Google Walks Its Talk and Penalizes Itself


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If you haven’t been following the news lately, this week there was a heated discussion about a marketing campaign that Google carried out to promote its Chrome browser. Basically Google hired a marketing company to promote some web videos, and that company in turn hired bloggers to post the videos (obviously paying them). The problem emerged with some SEOs noticed the campaign and found a couple of those bloggers using dofollow links to the Chrome homepage, which in theory if a violation of Google’s guidelines.

The whole story can be found on this Search Engine Land post: Google’s Jaw-Dropping Sponsored Post Campaign For Chrome.

Anyway after the controversy was out there many people started asking (some demanding…) whether or not Google would penalize its own website for the sponsored link violation.

Guess what? Google did it.

The Chrome homepage used to be the first or second result for the term “browser”, but if you search for it now you probably won’t find it anywhere on the first page. Here’s Google’s statement about the case:

We’ve investigated and are taking manual action to demote and lower the site’s PageRank for a period of at least 60 days.
We strive to enforce Google’s webmaster guidelines consistently in order to provide better search results for users.

While Google did not authorize this campaign, and we can find no remaining violations of our webmaster guidelines, we believe Google should be held to a higher standard, so we have taken stricter action than we would against a typical site.

In my opinion Google is actually coming out stronger out of the whole debacle. For one thing it’s giving out a signal that no one is special when it comes to search rankings and penalties, and that it’s willing to walk its talk.

What do you think?

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12 Responses to “Google Walks Its Talk and Penalizes Itself”

  • Daniel Roach

    That’s really cool and all that Google is demoting it’s own page, but this isn’t really a “punishment” for them. They control Adsense ads for the Chrome browser and Chrome is set to overtake Firefox relatively shortly. 60 Days on the bench won’t ruffle their feathers even a tiny little bit. It seems more like a slap-on-the-wrist distraction until this whole thing blows over, when they’ll get back to business as usual.

  • Fren Dee Bee

    I’ve heard about this news recently. But I’m not aware that they did demote their Chrome page. I’m glad that they’re practicing what they preach though.

  • Treathyl FOX

    I used to have a boss that said she wouldn’t ask us to do anything she wouldn’t do herself. Good to see GOOGLE practice what they preach. Your blog news and tips are always helpful. I get them by eMail and I recommend DBT to visitors who come to my blog.

  • doug_eike

    One of the biggest questions for bloggers these days is whether Google will eventually be able to recognize good content on a website or blog. This will not happen unless Google holds itself to the highest standards in every regard. The incident cited in the above article advances Google, expecially in terms of credibility, and encourages content creators to hang in there. It gives us hope that Google will, in the long run, contribute positively to the creation of a level playing field on the Internet.

  • Waqas

    All fake. A drama by google to get attention…. huh… Is google really a fair company?

  • Dean Saliba

    They had no other choice but to penalise temselves or the entire thing would crumble due to them not playing fair.

  • Grant Hughes

    I don’t see Google as coming out stronger after this. First of all they knowingly broke their own rules and never suspected anyone would call them out.

    Secondly if you or I get caught by Google doing the same thing do you really think they will just slap your site for 60 days as they did to themselves?

    Google says ” Don’t be evil” and yet their actions are quite the opposite in many facets.

    In 2008 during the elections Google gave about $100,000 to the noH8 campaign and then they accepted advertising from a mormon group backing the anti gay legislation in California. Did they run the ads only in California and on political blogs? No, they ran the ad champagne country wide across all blogs including my travel blog. They made a few million on that one.

  • Andy

    Its great to see that Google is took such strict step for own product also. This is why Google is great.

  • Warren

    You cant really judge how or why google penalised itself. It HAD too, after the story broke all around the web, whether they were going to or not they then HAD to otherwise they would suffer a lot of abuse from blogs etc all over the web for not following its own rules.

  • Irfan

    It came to their respect, if Google hadn’t done so with themselves then obviously millions of question were have raise towards their partiality. lol

    Anyways good decision by Google – It clearly says we (Google) can’t compromise when it comes to over search ranking.

  • Paul

    It’s good that Google assessed the penalty on themselves. They really would have put themselves in a bad light if they hadn’t.

  • Ibrahim Kamrul Shafin

    Thank you very much for sharing this news pc. with us. I really enjoy the simplicity of this blog and the strict Google rules. When the rules are implemented on bloggers like me, I feel sad but as a Google-searcher I think it’s very important.

    I think, if people find this news, then they would use Chrome more than they used it earlier. 🙂

    Enjoyed the post.
    Thanks, Shafin.

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