There’s no shortage of chatter when it comes to Google and their stance on “paid links”. They have made it clear that pages that contain “paid links”, which they’ve chosen not to define, must be identified for a machine, spider, and/or algorithm, or they will suffer if they do not tag those links with machine readable code. Specifically, rel=”nofollow”.

Failure to comply with their “request” may result in the “offender” having their toolbar PR reduced and Google has indeed threatened to “penalize” sites that don’t comply, by harming their rankings. The biggest problem I see with this is that it’s destined to fail.

It doesn’t matter why they’re trying to do this. Doesn’t matter what their true motives are. Doesn’t even matter if their right or not. What matters is how they are doing this and is why their stance destines them to failure.

Googles “job”, the very business model on which they are based, the business model upon which they derive all of their income boils down to something quite simple…

1. Gather data…
2. Interpret that data…
3. Produce “results” based upon that interpretation.

Not that difficult a concept.

I’m certainly not trying to slight Google or what they do but those 3 things are, very basically, what makes them what they are. Their ability to… gather, interpret, and produce, to the satisfaction of their users.

This is what their latest “revelation”, their latest addition to to their webmaster guidelines states…

Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results.

Not all paid links violate our guidelines. Buying and selling links is a normal part of the economy of the web when done for advertising purposes, and not for manipulation of search results. Links purchased for advertising should be designated as such. This can be done in several ways, such as:

Adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute to the tag
Redirecting the links to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file

Sorry Google, but this latest “edict” is destined to fail.

You’ve decided not to change the way you interpret the data you gather, and the results you deliver by that interpretation, but to try and forcibly change the data you gather to meet your means of interpretation.

How is you forcing the manipulation of data to meet your desired interpretation a good thing?

One additional thought. Doesn’t Yahoo and MSN support “nofollow”? If so, isn’t Google forcing people to prevent both Yahoo and MSN from following links to be compliant with Googles new guidelines?


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