Selling Links? Google is Gonna Spank You!

There’s a bit of a dust up going around the techie-seo-search blogs that started sometime Saturday.  It’s been building for a little while now, but is finally getting some talk.  It seems that Danny Sullivan got into contact with someone at Google and confirmed that the recent PageRank drop that many sites have seen is actually a bit of a spanking for selling links and paid reviews.

There are many people talking about it, but I think the person I most agree with is Andy Beard.  In his post entitled “Dancing with the Gevil – Defamed by Google?” (great post title btw) he makes it very clear that he thinks what Google is doing weakens the use of PR and makes a mockery of it’s purpose.

The general public look on the little green bar on the Google Toolbar as a signal of quality, that is what Google tell them.

Here it is in Google’s own words

Wondering whether a new website is worth your time? Use the Toolbar’s PageRankâ„¢ display to tell you how Google assesses the importance of the page you’re viewing.

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.

I have to admit that he makes a very good point.  Why is a indicator metric like PageRank that is supposed to be all about the authority or trustiness of a site doing using factors that have nothing to do with that into factor? I’m sure that they will say that selling links is a sign of being untrustworthy, but if that is so, then what about sites like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and even Google’s own search results?  Selling ads is the exact same thing.

Sam at ReveNews seems to think that what they’ve done is A-OK.

When you play the Google game, you have to play by their rules, arbitrary or not… fair or not. You’re in their sandbox after all.

Jim Kukral seems to think along the same lines, saying that

You know what I think? I think that Google is gonna get what they want, regardless of what some bloggers or seo’rs say or do or think.

And yet, I still can’t help but feel like the little kid on the playground with blood dripping from my nose because the big bad bully of the school just shoved me into the monkey bars.  I have clearly stated each month for the last three months, what my monthly income is.  Compared to what Google makes from their paid links, it’s minuscule.  And yet,  they feel that I need to be penalized because I’m trying to pay my hosting bill with advertisements?

There’s a word for that.  And whether you like it or not, it’s called dictatorship.  The Golden Rule so to speak.  Google has the market share, so most of us cannot afford to ignore them when they penalize us.  If we want to avoid having our sites show up lower in the SERPs or worse, getting deindexed, we have to follow their rules.

I think it’s time we quit that.  So, for all of you that are willing, we need to brainstorm and find a way to overthrow the dictatorship that is our search world and start fresh with a republic of search.  With real authority passed to sites that deserve it.  And real trustiness conveyed to those that can be trusted.

How?  I’m not entirely sure.  It starts by trying to balance the ship a little and getting engines like and Live a little more market share.  I’m going to try and make an effort to use alternative search engines for a while.  It’s not going to change the world, but maybe if we all do it, we can make a bit of a dent in their revenue.

This post was sponsored by: Viagra, Mesothelioma,  Girl taking it Hard, free prescriptions, and Business men needing help to transfer African Millions.

Ok.  I had to do it.  Please take the time before you comment on the sponsored bit to actually hover over the links and see where they really point to.  I’m making a point.  Just because I say that they are sponsors, doesn’t mean that they are.  And yes, I realize that I can be penalized for having those words linked on my site.

About Shane Ede

Shane Ede is an IT guy by day and a Entrepreneurial Blogger by night. You can follow him here on Thatedeguy or over on Twitter and Google+.


  1. This stance by Google is ridiculous. How can they determine what is a paid link and what isn’t? Okay, take TLA for example, their code is full of inline styles, so that would make you stand out. Dump that (it’s not hard), now how can they tell? They can’t, it’s as simple as that.

    Just because you have an unrelevant link on your site doesn’t mean it’s been paid for. Plenty of bloggers link to their own sites, especially if the blog has a better traffic or PR. So suddenly you’re not allowed to link to your own or a friend’s site because it’s not relevant to your blog subject?!

    Google are going to start to annoy a heck of a lot of people over this. I only go to Google for the feedreader now and I’m quite tempted to move over to Yahoo reader or Bloglines. I already use Yahoo for search anyhow, Google search is rubbish.

  2. Thatedeguy says

    They really can’t determine what links are paid and which aren’t. I have, and do link to a few of my other sites that are completely non-relevant. I guess I get paid for that if you consider the extra bit of traffic that means.
    I actually started using live search today and it really is pretty good. I’ve noticed a bit more traffic coming from them recently so maybe they are improving.
    I already use Bloglines, but haven’t even tried google reader. Never used the Yahoo reader either, but have tried out a few others like feedshow that are decent.

  3. Sure if you play the Google game you have to play by their rules. But then again I expect a company like Google to take the suggestions of it’s users and customers into account.

    It really is just a measure of quality in the eyes of people who don’t know and a flawed measure in the eyes of people who do. It’s true that they might not have a clear distinction between paid and non-paid. Yet why penalize based on a concept that they themselves employ?

  4. I quite appreciate the view that one feels like having been whipped by a big bully. I too feel that the community has to come up with some strategy to persuade these guys to stop bullying. You can not change the goal posts after having been playing the game for eons!

  5. Counting links to determine page quality doesn’t work. It’s time for Google to take it out of the algo, that will end the problem. It’s time for bloggers to start talking bout other engines, can we have a month of silence on Google and promote another engine?

  6. I wouldn`t worry about it. You should try TLA. I`m giving away free TLA for the month, 4 of the 8 have been taken. Visit the TLA post for more info.