The story has been all over the web for the past week. Google Chrome ran a sponsored Pay Per Post (PPP) campaign, paying bloggers to market their browser for business. Such campaigns don’t violate Google SEO Policies if backlinks included were all “nofollow” i.e. crawler would ignore – hence wont pass any PageRank juice for the linked destination. Thereafter, it was found that one of these sponsored posts was actually providing a “dofollow” backlink to Google Chrome, which is a clear violation of Google’s own SEO policies, that even SEO-Newbies would avoid.
As a result of that violation, Google did the normal routine and penalized the destination, Google Chrome, for 60 days during which it sinks in Google Results Pages for all optimized keywords, PageRank is reduced, and penalized webmaster is allowed to submit a reconsideration after clearing the violation, to appeal and clarify the glitch while proving clearance for Google. After all, the penalization took place, chrome PageRank is now reduced to zero, it doesn’t rank on many keywords including “chrome” and “browser” and even Matt Cutts, Head of WebSpam Team at Google, said: “PageRank of Google Chrome will be lowered to reflect the fact that we also won’t trust outgoing links from that page.” Which is a Google Page; Google won’t trust a their own Google page?!
Well, the news is shocking: Google Penalizes Google, intended as: Google is transparent enough to punish its own self if one day one of their own teams missed any policy, just like what they did when they penalized Google Japan. I believe Google is the greatest company in the world and it might be that transparent but was this the case real and needed to prove it? Or was it a marketing stunt? I’ll go with a Brilliant Marketing Stunt.
Google had the world talking about them, their fair play, their transparency, their SEO policies and most importantly their browser Google Chrome, for couple of weeks so far while they are just showing off, for the cost of penalizing Chrome of SERPs for less than 60 days, which already grew 84% during 2011, getting close to overcome firefox soon and maybe Internet Explorer during 2012.
Was this PR stunt worth it? I believe it might be, yet it might also show that Google is still craving to be the God of the whole web after failing social networks, despite the fact that their userbase is exceeding facebook and twitter, they had tried different strategies; adding that arrow on Google home page to direct the world’s attention to one destination: GooglePlus, and the latest news about the First Marriage Proposal Over a Network Game, on Google plus as well, with fishy first names only and virtual ring that the groom asked the developers to develop for him only to send, and the wife replied yes immediately!
It’s out of question that Google is already the God of data management, indexing, search, web trends, advertising networks and video social networks but not yet as a social network, on the other hand their browser has almost done it too, where we have to see if their penalization stunt will pay off in 2012 ;)