While I’ll usually refrain from posting about specific sites and problems, this is already made public thanks to Google Webmaster Central. Since JCPenny was getting some flack from Google and the web this last week, it looks like other Fortune 500’s are being treated equally. While a site like Forbes.com does have what to appear to be paid links, they’re always quite on target. Despite that, they’re followed links and it seems that the new “unnatural links” message was warranted. I applaud their marketing manager for addressing it, but I don’t think he has any other option as this is Google’s only support line!
This Google Webmaster Help thread got a response from even Matt Cutts himself, which makes total sense when a big name like this asks. The thread covers a lot of interesting ground, and shows you that even the big fish have to clean up things from time to time. While they’ll most likely just have certain pages devalued, a site with this many links and that much trust won’t fall too hard. But having the paid links in question under “Resources” is also bringing more bad attention than good.
Matt Cutts even calls out Conductor Inc in the thread as they’ve been known to sell links via such authoritative sites as Forbes…but again that’s all speculation. Regardless, a few nofollow’s appended to those resources and all would be cleared according to Matt. If you watched this video I posted the other day from Matt, we can see if it auto fixes itself. By the looks of Forbes Alexa ranking, they may already be feeling the sting of the Googlebot.
Let’s hear your thoughts!