As has been mentioned, Google recently beat down millions of sites because they sold advertising …er… I mean links. Whatever you want to call it, Google doesn’t like it. They only want advertisers to buy links from them (through Adwords) and not spend any advertising dollars with anyone else. So, under the guise of “preserving the unadulterated purity of their search index” they penalized us, along with millions of others site owners, by removing our blog’s PR thereby making us less inviting to potential advertisers.
“I’d like to see them back off the paid links war and instead work out other ways to determine if a link deserves credit, paid or not.”
Search Engine Land
Our Tech Blog was a 5 on its way to a 6 – m’eh, good for us. Personally, I could care less about Google’s PR. So, when our PR was stripped, I barely raised an eyebrow. We made some money from selling advertising on our blog and that was more important to me than PR. And besides, before we placed a link to an advertiser, we personally examined their site to make sure it was related to the theme and content of our site. In fact, we turned down several spammy sites that were obviously just trying to buy a good link from us and we even removed one advertiser who, after we initially approved his ad, changed his link text to say “Check out my PR5 web site” – those wacky spammers. So, yay for us. We were doing our part to fight the spammers! Rest easy, Google. The Index has been defended and remains as pure as freshly fallen snow. Surely Google could see that, right?
But then I started seeing comments about Google de-indexing sites that continued to sell advertising (crap, there I go again… I meant to say “links” instead of advertising, sorry). Posts like that really caught my attention.
In addition, Google said that some sites that are selling links may indeed end up being dropped from its search engine or have penalties attached to prevent them from ranking well.
Are you kidding me? In my opinion, I think that is taking it too far – the “de-indexing” thing (more on why I think that in future posts). Google has argued that selling links (yay, I got it right that time) pollutes its index and that is why the practice is being penalized. But, we didn’t sell links; we sold ads and the ads we sold were only for other web sites directly related to the theme of our blog. These advertisers were interested in putting their ad in front of the eyes of people looking for technology related information.
So why would you penalize us for that? Surely you checked all that and did not just paint everyone with the same brush, right?
Evidently not because I still see lots of sites that display text ads from link brokers that are unrelated to the actual site at all and those sites still have PR. Translation: Google’s system for detecting sites spamming the index is not working. Get a policy in place that actually works before implementing it. And never, ever rely on other webmasters to report to you when they find evidence of a paid link because they could have ulterior motives and might just be trying to cause problems for a competitor.
To sum up, Michael Gray said it best – Hey Google, stop crying about paid links. Their current practice of penalizing and possibly de-indexing sites is worth about as much as a submarine with a screen door.