Saturday, February 4, 2012

Google Clouts itself in the Chrome

In the course of rankmaniac 2012, we have all learned how frustrating it is to try to get our content internet famous without violating the anti-spam and fair play guidelines. It seems that even the almighty Google is not above having such problems.

In January, Google paid bloggers to post their latest Chrome video in hopes of further popularizing the browser that was already threatening the kings of the playground, Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.

Unfortunately, one of the bloggers in the promotion linked to the download page without using a nofollow. A nofollow link dampens the effect of search engine spam. In other words, if a link is given a nofollow value, the page at the other side of the link is not promoted by the crawling search engine because of the endorsement of the linking page. Unfortunately, because this wayward blogger did not use use the nofollow attribute, Google Chrome’s pagerank was inflated because of the inward-pointing link.

Thus, paradoxically, Google violated its own guidelines for fair promotion. The idea behind these guidelines is that paid link endorsements should not have a greater ability to inflate PageRank than non-paid link endorsements. After all, the web should be a place where everyone has a chance.

Because the link was part of a sponsorship deal (Remember that the link was on that page only because Google was paying the blogger indirectly through a third party advertising service), this abuse of the system and existing precedents demanded that Google punish itself for the transgression by demoting Chrome’s PageRank from 9 down to 0. As we all know, PageRank is on a scale from 1 to 10. This move is tantamount to taking the senior class valedictorian and forcing him to repeat high school starting from freshman year.

We do have to give Google some props for not making itself an exception to the rule; it must be pretty tempting when you’re both the referee and the author of the law.

But now Chrome has no choice but to slowly regain its PageRank to get back to its former glory. If you Google “browser,” now, Chrome no longer appears on the first page. Firefox lays claim to first result, and Opera is not far behind. The numbers show that Internet Explorer is gaining ground on market share—though demotion of Chrome’s PageRank is most likely not the only factor, it is evident that it is at least a contributing cause. If Google just maybe given the bloggers a few more guidelines, maybe they could have avoided breaking their own rules and prevented this unfortunate situation.


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