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.
Too bad google didn’t follow their own advice, as Matt Cutts has just acted swiftly
in a complete Public Relations stunt sorry I meant in a wonderful act of fairness 😀 To issue a manual 60 day penalty against Google chrome for the term ‘browser’ , zeroing its page rank (which interestingly enough is an odd statement to make seeing as Google have repeatedly claimed to not allow Google pages to pass page rank (an investigation for another day)
I should really cite a couple of pages here first Aaron Wall (way to go Aaron) who originally posted about this Google buying paid links story, also to Danny Sullivan who then broke it further on Search Engine land and Matt Cutts (who has only paid for one link in this post so doesn’t get a BOGOF offer this time around) (joke)
Some considerations in the statement made by Matt:-
We double-checked, and the video players weren’t flowing PageRank to Google either.
Indicating that some players CAN and DO pass 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
Crazy that even though they knew the intent, and knew it was an error, a penalty was issued. I am reading this that under normal circumstances of a manual review, a single back-link among so many would not have resulted in such a penalty.
Here is something a little different. On Matts page he states
In response, the webspam team has taken manual action to demote www.google.com/chrome for at least 60 days.
But on the correspondence sent to Danny at Searchengineland he states
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.
the key difference here “and lower the site’s PageRank” which kinda kills the claim of many that PageRank doesn’t matter with regard ranking.
I did some rank checking and currently the google.com/chrome page is ranking 46 in the US and 44 in the UK, but the download page is still ranking #1 in US & UK for the terms ‘Chrome’ & ‘Chrome browser’ which again tells me that it is a manual PHRASE BASED penalty (for the term ‘browser’, as well as a PR zero penalty.
As I posted on Matt’s page.. That’ll teach the Chrome Team to Send Matt Socks for Christmas 😀
Finally, in his correspondence with SEL, Matt stated
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.
(Bolding added by me) which raises the questions who DID authorise it, and more importantly WHO did authorise the work (if not Google) and WHO actually carried out this spamming?
AFTER ALL (taken from the google webmaster tools help)
Can competitors harm ranking?
There’s almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index. If you’re concerned about another site linking to yours, we suggest contacting the webmaster of the site in question. Google aggregates and organizes information published on the web; we don’t control the content of these pages.