Google gives self a slap over Chrome pageranks
Marketers violated client's rules on paid links
TechLife | 05 Jan 2012 :
Google is giving itself the digital equivalent of 100 lashes by downgrading the search result ranking of the company's own Web browser, Chrome, for 60 days.
The decision came after reports that a marketing company working for Google encouraged bloggers to write about Chrome for compensation. The practice of creating sponsored posts with the primary intent of gaming search results runs afoul of Google's website quality guidelines.
So, just as Google would do with any other company that broke its rules, the search giant punished Chrome's site ranking in Google search results - known as a site's PageRank. Punishing its own Web browser may help employees feel their company is doing the right thing, but for the average user, Google's self-flagellation makes it harder to find and download Chrome, even if you're specifically searching for the popular Web browser.
Google reportedly bought online video ads from a digital media agency called Essence Digital. Essence then reportedly hired another company, Unruly, to carry out Google's video ad campaign, according to Search Engine Land. The end result was that a number of blogs wrote positive posts (with the video embedded) about Google Chrome for compensation - reportedly Amazon gift cards.
Google doesn't specifically state it will punish a site's PageRank for creating sponsored posts. The problems start when paid posts start linking back to the sponsored website - in this case www.google.com/chrome.
Links pointing to a specific site are one of the primary ways that Google judges a site's PageRank. The more links a site has pointing at it, the thinking goes, the higher quality it must be.
This isn't the first time Google has issued high profile sanctions of search engine gaming. Last February it downgraded US department store chain JC Penney after The New York Times uncovered an apparent paid link scheme. JC Penney denied any direct knowledge of the PageRank efforts claiming a third party was involved.
In Chrome's case, the decision to downgrade the browser's PageRank appears to be more about the principle of paid links than actual misdeeds. Matt Cutts, Google's chief webspam fighter, said his team found only one paid link pointing back to Chrome's landing page, hardly enough to affect Google's search results.
Nevertheless, that one link violates Google's quality guidelines so now it is a little bit harder to find and download Google Chrome using a Google search.
IDG News Service