Over the past month or so, Google has changed the way that it figures one of its metrics that shows how individual sites rank on its search engine. This is something that it is certainly in its right to do as a business entity.
I don’t have any problem with Google making money through their site in whatever way they can. They have a great search engine and they’ve proved it time and again because of their position as the most used search engine everywhere (even though yours truly has been using the new yahoo).
However, there are times when every big company stops trying to pioneer and lead and starts getting into a defensive mode– and I think that’s what Google has started to do.
You see, Google makes its money through advertising– mostly through the twin services AdWords and AdSense. AdWords is for advertisers to buy keywords to be shown on the search engine and websites, and AdSense is for publishers (like yours truly) to place ads on ones site based on the content of the site.
If this were the only way to make money on the web, than it would be fine. However, other services have sprung up around Google that pay much better than Google’s offerings, with the downside that they may make that money by trying to influence Google’s index.
So, Google has targeted them and the sites that use them.
One of these advertising concepts is Paid Links. Advertisers have been known to go directly to a site and offer to pay an amount to include a link on their site. They’re hoping to drive more people to their site, but they’re also hoping to get a higher ranking in Google’s index because there are more people linking to them.
Same thing with Pay Per Post. These advertisers want to get more people to come to their site, but they also want a higher index. Is this wrong?
On Google’s side, you could see that paid links and PPP are the equivalent of spam. They’re just trying to artificially inflate a site’s ranking. Google can’t be sure whether the person would have linked to the site without being paid, and therefore if they can tell that they used a service to get paid then Google feels that it is within its right to take appropriate measures.
On PPP’s side, you have to sign up for opportunities that meet a criteria– a grouping. You have to have a disclosure, and you should blend it in with your current content. From their point of view (which I view skeptically) they are showing you products that you may not see elsewhere (somewhat like stumbleupon) and they are letting you get paid for something that you might have blogged about on your own
They encourage you to not just have filler posts, but to make sure your blog would still be something if you took all the sponsored posts out.
So, is Google doing something good in protecting its business and helping to guard the integrity of its index? Or is Google doing something bad by preventing people from making money in a system other than its own? I can really see it either way. How about you?