Poll: Is Google's Response To Chrome's Paid Links Enough?

Jan 4, 2012 • 8:56 am | comments (19) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Chrome PenaltyGoogle was caught buying links to promote Chrome - well, it wasn't directly Google, it was a third-party Google marketing company doing it without their knowledge.

Google has responded by:

(1) Dropping the ranking for Chrome for the keyword [browser] to well beyond page 7 or so.

(2) Dropping the PageRank of the Chrome landing page.

Is this enough? Take our poll below.

Matt Cutts responded on Google+ saying:

Sorry that it took me until now to comment on the situation that Danny wrote about at http://searchengineland.com/google-chrome-page-will-have-pagerank-reduced-due-to-sponsored-posts-106551 . I’m in Central America this week and my ability to reach the internet hasn't been great.

I’ll give the short summary, then I’ll describe the webspam team’s response. Google was trying to buy video ads about Chrome, and these sponsored posts were an inadvertent result of that. If you investigated the two dozen or so sponsored posts (as the webspam team immediately did), the posts typically showed a Google Chrome video but didn’t actually link to Google Chrome. We double-checked, and the video players weren’t flowing PageRank to Google either.

However, we did find one sponsored post that linked to www.google.com/chrome in a way that flowed PageRank. Even though the intent of the campaign was to get people to watch videos--not link to Google--and even though we only found a single sponsored post that actually linked to Google’s Chrome page and passed PageRank, that’s still a violation of our quality guidelines, which you can find at http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35769#3 .

In response, the webspam team has taken manual action to demote www.google.com/chrome for at least 60 days. After that, someone on the Chrome side can submit a reconsideration request documenting their clean-up just like any other company would. During the 60 days, the PageRank of www.google.com/chrome will also be lowered to reflect the fact that we also won’t trust outgoing links from that page.

Now, please vote:

In a WebmasterWorld thread, one user said, "Really they probably had no choice with the FTC on their back."

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld & Google+.

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01/04/2012 02:18 pm

Barry, I would include: (3) Having to wait at least 60 days to request reconsideration.

Dirty seagull

01/04/2012 02:56 pm

of course not, Google can basically do what they want, even if they say we can't


01/04/2012 02:56 pm

Seriously? Is this actually for real? It looks like an early April Fools. Google get caught buying links and then penalise themselves...man I need a holiday.


01/04/2012 02:58 pm

It looks like they are going over the average of what they would do for a normal company.  Besides, lets face it, it seems like it was a fairly honest mistake, and when you get right down to it, Chrome is pretty much the best result someone could get for the keyword [browser].

Andy Drinkwater - iNET SEO

01/04/2012 03:02 pm

It's all press for Google - what a great way to make news about Chrome and get everyone talking about it. It's all over the internet! You want good free press, go and see Google to get it for you!


01/04/2012 03:04 pm

This is the funniest thing I have seen in a while. Looks like some sort of goofy marketing.

Larry Page

01/04/2012 03:46 pm

Ah, Google Chrome. Where would our online life be without it? Having a small business, I have found Google to be a key element in getting my business out to the online community. I have put so much money into advertisements and at the end of the day, my analytics show that Google is still the top referrer to my business. That has said a lot to me and I started to invest a lot of time into SEO. If you do your SEO it right on your website, Google will propel your business to another level. As a small business, my voice is bigger and better because of Google. It takes me from just being a local business to working with clients world wide. Google Chrome helped this small business in Vermont go global. What can Google Chrome do for your future?


01/04/2012 03:48 pm

No, they should now allow buying links again. :-)

Glen Jackman

01/04/2012 04:26 pm

Yes, they have paid the price. Google said they'd hold them self to a higher standard and it seems that they have. Pretty cool to see Google push their own keyword positions down to the fifth page. Quick research shows they now rank 53rd for "web browser" and 48th for "browser."


01/04/2012 05:18 pm

It's all for show... no one searches for "browser" to download chrome.... they should punish "chrome" serps, put up a bunch of shiny things instead of the browser. When you tell a friend to download chrome they search for "chrome" not "browser". This whole thing is a joke, anyone that falls for their tricks should know better. It's Google we're dealing with after all, they looked up what converts the least and sacrificed those keywords. Unless they are absolutely honest and show how much impact this has on their downloads it's all a big steaming pile of bull. They should move all chrome related serps to 3rd page for 60 days, then we'll see something.

Takeshi Young

01/04/2012 07:43 pm

And being guaranteed that their request will be approved.  Normal webmasters don't have that luxury, only uncertainty & frustration.

Matt Cults

01/04/2012 11:05 pm

This is farcical, as shown up by the following statement - "During the 60 days, the PageRank of www.google.com/chrome will also be lowered to reflect the fact that we also won’t trust outgoing links from that page." They "won't trust" outgoing links from their own site?! Give me a break. Google want to bury this, and your poll results suggest their PR might just be working.

Jeff Downer Indianapolis IN

01/05/2012 03:47 am

Google reminds me  of Ohio State or USC penalizing themselves for paying players or recruiting violations before the NCAA comes down on them...except in this case Google is the NCAA....makes your head want to explode doesn't it?  lol


01/05/2012 06:38 am

Yes i agree with you, its a predefined Google policy, Highlight any topic as a news for Google Bombing and get searches and publicity on it.

Daniel Milstein

01/05/2012 11:09 am

This is definitely a good one, Barry. As many of us pointed here, Google probably is doing some practical joke with their marketing stunt. Also, people don't usually search for browsers to download.  But yes, looking at the way Google is going with this, it's somewhat silly. 

Dustin Likens

01/07/2012 03:09 am

Google is the biggest content-scraping thin affiliate in existence. If Google was truly objective, Panda would've demoted every site under the Google domain into oblivion long ago.  But Google made it clear that they are the only site allowed to use other people's content to sell ads long ago. This PR move may give Google some ammo to use against the anti-trust regulators for a short time, but it doesn't change the fact that Google is just as anti-competitive as any oil company or wall st firm.

Chris Astuccio

01/08/2012 11:25 pm

This is the most ridiculous circumstance so called SEO Professionals  have put themselves in. There is a really good reason google had to manually penalize themselves. The reason is there is a definition to a "paid link" and its not something you paid for. The definition is a link that is not surrounded by relevant content. Which is why link farms got hit really hard, they are just random text links on on pages with non relevant content. Everyone needs to stop trying to be the hero. Google only did this to continue the misconception of what is a "paid link". If you have links surrounded by relevant content, leading to more information, you will never be punished.

Chris Astuccio

01/08/2012 11:33 pm

on an even funnier note, now that everyone knows what a "paid link" is, you should also know that there is a penalty assigned for all "paid links" including onpage internal linking. so if you have links pointing from your home page to an internal page without relevant content guess what? your being penalized for each as a  "paid link"

Shakil Thasariya

03/16/2012 01:43 pm

It is too much surprising news. I think If google can penalize their own website then what they can do for other websites?

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