Google is penalizing websites for putting paid links. I hear many people cry when they see Google has reduced their PR (Page rank) to 0 (PR0). It is very important to understand and learn how to avoid Google pagerank penalty. Most of the webmastrers think Google is asking to stop putting paid links. But thats not true. Google has never said that. Google is not against paid links or online advertising. I am not favoring Google or anything but if you carefully read Google’s quality guidelines and webmaster guidelines, you will be surprised to know that Google nowhere says you should not be earning by putting banners and text links on your website. Infact they go even further to say that, they understand that websites need to earn from such advertising. Let me quote few sentences from their webmaster documentation directly
Not all paid links violate our guidelines. Buying and selling links is a normal part of the economy of the web when done for advertising purposes, and not for manipulation of search results. Links purchased for advertising should be designated as such.This can be done in several ways, such as:
* Adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute to the <a> tag
* Redirecting the links to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file
Google works hard to ensure that it fully discounts links intended to manipulate search engine results, such excessive link exchanges and purchased links that pass PageRank.
The only thing they ask is to put a nofollow tag to paid links so that PR should not be bought or sold. So, in principal they are not against “Paid Links” as it is being discussed all over. If Paid Links are used to get traffic, branding, sell products, attract customers etc. thats fine. Just do not sell PR. Thats it.
As far as “who are they to decide what I do on my website ..”, well they are no one but PR is their proprietary service, so they have the rules that need to be followed if you care about PR. I don’t think having paid links and getting Google pagerank penalty will effect your Search Engine Rankings Positions (SERPs). Atleast I have never seen this happen with anyone who got a Google page rank penalty. Your PR gets zero or reduced but your SERPs remain intact. Incase you see a fall in your search engine result rankings, it might be due to some other reasons associated with it but NOT necessarily Google penalty. But there is an exception to this, I will discuss that later. To give you a hint, a cascading effect of Google penalties on the websites that link to your website can cause a drop in your search engine result positions.