The Morality of Google Penalties

In an article posted on Search Engine Roundtable yesterday , Barry Schwartz posted the results of a poll, and continued a long debated topic “Are Google Penalties Immoral?”

Google Morality

Of the 200 participants:

58% said yes

34% said no

and 8% were unsure.

There have been many articles about the topic and one that has recently come to the forefront is written by Josh Bachynski, who has a master’s degree in Ethics and Rational Decision Theory. He was able to personally chat with Matt about his thoughts on the issue.

The main takeaways are:

  • Does Google have the “moral authority or justification” to penalize sites with algorithms such as Penguin?
  • Penalties result in business closures and layoffs that affect real people.
  • Google is stealing content  (and violating it’s own stance on content duplication) in order to populate it’s Knowledge Graph.

Although I can’t say I agree with the entire sentiment of Josh’s article, it does make some valid points. Personally, I don’t fault Google for Penguin penalties, but I am concerned by the lack of support and resources for those that may be a victim of ignorance or malicious tactics.

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