Google penalises the Chrome team for buying links

Google Logo 2012

Ironic isn’t it? A company that preaches the purchasing of paid links is forbidden only gets caught doing it itself! Yes, the utterly embarrassing and humiliating hypocrisy of Google was on full show two days ago, when Aaron Wall’s blog post gave evidence of a paid link campaign – setup by the big G itself. What could Google and the web spam team do in response? There was nothing much more they could do really…


Matt Cutts spoke on his Google+ account of the action Google had taken against itself (also, excuse the cringe-worthy comments from some SEOs to Mr Cutts). A minimum of a 60 day penalty, drop in PageRank and ultimately a drop in rankings has been enforced:

Chart showing Google's drop in rankings for browser keyword terms

The chart above shows the position of the Google Chrome (www.google.com/chrome) landing page in Google UK (the web) for three search terms a) Internet Browser b) Web Browser and c) Google Chrome. Google.com has maintained a top ranking position for “Google Chrome”, however the support subdomain (support.google.com) now occupies top spot, ahead of the main landing page – as highlighted in the screenshot below:

Table highlight drop in position for the main Google Chrome landing page

We will of course be monitoring the ‘recovery’ of the page/subfolder, which I presume will be around 60 days – no more – and create a new blog highlighting the recovery of the page/subfolder. In the aftermath of the JC Penny fiasco (which I’m sure will have a few directors sniggering) it is humiliating for Google to be caught purchasing links, despite Mr Cutts appearing to try and play down the offense.

Buying links can get you in trouble, however, if Aaron Wall hadn’t released his blog when he did – how much longer would the ‘offense’ gone on for? Likewise with JC Penny and the NY Times – would Google’s algorithm, sophisticated as it is, been able to detect these paid for links? It seems to me that 2012 could be the year that paid for links are targeted (in 2011 it was content farms) without the over reliance on manual intervention. We will have to wait and see.