Google found itself in a weird spot this week, when a particularly obsessed SEO expert uncovered what may be a case of Google violating its own “paid links” policy.
Riding a wave of good news about the popularity of Chrome (now the world’s 2nd most popular browser), Google apparently decided to launch a campaign to promote the browser’s benefits to small business.
We’re not real sure what those are, exactly. And neither was their ad agency, which proceeded to launch a kind of directionless sponsored blog campaign.
Most of these posts contended that Google Chrome was great for small businesses… but gave no information regarding HOW it was good for small businesses. That would qualify these posts as “thin” content or basically junk under Google’s guidelines.
FYI, if you are going to post sponsored content, you must include a “nofollow” in any links that point directly back to the advertiser. Otherwise, Google assumes that you are trying to pay for links in order to trick its search engine into giving you a higher rank.
As SearchEngineLand points out, one of these sponsored bloggers did exactly that, without blocking the link with a nofollow.
As digital marketers, we know it’s super important NOT to run afoul of the Google police. That’s why we decided it was worth chronicling this little case study in detail. It’s a study in how to get on Google’s bad side.
So, does it look like Google was responsible for violating its own policies to you?
BTW, Google is blaming its ad firm Unruly Media for the snafu. And Unruly is blaming the individual blogger. Thus, it appears that Google won’t be penalizing Chrome, or even slapping it on the wrist.
So what’s the takeaway? Three things:
- Those with the Chrome make the rules.
- Confusion and finger-pointing are legitimate excuses IF you’re a Google brand.
- Google is the 800-pound gorilla. You must appease it, despite it’s apparent hypocrisy.