Google has made a change to it's algorithm which is making it much harder (or more expensive) to outright manipulate it's search results. I believe the discussion started by SEO Guy over at SEO Chat. From there he posted it on the Search Engine Roundtable weblog. The idea has since been talked about at most of the major SEO forums.
Garret French of WebProWorld wrote a synopsis article quoting some of the more common theories.
"The probation does not apply to new sites. It applies to links. When the algorithm was deployed certain older links were grandfathered in. After that, links will be (are being) given partial credit, and be essentially on "probation".
It applies to links, not sites. And the age of the link is not the only factor. The IP range of the links and other considerations are made, and the person who I discussed this with said that Krishna Bharat is at Google primary to develop and implement this new algorithm. It is supposed to radically change the way links are evaluated...
Disclaimer: This is my opinion and that's all it is."
This will allow new sites to still quickly gain PageRank as displayed, but ranking for competitive terms via quick link purchase is becoming exponentially more expensive.
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