• http://smackdown.blogsblogsblogs.com/ mvandemar

    This doesn’t mean that the page will be removed or banned from Google, but it will reduce its ability to rank well for certain terms. It probably will still rank for searches on “Google Chrome.”

    They need to dole out a -50 penalty to themselves to be even close to giving themselves the same treatment they give others. And reject their own reconsideration request at least 3 times. And have Matt Cutts scoff at them, at least once, for trying to sneak one by him. That’ll teach em.

  • Winooski

    “Currently, the page has a PageRank value of 9.”

    Actually, I believe the page is in the PageRank tier of 9; a page’s actual PageRank is a secret value of which the reported “green bar” value is a crude, crude approximator. That being the case, it may be that the page’s PageRank drops…but we never see it using our standard tools. We may just have to take Google’s word on the fact that they’ve reduced the Chrome page’s PageRank.

  • http://www.jaankanellis.com Jaan

    “Manual action”? Hmmmmm thought those don’t exist?

  • http://www.ihsekat.com/ Takeshi

    Now there’s a familiar tactic by Google… give themselves a slap on the wrist for now, then remove the penalty once the bad publicity has blown over.

    If a temporary PageRank reduction was all webmasters had to fear for buying links, they would be doing it a lot more often.

  • http://www.ryanmjones.com Ryan Jones

    Those of you calling for a ranking penalty, stop and think for a minute.

    Would it really make sense for a chrome page to NOT rank for “google chrome”

    That would do nothing but confuse and irritate searchers who are actually looking for the product by name. Remember searchers? Their interests always come first – regardless of anything else.

    “Google Chrome” isn’t an ambiguous term. like “Dresses” of JC Penney fame. Banning it all together would create a negative search experience for the people who are actually looking for the browser.

    Lowering the pagerank will probably prevent it from ranking for terms like “browser” – and that’s an adequate penalty.

  • http://www.gannettlocal.com G.S.

    Ridiculous. The very fact that they Google can do WHATEVER they want to do (i.e. manually de-rank sites, boost sites, etc), AUTOMATICALLY nullifies their constant mantra about being “fair” and “algorithm-based” nonsense. I can’t believe people still believe Matt and his crap.

  • http://www.fangdigital.com Jeff Ferguson

    Wow, it appears that Google actually, gulp, goofed up… or at least somebody working for Google did… which happens. I know it’s fun to think that Google is run by robots or a tribe of perfect people, but it isn’t…

    They are just regular old humans who goof up… let’s not get too nuts about this…

  • http://TheAutocrat T.A.

    It’s not good enough.

    I’m with @mvandemar on this.
    a PR penalty is insufficient.

    Sorry @Ryan Jones – but those points don’t stand.
    I could have a site for a specialised, unique product.
    If I spammed liek that, and G caught me – I’d suffer for it.
    Regardless of the quality of the remaining results, with no consideration to the searchers looking for my unique product that can only be found on my site.
    So why should G get different treatment?

    They have abused their position of authority, and betrayed the trust we place in them.

    This is along the lines of a judge commiting a crime, and being permitted to pass judgement on themselves .. and opting for ap unishment that doesn’t really affect them all that much.

    It’s disgusting and inexcusable.
    Remove the page from the SERPs for a specific amount of time.

  • http://www.frugalfrontporch.com/ Jenn Clark

    I’m curious if anyone knows if any action was taken against the site that published the sponsored posts. My understanding is those sites are suppose to be penalized as well to discourage the behavior with publishers. I know other bloggers who were penalized for what seemed like an eternity for publishing sponsored posts and paid links on their site without the “nofollow” attribute. Doesn’t seem fair the sites that participated in Google’s sponsored post campaign should go unpunished.

  • http://searchengineland.com Aaron Wall

    ‘Overall, only one page in the sponsored post campaign was ever spotted with a “straight” link that passed credit to the Chrome page.’

    Some other pages were spotted which linked to the flour site & some pages were spotted that had numerous deep links to numerous Google products. Look at how this page had 4 of them

  • diyaniliev

    Although it is difficult to know what was the actual PR decrease what this story tells us is that PR is still an important ranking factor.

  • http://buzzintechnology.com B.I.

    When searched with “browser” as query, Google chrome still lurks at the bottom of the first page as top references. Is that okay?

  • http://www.durhamwebdesigner.com Larry James

    Google Chrome did not show up in the first 20 results when I searched for “browser” on google.ca, but this post showed up in spot 15 on the second page ;p

  • http://www.alliance-link.com Debra Mastaler

    Who searches on the term “browser” if they’re looking to download Chrome? They just plug in Chrome and go for it. Looking at the ads, the mom blogger post, and the video/post on Danny’s other post, I don’t even see the word browser … so what’s the big deal if they don’t pop for the term? Remove the results for the term ‘Chrome’ and then you’ll have a slap. But for ‘browser’? Just silly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/manish1485 Manish Chauhan

    I am not sure if this is the case everywhere, but In India when I searched Google Chrome in Google, I was surprised to see that home page of chrome is not ranked on top 100 search results, instead of that page, support page in ranked on #1. Seems penalty is not limited to page rank only, it affects the rankings as well on branded keywords.

    However, I am still wondering if a domain is penalized, it should be penalized completely rather than specific page.

  • http://nithin.net Nithin

    Ha! No matter how much they downplay the importance of PageRank, it still does matter. This proves it.

  • S.V.

    Good PR exercise google.

  • http://smackdown.blogsblogsblogs.com/ mvandemar

    Damn, I really did call that one, didn’t I?

    Those of you calling for a ranking penalty, stop and think for a minute.

    Would it really make sense for a chrome page to NOT rank for “google chrome”

    Ryan, no, it would not… yet Google penalizes sites all the time so that they no longer rank for their own name. They are more concerned about showing who’s boss than they are relevancy. They don’t even care about quality when it comes to the paid link penalties. Bottom line is, paid links give the impression that rankings can be bought (even if the links don’t actually affect rankings), which makes Google look bad, which they simply will not tolerate.

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/108803085270706476599/about T.A.

    I cannot believe that there are people favouring Google in this.
    Did you favour Penny?
    Or BMW?
    Or any of the hundreds/thousands of shoddy little spam blogs, bland/thin affiliate sites etc.?


    So why defend this course of crappy advertising and link abuse?
    Because its Google?

    That means the punishment should be more, not less!
    They have seriously abused their knowledge, setup and system.
    They have taken advantage of our trust and belief in their company.

    There is no excusing it.
    There should be no defending it.

    All the referring sites involved (those that appear to have “sold” either links or posts etc.), should be penalised.
    The benefiting sites should be removed/massively reduced in ranking for all related terms across the board.

    This should remain in effect for at least 1 Month/30+ days.

  • http://www.timbarlow.net Tim Barlow

    Is it usual to only penalise the folder rather than the whole domain?

  • http://www.guyweston.co.uk guy weston

    Regardless of how ‘fair’ or otherwise this is, it does point up a massive flaw in Google’s approach, i.e. one of the most relevant pages for the search term ‘browser’ is the Chrome homepage.
    Now users have to go deep into the results to find what they’re looking for. How does that provide the most relevant results to end users?

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/108803085270706476599/about T.A.

    @guy weston
    Same response/expanation as for @Ryan Jones;
    but those points don’t stand.
    I could have a site for a specialised, unique product.
    If I spammed like that, and G caught me – I’d suffer for it.
    Regardless of the quality of the remaining results, with no consideration to the searchers looking for my unique product that can only be found on my site.
    So why should G get different treatment?

    Googles punishment has nothing to do with the Searchers.
    Having a good site, or a unique term, or being the one site that people really should be seeing – has nothing to do with being punished for breaking the rules/guidelines.

    Unless you are suggesting that established brands, unique products/services and specific entities are exempt from punishment because their removal/lowering of ranking would reduce teh quality of the SERPs?

  • http://www.jackcola.org Jack Cola

    I wonder if this is sort of a marketing campaign for chrome, or some sort of test to see how much search queries increase because of the story, and to see if it has any real affect by a large site being taken off Google.

    Plus, even though Google Chrome has been penalised, it still doesn’t matter because they’ve got a search ad anyway which is the top result – so it could just be a big publicity stunt.

    I would have thought there would be some rule with Adwords – if you’re penalised in Google Search, you can’t advertise and get top position on Adword ads.

    The second thing, how come on the Google Chrome site is being banned? Why not anything else on the Google Domain? I’m not sure about the ins and outs of the algorithm, but I would have thought if you got penalised on one folder directory, you would be penalised on the entire domain.

    In this situation, google.com/chrome is penalised only. So therefore, if I do the same thing, and buy paid links and put it on mysite.com/blog, mysite.com will technically still appear unaffected – or even mysite.com/reviews will be unaffected.

    To me, Google has a particular motive behind this.

  • http://www.1up-seo.com Georg

    Looking at the HUUUGE sponsored Ad…i can hardly talk about a “penalty” here. Actually, i would like that Google “penalizes” all my sites with a HUGE sponsored ad on top of the SERPs….

  • http://www.webtrapic.com/ bkcox

    What’s all that about Pagerank Google?

    Keep spinning those wheels and going in circles Google.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/coryhowell Cory Howell

    This penalty smells in my opinion… I don’t see how dropping this page affects Chrome installs/usage one bit. They don’t need to rank for anything – they are already acquiring enough market share thru word of mouth, etc. and this little “stunt” will most certainly help push even further.

    Latest Market Share Stats from Net Applications

  • http://www.edeninteractive.com S.E.M.

    I think most of us are missing the point,
    they actually applied the penalty publicly to the offending pages. If it’s a Google PR stunt then its brilliant. Its the right thing to do.

    I Don’t think someone internally at Google is going to get whacked in the head for the screwup– Google is not the MOB. — (Say I don’t hear much about that mouthy engineer in the news lately! :-) — ULP! check the desert! )

    http://searchengineland.com/the-google-doesnt-get-platforms-family-intervention-memo-96619 )

    Google didn’t have to do anything..but they did. It impressed me. Not an empty apology, but measurable actions. Not in a 1000 years would another company, put itself in the penalty box, yes it’s not forever. At least it’s a far cry from “No Comment” – “We neither confirm nor deny” blah blah blah.

    Pleasantly surprised by outcome

  • Slice

    This is a shame for Google, but the main thing here for me is relevancy.

    I use Google Chrome, I use it every day, it’s light and fast, runs brilliantly on my Netbook and my PC. I’m not a Google-hugger, I think Google+ is boring, and I think them ranking things like TripAdvisors fake reviews (which you can buy on freelancing sites) is disgusting, but I believe Google Chrome to be tremendous, and simply the best browser out there at the moment.

    Relevancy… Google Chrome is an amazing browser, in my opinion they are making their own search results WORSE by not ranking it for the term ‘Browser’.

    Here you go Danny, how about a sponsored post on a PR 6 blog, featuring DoFollow links to eHarmony, TripAdvisor and BioWare:


  • Jeff_Gorss

    @Cory Howell, i think you are correct, they are way ahead in the browser wars and in my opinion also it some kind of marketing gimmick, where a normal user would think, ‘what a move google, they took action against their own browser’.. i smell something fishy!

  • Pat

    “It also raises the serious question that if Google can’t keep track of its own rules, what hope is there that third parties are supposed to figure it all out?”

    Humble pie, I hope it inspires an awakening regarding post-violation interaction. The stance G takes with us all (sans lawyers or press coverage), of providing little or no real or useful information about the particulars of a violation (I’m referring to PPC guidelines, but am sure it applies elsewhere), needs to change. Try as hard as we can, sometimes, a screw up happens. Applying a penalty to themselves does not erase my point – they can communicate internally, and I’m sure they did. Strand yourself on an island G, blindfolded, ears muffed, hands tied, CEO calling, stop the money flowing into your coffers, and start dialing the phone, posting to forums, and filling out forms for naught requesting re-evaluation… then I’ll cough up a Bravo Zulu for your “we feel your pain just like you do” dealio. I love you, but your listening skills, when it matters most, need attention.

  • http://www.ihsekat.com/ Takeshi

    Great viral marketing campaign by the Google Chrome team.

    I’ve seen coverage about this on every major tech news site, many of which link directly to the Chrome website. Once the PageRank penalty is lifted (after the charade of a reconsideration request) they will be ranking higher than ever.

  • Maynard Handley

    “It also raises the serious question that if Google can’t keep track of its own rules, what hope is there that third parties are supposed to figure it all out?”

    I think your mistake is in imagining that there is a SINGLE entity called Google that operates with one mind. Let’s get real here. What actually happened was presumably something like
    – Chrome hires some marketing person
    – marketing person thinks (as marketing people do) about only one thing — “how can I sell my product”, oblivious to issues of ethics or pollution or general pissing in the well and making the world a better place
    – marketing person hires shady 3rd party companies to promote Chrome
    – Google top level management goes ballistic as soon as this goes public because THEY (unlike marketing person) see the big picture — that a Google that is not trusted is WORTHLESS, regardless of how popular Chrome might be.

    I suspect this will be followed up with some harsh words in the executive suite, an individual or two “resigning to pursue opportunities elsewhere, and a new, front page addition to the Google new employees handbook pointing out “don’t be a moron — and by the way, this is an example of moronic behavior”.

  • http://dneprolab.com/ Alexey Andrusenko

    In russian translation of word “browser” Google Chrome is still on 2nd position.

  • SteveL

    All of us in the SEO community are focusing on PR, but I think Danny hit the nail on the head. It’s not about PR or link juice at all. It’s about thin content.

    The bottom line is, Google is no longer the cuddly pooh bear that it was in 1998. Back then, all Google had to do was have its handful of really smart people build “insanely great” things (so to speak) and get 99% market share from word of mouth alone.

    Now, they have hundreds of marketers, hundreds of lawyer, hundreds of PR people. We like to think that all 26,000 employees of Google are all as bright as Matt Cutts or Vanessa Fox, but bottom line is it’s not the same old Google. Somebody somewhere in the company was tasked to “increase Chrome market share” and given a budget to do that. Since the cheapest and quickest way to “get the word out” is to pay mommy bloggers to write rave reviews, they went with that approach. Funny how we chuckle at those ladies wailing over Kim Jong Il’s death when this is not too far from the same thing. And they’re just as believable.

    The “penalty” that Google Chrome page is toothless. The genie is already out of the bottle. Even if the “thin content” posts don’t pass PR, they themselves are still going to rank in Google. Search for the title tag text of any of the sponsored posts showing up in Danny’s original screenshot (“take your small business to the next level”, “use the web to save cash”) and you’ll find the Google Chrome posts all ranking for their respective phrases. Are these *truly* the “most authoritative, most important” pages on the Internet for those phrases? Of course not, but Google loves mommy blogs, and mommy blogs love making money. Such is life in the Internet cesspool. I feel for an organization like Mozilla who just doesn’t have the pool of cash lying around to join in on the fun.

    I think the biggest crime in this case is that it would have been REALLY easy to find people with much more “authority” than mommies making $3 a post who would happily have written something nice about Google Chrome, simply because they love it. Heck, they have 7.6 million fans on Facebook to reach out to. But marketers these days would rather get 500 artificial reviews than 5 real ones because let’s face it, Google and Microsoft still can’t tell the difference.

    Ironically, the one thing that troubled me most about this story was the swiftness, severity, and unequivocalness of the “penalty” given to the Google Chrome. Ironically, this all but destroys the mythology that’s been fed to us (and the Feds) that The Google’s Algorithm works without manual intervention. Granted, this was a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation for Google, but I have an uncomfortable feeling that some Google executive may have cut off his nose to spite his face here.

  • Majon

    Aha! Manual Action Big G! there doesn’t any matter for Google, by the way still what’s the importance of Page Rank?

  • http://www.gr8rateinsurance.com G.I.

    I agree with the statement that this is a mere publicity to push the product further.

  • http://level343.com/article_archive/ Gabriella Sannino 

    I have to agree with Debra on this one. Silly indeed.

  • http://www.seologic.com/ S.L.

    Re. “After that, someone on the Chrome side can submit a reconsideration request documenting their clean-up just like any other company would. During the 60 days, the PageRank of http://www.google.com/chrome will also be lowered to reflect the fact that we also won’t trust outgoing links from that page.”

    We’ll all be watching to see how long Google takes to remove the penalty after the reconsideration request…

  • Michael David

    But now Google is prepared for it and to take its own steps. Google promised that Chrome Home page will now be down-rated in the rankings for at least six months.

  • joex2

    Now that has become the second Internet search engine? now that made ​​a lot of self promotion? Pathetic.

  • http://searchenginereports.net Garry Egan

    UPDATE 1/16/2012

    Chrome got TSAR-VACUUM-BOMB NUKED! All your keywords listed above. Gone. Every one of them.

  • http://www.toltech.co.uk T.I.

    It might not appear in the SERPs, but after searching “browser” there is a sponsored ad for Chrome on EVERY page.

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