Google Says Cheating OK?

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Read between the lines on a recent NY Times article and you’ll see Google admitting that buying paid links, supposedly a violation of its Webmaster Guidelines, is just fine, as long as it doesn’t work out for you.

This NY Times article shows, yet again, major retailers engaging in link spam by buying numerous paid links in order to boost their position for popular internet search terms. In this case, a list of florists attempted to boost their search engine rankings by buying links to Mother’s Day related keywords. When contacted by the newspaper about the paid links that violate Google’s terms the search engine giant blew it off saying that the paid links had no effect.

In other words, Google will not penalize you, nor take any action against you for intentionally violating its Webmaster Guidelines if it thinks that what you tried to do didn’t work.

If you try to rob a bank, but you don’t get into the vault, the police will just let you go. Does that make ANY sense whatsoever?

It’s just another example of how Google’s reliance on counting links can only continue to produce increasingly bad search results as more and more companies and web publishers deliberately game Google’s search results for profit.

Pop-Quiz: What strategy would be more effective at protecting the long-term value of your company’s most prized asset?

  1. Letting people attempt to ruin it without consequence as long as they fail
  2. Quickly and harshly penalizing anyone who even tries to mess with it

Can you imagine what would happen if Google actually penalized 1-800 Flowers or FTD during the week before Mother’s Day for violating the rules against link buying? No legitimate company would ever try it again for fear of triggering a severe penalty that could actually harm its bottom line. Instead of company’s playing innocent and blaming SEO consultants, they would aggressively monitor the tactics being used on their behalf. The battle against paid links would be won in a single move, but alas, Google has decided to use the wet noodle strategy instead.

Google seems to grow more naïve by the day when it comes to its search engine rankings. The recent Panda update deflected the uproar about search quality earlier this year, but the march toward every #1 search result being the webpage with the most paid links or the most spambot created links continues unabated.

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