Forbes Caught Selling Links by Google

Google sends letter notifying Forbes that they have been removed from the search index

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Forbes has been caught and penalized by Google for selling links. And it didn’t take the New York Times to uncover this violation of Google’s quality guidelines. This past weekend Google was tipped off that JCPenny was buying links after a New York Times investigation.

According to Techcrunch there are several other prominent sites that may also be selling links. Techcrunch listed as examples eWeek and CIO Magazine.

Barry Schwartz of the Search Engine Rountable blog noticed a Google Webmaster Help posting by Denis Pinsky who is the Digital Marketing Manager at Forbes.com containing this notification warning by Google:

Dear site owner or webmaster of http://www.forbes.com/,
We’ve detected that some or all of your pages are using techniques that are outside our quality guidelines, which are available here: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769&hl=en.

Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links on your site pointing to other sites that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. For more information about our linking guidelines, visit


We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please visit https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/reconsideration?hl=en to submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.

If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters?hl=en.

Google Search Quality Team
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

As indicated in the notification Google has removed at least some pages of Forbes.com from its index which for a site as SEO’d as Forbes is devastating to their pageviews. The links are on interior pages of Forbes.com and are grouped together which makes them pretty obvious.

Clicking around Forbes.com indicates that they are hard at work trying to remove links because many articles now lead to an error message that says, "Changing the ribbon. Back up shortly". 

Forbes Caught Selling Links by Google
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  • Guest

    This is just laughable. Google is not law and shouldn’t punish any site for what they think is “selling links”. It is time for these companies to sue google and sic the government on them. These silly little search engine laws they have implemented are violating antitrust laws. They need to stick to being a search engine!

    • Guest

      I take it you don’t work in SEO? You’re right Google isn’t law, but if you want to rank in Google then you have to abide by their rules – this article isn’t saying that Google has sent Forbes to jail it’s saying they haven’t abided by thier rules.

  • Guest

    Its funny that people say things like, google should be sued for not allowing companies to take advantage of their search engine.

    Google isn’t a democracy, nor is it a government body.

    Its a private company, a dictatorship at its finest. If they want to remove sites for doing black hat SEO tactics, what can you do? Nothing.

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