It seems like Google isn’t satisfied with not just “doing no evil”, but actively continuing to punish those it deems to *be* evil by pounding some blogs to a PageRank of zero. Just this past month, for example, Google went on the rampage against those who were selling links by lowering their PageRank (the BlogHerald included), and it looks like they’re not quite done.
While the scope if this most recent “correction” has still yet to be fully completed, it seems that the target of Google’s ire are those who are doing paid postings from
PayPerPost Izea. Andy Beard, of course is keeping an active track of things, and Ted Murphy, CEO of PayPerPost Izea has gone on record on his own blog, by claiming Google is actually targeting small time bloggers who are using his service to make a humble income. Furthermore, he tries to make the case that larger players are no different, such as TechCrunch, as advertising usually brings a free in-post link at the end of every month.
Now, what’s interesting, of course, is that many bloggers (and blogs) have noticed that after their pagerank drop — indeed, after their pagerank went to zero — their hasn’t been much change, if any, in their traffic levels. In light of this, EatonWeb is recalibrating is algorithm so that it now takes PageRank out of the equation (indeed, it devalues it).
But if there’s been no change in traffic levels, one does wonder what the purpose of this recent action is?
I think that this kind of effort — human or algorithmic (or a combination thereof) — demonstrates that there is something *about* paid links that Google clearly believes are important. That is, I don’t think Google would ever do something unless it made a difference; my assumption is that it wouldn’t do anything that actively penalized anyone without any particular reason why (i.e. spite).
Perhaps its because they’ve shown internally that paid links *do* disrupt the “organic” nature of search results; and that, either now, or in the future (if they’ve done projections), that such a disruption, even if on a small scale, has, or will reach, a level they’ve demonstrated as intolerable.
We already know that since this past June, they’ve actively been on the hunt for paid links. You can see there’s a reporting station in every dashboard of the Google Webmaster web page.
My take on things is that Google wants to make an example out of
PayPerPost Izea. Yes, Google knows that there’s full disclosure. Some blogs reviews even do the no-follow thing. Both are immaterial, however.
What Google wants to do is create the perception that doing paid reviews as a subtext to sell PageRank as a huge violation of its algorithm, as a means to subvert Google — even though most posties, I’m sure, do reviews with the intention of … well, doing a review.
Because by penalizing blogs to a pagerank of *zero* (not just lowering them), that is exactly what the perception of things will be; you can expect that many blogs will flee PayPerPost Izea and their ilk, as Google spreads FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) about how Google perceives paid postings in general.
And from Google’s position, it will be mission accomplished — even though PageRank looks like it has no obvious effects on traffic — as it will cool _everyone’s_ perception of paid links. And furthermore, it will cool a possibly-rising trajectory of how paid postings and paid links are having in the web-o-sphere.