Oct 08 2007
There is a bit of controversy in the blogosphere about Google penalising blogs which provide paid reviews, text links ads and other such link selling.
While there hasn’t been a widespread PageRank update, many blogs have undergone a manual adjustment and witnessed their PageRank drop by one or two points (out of ten). How widespread this is, is hard to tell. Perhaps blog owners are just holding their breath hoping that their PageRank will return to normal. It has to be a big slap in the face for many of these “authoritative” (and I put that in quotes because this is what Google labeled them as, by giving them high PageRank) sites to be stung in such a manner.
Andy Beard is naturally not happy. Apart from being one of my favourite bloggers, in my opinion (be it a paid review or commentary), he always writes with the utmost integrity. He comments:
But a penalty on my visible Toolbar PageRank isn’t what Google are telling their users. Google users think my content is of less value, and has less authority. They don’t understand that Google also apply modifiers to the green bar which may be for reasons other than quality.
It is also a lie to potential advertisers - I don’t sell links, but I do sell my authority, and my hopefully increasing PageRank was a positive signal of quality relative to my increasing status within Internet marketing and Search Engine Marketing.
Google are attacking my personal brand, my business, and my integrity.
Andy has rightfully taken this personally. Why? Because he sold a few hours of his expert opinion, time, care and consideration for a few measly bucks (far less than he would earn per hour on the open market).
But Search Engine Land have it on authority that paid links can hurt your PageRank. Danny Sullivan also points to a sponsored Google ad that was displayed on his site advertising:
See the “Get A PR6 .Edu backlink!” ad? Expect those firing back at Google over the selling links issue to poke at the hypocrisy here.
Perhaps this is merely a prelude to a massive readjustment in the ranking of blogs which will come in the (near?) future.
This site used to be “unranked” (I’ve only been on this domain since May). It’s now displaying a PageRank of “0″. I don’t know if I’ve been manually ranked. I would prefer to be “unranked” than show a PR of “0″. With 22,500+ backlinks (albeit inflated) showing in my WebMaster tools, that’s a little insulting.
Google - if you are listening, I have NEVER had paid advertising on this site, apart from a few weeks of AdSense. I have NEVER sold a paid review. I have NEVER sold a paid link. I link out a lot. There’s a ton of links from this site. But I have NEVER made a cent from selling these links.
Just in case you were wondering….
* title is adapted from a 1983 Australian Movie title “Careful he might hear you”