Why is Google Buying Links From SEMPO?

Google, which has arbitrarily forced its will to use nofollow on the web (and declared link buyers and sellers who do not use the tag as spammers) is buying a PageRank 7 link from SEMPO.org.

You would think that if Google wants to set new proprietary standards they would follow them as well. And what better spot to start following them than with a trade organization promoting search engine marketing?

Published: May 4, 2008 by Aaron Wall in google


Glen Allsopp
May 4, 2008 - 11:28pm

From the post I expected some text link in the footer with the anchor text 'search engine'.

Although I think they could be clearer on link buying, I don't think that is slightly similar to the type of thing they are trying to stop.

That is, if you are talking about the image link or I am missing something.

May 5, 2008 - 11:08am

I was mentioning the direct link to sponsor site from a high PageRank page.

May 9, 2008 - 5:57pm

Is this really an issue? Google appears to be within a strict, if not implied, reading of their guidelines.

As I understand it, Google "suggests" adding nofollow to links on pages when they either:

a) don't divulge that they're sponsored links (i.e. they try an hide them as contextual)


b) are linking to "untrusted websites", such as occurs with comment spam. See:

E-consultancy decided to not to nofollow their sponsored links, as they clearly marked their ads as sponsored links and only link to sites that they trust.

See: http://www.e-consultancy.com/forum/108667-google-s-recent-clamp-down-on-...



SEO Company London

May 9, 2008 - 7:48pm

But many other companies that decided to clearly mark their sponsored ads had their toolbar PageRank or actual PageRank stripped.

May 5, 2008 - 1:53pm

I checked this out when you twittered it. The image links are clearly "Sponsors" or something similar, and the absence of nofollow would seemingly make this page an easy target for Google to make a spam, assuming they have made adjustments to their formula to catch this sort of thing....

Google put this line in the sand, they need to stand on the right side.

As for SEMPO, shouldn't this site, of all the sites out there, know better and be practicing only the strictest of white hat methods? It is an SEO site, afterall.

May 5, 2008 - 2:18pm

Exactly where I was coming from Dito. :)

Daniel Durick
May 5, 2008 - 6:05pm

My opinion is that the responsibility lies on SEMPO. If you're interested in advertising on a website, you should not be penalized because the publisher didn't nofollow it. Obviously advertisers are not always after links but want to reach out to a site's users. Should an advertiser have to check to see if ads are nofollowed, or redirected, prior to purchase? Is this "buyer beware"? That seems backwards of other services.

May 5, 2008 - 6:58pm

Daniel, you're right in that its the advertisers responsibility. However, as a search engine, Google has set certain "best practices" for advertisers to follow. Their job is to enforce these best practices with traffic penalties coming from their search as a potential implied punishment. The fact that Google appears on a site and participates in an action that is clearly against their guidelines does put them in a shady position.

In other words, Google is not simply an ad buyer, they set the rules, they enforce the rules and apparently, they break them too?

Daniel Durick
May 5, 2008 - 8:33pm

@webdiggr I understand Google sets the rules, and so should follow them. I was giving my opinion on what should occur when a publisher does not nofollow ads.

May 7, 2008 - 10:29am

Google sets the rules, but ultimately you can't be punished if someone chooses to link to you. It's a relevant site, so i don't know what the big deal is anyway. The emphasis is on the Seller not the Buyer.

May 7, 2008 - 3:22pm

but ultimately you can't be punished if someone chooses to link to you.

That is untrue. Have seen otherwise too many times.

May 7, 2008 - 2:18pm


it's a sponsored link, as in google paid for it...

Brent Crouch
May 7, 2008 - 2:42pm

You have to love the double standard. Do as I say, not as I do.

May 25, 2008 - 7:30am

Why should SEMPO follow Google guidelines? Nofollowing sponsored links isn't mandatory. And what should have Google done here? Threaten SEMPO with a ban? SEMPO doesn't belong to Google.

May 25, 2008 - 8:12am

My point was not specific to SEMPO...more a reflection of Google's double standards. If they want to police an industry there is no better place to start than with their own interactions and relationships with industry organizations.

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