Rules are rules. You make ‘em – don’t break ‘em. For want of not sounding too much like the opening of an eighties beat ‘em up movie allow me to explain…
To keep things fair and square Google made it a rule that we’re not allowed to pay people to link to our own sites in order to boost our page rank. As this would upset how our websites are ranked in the search engine.
Turns out, Google broke this rule themselves! They found that the Google Chrome download page had a paid link. One single little paid link, which was unintentional but enough to cause a harsh chain of events.
Google stated that since this was their own product, they should know better, and punished themselves to a 60-day page rank downgrade.
Here’s what they had to say:
We’ve investigated and are taking manual action to demote www.google.com/chrome and lower the site’s PageRank for a period of at least 60 days.
We strive to enforce Google’s webmaster guidelines consistently in order to provide better search results for users. We believe Google should be held to a higher standard, so we have taken stricter action than we would against a typical site.
Remember, this is not a good thing to happen to your company’s website (if ever your tempted to break the rules!) A lower page rank value reduces your ability to rank well for various search words and terms. So over the past few days this is exactly what’s been happening as a result.
Chrome had been ranked number two when you entered ‘browser’. Now you have to go to the sixth page of results to find it, ranked in position 64 and falling.
So the penalty is working. It’s funny that Google being Google could quite as easily fix Google Chrome permanently as the top result yet they have a good track record when it comes to standards. What they may lose in potentially new Chrome users, they’ll make up in loyalty from their current ones. So it’s back of the hand for Google but… we forgive you!