Google’s Pay For Links Flip Flop
You may have heard by now about Google penalizing itself after getting caught paying bloggers for links to promote it’s Chrome browser. Apparently Google is ignorant of it’s own links policy, and after being called out for hypocrisy for breaking its own rules it is demoting (not banning) itself in the search engine results for two months.
‘We’ve investigated and are taking manual action to demote Chrome and lower the site’s PageRank for a period of at least 60 days,’ a spokesman said in an email. Source
What concerns me about this story is how Google could possibly be ignorant of it’s own rules that it’s search engine algorithms are based on, and the reason that its Panda Update was designed to remedy?
Google has already removed most of the offending posts - which it claimed were created by a third-party advertising agency. The posts violate Google’s own policies on which links and posts are counted in search results. Google traditionally frowns on any posts that are created with a view to boosting a site’s PageRank by linking to it.
Personally I think it’s shameful, and given all of the hiccups from Google lately it only adds another black eye to Larry Page’s term as CEO.
And what does it say about all of the bloggers who accepted money from Google to publish the links. Shouldn’t they know better? Neither were the links nofollowed. It’s absolutely shameful.
Some SEOs and webmasters engage in the practice of buying and selling links that pass PageRank, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites,’ the site says in its policies. Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results. The posts contained very vague praise of Chrome with little original content, and helped the browser gain in popularity in Google’s PageRank algorithm which determines which sites come at the top of search results.
So how could Google have not known about the campaign until it was caught red-handed? Instead Google cried foul and said that it did not authorise the controversial marketing campaign, claiming that it consistently avoids paid sponsorships.
By implication this infers its advertising firm Unruly was responsible. But that flies in the face of common sense and clearly someone at Google must liason with it’s partners and should have known about the campaign. To say anything otherwise is an insult to our collective intelligence.
So that being the case then who authorized it? Clearly someone at Google is responsible so why aren’t we hearing names? And if a Google employee made the decision to go ahead with the campaign (which is likely) then Google is responsible .. plain and simple.
When you are in a position of setting the rules you should be above reproach. Google isn’t omnipotent after all.