Whitey - 9:47 pm on Feb 26, 2013 (gmt 0)
Please be wary if someone approaches you and wants to pay you for links or "advertorial" pages on your site that pass PageRank. Selling links (or entire advertorial pages with embedded links) that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines, and Google does take action on such violations. The consequences for a linkselling site start with losing trust in Google's search results, as well as reduction of the site's visible PageRank in the Google Toolbar. The consequences can also include lower rankings for that site in Google's search results. .........
..... We do take this issue very seriously, so we recommend you avoid selling (and buying) links that pass PageRank in order to prevent loss of trust, lower PageRank in the Google Toolbar, lower rankings, or in an extreme case, removal from Google's search results.
There are business' out there that put their trust in SEO marketing companies and have no clue about the consequences of their actions.
But I am amazed that the culture amongst those that do know is more about how close they can push Google's limits without getting found out. There's commentary from some very prominent site owners and SEO consultants surrounding these issues out there and it's well read, that supports this.
Did Interflora's SEO company warn their clients of the guideline infringements?
Did the UK newspapers know they ran a big risk selling links? It's not the first newspaper group to get penalized around the globe or loose trust and it's not just recent. Why on earth do it - the revenue stream is desperately small for large business' like this [ even if they do make losses ].
Did the executives directing and paying the bills advise their bosses of the risk?
This type of penalization is nothing new. It's been going on for years, at least 7 years or more.
The problem is the competitive culture of the SEO industry which takes risks and spins the truth, and with Google who are not consistent in how they police links or communicate what works and what doesn't in terms of ranking. It's a vicious cycle of deceit and brinkmanship - welcome to the jungle. But you'd better respect the lion.
Anything that manipulates results is off limits. I'd think the majority of the internet would be at risk as demonstrated partially by Penguin and Panda. This tactic was just grossly obvious.
"Brands are the solution, not the problem," Mr. Schmidt said. "Brands are how you sort out the cesspool."
No wonder Eric Schmidt in 2007 referred to his own product as a cesspool of results and Google needs brands [webmasterworld.com...]