Google punishes itself for lousy Chrome promo

Google has demoted Chrome in its own search results after an effort to have bloggers promote the Google browser backfired.
Written by Elinor Mills, Contributor
When you search for "browser" on Google, you won't see Chrome until position 50.

Google has demoted its Chrome home page in results for a search using the keyword "browser" following an effort to have bloggers promote the Google browser that backfired.

Now, there is no Chrome ad at the top of the results or link to the Chrome page anywhere on the first page of results on Google. It's ranked in position 50, according to Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineLand, which first reported this news.

Google's statement, according to SearchEngineLand, is:

"We've investigated and are taking manual action to demote www.google.com/chrome and lower the site's PageRank for a period of at least 60 days.We strive to enforce Google's webmaster guidelines consistently in order to provide better search results for users.

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."

The demotion is a response to a campaign in which bloggers were found posting low-quality content related to Google Chrome in an effort to promote a Google video about King Arthur Flour. At least one of the posts had a hyperlink to the Chrome download page, which can help a site rise in Google search results through Google's PageRank algorithm. But paying people to include such links violates Google's guidelines.

"So far, only one page in the sponsored post campaign has been spotted with a 'straight' link that passed credit to the Chrome page," Sullivan writes. "It's also unlikely that the campaign overall was designed to build links. But my impression is that Google's deciding to penalize itself anyway with a PR reduction, to be safe."

About Elinor Mills
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service, and the Associated Press.

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