The Guardian newspaper have today written an article titled Is Google a Grinch or a good guy?, which asks many UK SEO’s (myself included) for their views on the recent Google paid link debate.
In my opinion the Google AdWords landing page quality score and PageRank paid link updates were definitely necessary and will only help to improve the relevancy and quality of both organic and sponsored Google listings. But perhaps the timing of the updates are questionable, the Google AdWords change in particular caused many advertisers a major loss in profits just before the Christmas period with many campaigns unable to stay cost-effective due to large increases in minimum bids.
The major issue I feel is that while Google have the right to prevent MFA (Made For AdSense) websites and paid listing directories from clearly profiting through their algorithm and PageRank indicator, they also catch some of the people who are not intentionally doing so. The roll-out of these changes takes time to perfect and in many cases the more selective paid “review” directories will be penalised initially, as could AdWords advertisers using Google AdSense as a secondary source of income, and with Christmas around the corner it’s probably not the best time of the year to be facing these sort of problems.
I’d be interested in hearing comments from anyone else regarding these issues, should Google consider it’s timing of updates more carefully? Can the short-term issues affecting websites within Google’s guidelines be prevented in the first place? If they delay necessary improvements will this harm the algorithm? Is there actually a good time to apply these updates anyway?