Google is apparently not happy that many websites in the United Kingdom have recently been selling links and they have decided to crack down on the problem.
Google frowns upon both the buying and selling of links and will punish any website caught engaging in either activity. Interflora, an online flower seller originating in the United Kingdom was recently penalized for their use of advertorials to boost their site’s ranking just in time for Valentine’s Day. News websites that placed advertorials on their sites on Interflora’s behalf are also being punished by Google. These sites have seen their Google PageRank drop down to zero as a result of helping Interflora.
As most people know, Google is the world’s biggest and most popular search engine. Their ranking of web pages has become one of the main concerns for web masters. Since 2007, Google has been emphasizing the message that selling links will negatively effective a website’s page ranking. Not too long after making this announcement they started imposing penalties on several U.S. news sites such as Forbes and the Washington Post. Google is well known for punishing websites caught selling links. Webmasters have learned that getting Google off their backs is as simple as removing paid links from their website.
In the wake of this scandal, Google’s SEO king, Matt Cutts, released the following statement:
Please be wary if someone approaches you and wants to pay you for links or “advertorial” pages on your site that pass PageRank. Selling links (or entire advertorial pages with embedded links) that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines, and Google does take action on such violations. The consequences for a linkselling site start with losing trust in Google’s search results, as well as reduction of the site’s visible PageRank in the Google Toolbar. The consequences can also include lower rankings for that site in Google’s search results.
If there is one thing to be said about Google it is that they are persistent when it comes to enforcing their rules.