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Google whips itself over Chrome debacle

Brad Reed | Jan. 5, 2012
Google knows that it's been a very, very bad boy.

Google knows that it's been a very, very bad company.

That's why the company has decided to demote its own browser on its search engine results for at least the next two months. As first reported by Search Engine Land yesterday, searching for "browser" on Google no longer retrieves a link to Google Chrome until position 50, well after the first pages of the search.

Google decided to punish its own browser's search rankings after the company was caught violating its own standards not using the "nofollow" code tag for sponsored links that promote the Chrome browser. The "nofollow" tag is implemented to prevent paid advertisements from counting toward a company's search engine ranking, thus preventing companies with deep pockets from buying their way up the Google rankings chain. Google blamed its advertising agency for the snafu and said that it "never agreed to anything more than online ads."

But today's actions indicate that Google seemingly knows that a simple apology won't cut it. The company said today that it was out to show how serious it was about enforcing its own standards, which is why it decided to lower its own browser's page ranking for "at least 60 days."

"We strive to enforce Google's webmaster guidelines consistently in order to provide better search results for users," the company said in a statement released to Search Engine Land. "While Google did not authorize this campaign, and we can find no remaining violations of our webmaster guidelines, we believe Google should be held to a higher standard, so we have taken stricter action than we would against a typical site."

Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan, however, was still flummoxed that a company with Google's attention to marketing would allow such a campaign to occur under its watch while also wondering whether the company would really learn anything from its mistakes.

"To me, the bigger issue in this has always been the garbage content that was produced by the campaign, 'thin' material that Google has fought to keep out of its own search results," he wrote. "I'm still trying to understand how Google failed to understand that the marketing companies it engaged with would produce this."


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