Google, google pagerank, paid links, tech blog

More Thoughts on Google Penalties

January 5, 2008

Like many other blog owners, we offer space to advertisers. If our blog theme is related to the particular product they offer, they may want to be listed on our site. That is taking advantage of the power of the Internet.

Google, however, is concerned that web site owners will simply sell space (and a link to their web site) to anyone and everyone and I can totally understand their concern. There are countless examples of people simply wanting to “buy” a link on a popular site in hopes of getting a boost in PR. It is lame, spammy technique and has been abused for years. Google does not want a site to benefit by using techniques like this and I completely agree (although if you Google “buy links” you will see that the sites listed as sellers of links still have PR. Hmm, must be a mistake.).

Anyway, what I don’t agree with is Google’s practice of lumping together ALL sites that sell advertising space because they can’t figure out which ones are spammy and which ones are just trying to advertise related products or services legitimately. In its current form, Google is penalizing us along with blatant spammers.

The fact that we have some advertising showing on our tech blog does not change the quality of our site’s content. For example, here are a few of our more popular posts:

Those are posts that get hundreds and hundreds of views each month. We wrote them to be of service to our readers. If we make some money because of them, great. But we wrote them because we thought they contained important, quality information. So, just because we sell some advertising, all of a sudden the content on our site is polluting Google’s index and we get our PR stripped? Are you kidding me? That does not add up to me, but, whatever. It is your Search Engine. Do what you want.

If the only penalty for selling advertising was a reduction (or complete removal) of Pagerank, fine with me. I could really care less about Google pagerank in its current format. Although a reduction in PR certainly can hurt the perceived value of advertising on a particular site, that is about all it does right now. Pagerank fails as an effective tool for determining the value of a given web site. It is broken and only seems to really matter to newbies that don’t know any better. Don’t get me wrong – Pagerank is worth something because Google says that it is and they control an almost 60% market share of Internet searches. But it certainly is not the powerful tool that it could be or maybe even used to be.

In the end, while I did not really care that our PR was stripped, selling a few ads each month is not worth the risk of having our web site removed from Google’s Index and that is exactly how Google wants us to react. Since our tech blog was manually reviewed by Google and found to be selling advertising, we had to make adjustments to avoid the risk of de-indexing; we could not just sit back and hope that Googlebot didn’t notice.

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