalize them, but as a reference to show that the link purchasing solicitations go beyond just one attempt.
This image provide a few examples of the page comparison. All pages used for these comparisons are referenced below with both urls and screen captures.
Below are the web pages that appear to have paid links inserted in them. In each case I has listed the page url, a url that shows a archived version of the page as well as screen captures for both versions.