If you were wondering what the strange clicking noise was yesterday, you’ll be happy to find out that it wasn’t a swarm of crickets outside your house. No, it was every SEO in the world tutting loudly after Google was found to have breached Google’s own rules on buying links.
FirstFound have constantly and consistently advised our customers against link buying because Google’s Webmaster Guidelines are incredibly clear on the issue. Don’t do it:
However, 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. 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.
Google’s own advice on Paid Links
So when it came to light yesterday that Google had decided that it was all a case of “do what we say, not what we do”, the online SEO community decided they weren’t happy about the situation.
The issue concerns a marketing campaign for Google’s fast-growing Chrome browser, and the URL www.google.com/chrome. Despite Google’s own rules on buying links, a marketing company employed to promote the web browser decided that they’d like to pay bloggers to write posts on how brilliant Google Chrome is. In essence, paying people to link back to the Chrome website. Which just isn’t cricket.
This underhand tactic was brought to the world’s attention by Search Engine Land, who thought that swapping Amazon gift cards for back links constituted a significant breach of Google’s quality guidelines, and a backlash ensued. Google then tried to avoid taking action by claiming they’d just asked for a few video ads and that they had nothing to do with the marketing tactics they were paying for.
Funnily enough, this didn’t wash, and the company has been forced to demote Google Chrome in the listings for no less than 60 days. Meaning that the site no longer appears for Google searches for the term “browser” (it does still appear on page one of Bing, so obviously Microsoft aren’t copying that particular result…) or “chrome”. Somewhat irritatingly for people who want to download Google Chrome, the site isn’t even listed for “Google chrome”.
“We’ve investigated and are taking manual action to demote www.google.com/chrome 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.”
If you’re considering buying links, we’d like to strongly suggest that your reconsider. After all, if Google can’t get away with breaking their own rules, what chance do you have?
If you’re interested in ethical optimisation that meets Google’s guidelines and won’t get you de-listed, call FirstFound now on 0161 909 3400, or visit the FirstFound website.