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The Greenpeace PageRank Lottery

Written by David Harry   
Tuesday, 02 June 2009 08:53

Innocent mistake or blatant manipulation?

Ok, where’s a Googler when ya need one? Can someone please page the link police to the customer service area please? I have a question….

In particular a little campaign Green Peace is running which makes some bold statements in order to purposely ‘Google Bomb’ or at least dominate the space of a particular CEO all in plain SEO-speak! There is simply NO way that this is a legitimate tactic... you tell me what U think, m'kay?

Here’s the speech (emphasis mine);

“Play for traffic

Greenpeace webpages are often #1 or #2 in web search engines like Google and Yahoo for popular environmental keywords, because people link to us about those topics. With your help we can make this webpage the first thing Kuniaki Nozoe sees when he Googles himself!

To make it more interesting for web publishers, we're linking back to all referring sites. Every month we'll pick the three best referring webpages (based on the creativity of the content, not number of referrals) to add to our featured links list.

Only the featured links get a share of the PageRank from this page, so be creative. (All the other links are included here using javascript which search engine crawlers can't read.) ”

Ok, I’ve heard of trading links before and certainly buying them; but a PageRank lottery? The wining 3 pages (out of however many play along) are to be rewarded with PageRank? WTF? I am REALLY curious as to how that plays out with Google’s TOS when I’d imagine any of use that tried this little ‘game’ would likely run afowl of the the Mighty G.


PageRank Hoarding

You know they mean business when it comes to hoarding the PR on this page too… there are def some SEOs behind the scenes over there. They really can't claim ignorance if you ask me. Just have a gander at the outbounds in the content;

the PageRank lottery

And the internal links in the footer nav;

PageRank management

Good guys or eco-bullies it doesn’t matter – this type of link building needs some clarification. Last I checked trading ANYTHING for links was somewhat poo poo’d no? And openly looking to bomb their own page to #1?!? Yikes...


Is this a legitimate tactic?

Thus the question remains, is this a legitimate link building (and hoarding) technique? Can we all start SERP bullying our chosen causes?

If we look at the Google webmaster guidelines we see (emphasis mine again);

“Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you'd feel comfortable explaining what you've done to a website that competes with you. Another useful test is to ask, "Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn't exist?


“Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.”


From the actual ‘linking schemes’ page we see;

“However, some webmasters engage in link exchange schemes and build partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. This is in violation of Google's webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact your site's ranking in search results. Examples of link schemes can include:

  • Links intended to manipulate PageRank
  • Links to web spammers or bad neighborhoods on the web
  • Excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging ("Link to me and I'll link to you.")
  • Buying or selling links that pass PageRank”

Hmmmm.... They sure seem to fit under a few of those categories form what I can see. I know we all bend the rules to differing degrees and that is fine.What is troubling is if this is allowed to persist, (by the fine folks at Google and the other engines) when we are assured that it is a level playing field out there. Unless of course this is a legitimate manipulation, then great... it's fair game for all then. Somehow I don't think this one will fly..

Is it just me or has the gang at GreenPeace gone too far? Can Link Juice be offered as a prize?


Green Peach PageRank lottery


Sound off…..

UPDATE - it seems they've adapted the campaign to ensure it complies with Google's guidelines. Nice work there G! For those smacking me about 'cause I am 'outing' anyone, rest assured no SEOs were harmed in the making of this example. The fact they changed it an no harm was done (to their indexation/rankings), does speak to that.

It is the 'intent' of an approach - one simply can't (overtly) state ANYTHING is being done to game the system... duh... or you're outing yerself IMO



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