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We have all heard that Google is upping its game when it comes to screening out "spammy" SEO tactics. This includes content farms and link abuse. Link abuse has been a cat and mouse game since Google incorporated external links as part of their ranking algorithm. In the "old days", it was all about links, links, and more links. The more links you had regardless of reciprocal (link trading), one way, three way, etc. the higher your rankings were. It was simple.
Google got wiser and started devaluing links that were reciprocal and/or irrelevant. They also got keener on other SEO spam tactics and started taking action. In 2005, BMW was booted off of Google's index and had their Page Rank dropped to 0 because of spammy doorway pages.
Last month, JC Penny was caught with their pants down by Google for hiring a 3rd party "link farm" which was renting hundreds or thousands of links to boost JC Penny's rankings. And just today, news broke that Overstock.com was encouraging college students to link to their website in exchange for a discount on their site. Both practices are considered 'black hat", unnatural and unethical in Google's eyes. The penalties range from a drop in existing rankings, to a boot from the index and a loss of Page Rank (as with BMW).
The days of renting links, buying links and trading links are over. It's just too risky to bet your URL's entire history and momentum. Your site will gather links in time organically. You can boost your Automotive SEO momentum by submitting to directories and including links in blogs and articles with anchor text in the link such as above. Dealers should be focused on building high quality, keyword-rich content for their websites instead of spending money on renting or buying links from 3rd parties. With proper automotive social marketing ,reputation management, and branding your links will come.
Content is still King when it comes to SEO, and from our perspective (and Google's) it will / should remain that way.