Google has penalized the clout that its own Japanese site has in search results after a promotion that violated the company's own search policies.
Earlier this week, Google canceled a promotion in Japan that paid bloggers to write about a new feature that showed popular new search terms on Google's Japanese home page. Now Google is administering the same punishment to its Japanese site that it hands out to others who similarly violate its policies.
"Google.co.jp PageRank is now ~5 instead of ~9. I expect that to remain for a while," said Matt Cutts, who leads Google's efforts to screen bogus Web sites from Google's search, in a Twitter post on Wednesday. A site with a higher PageRank score gets more prominence in search results and can boost the prominence of other sites to which it links.
Through Google's PageRank algorithm, a site to which many other sites link gets higher placement in search results, and Google works hard to ensure its search results aren't skewed by sites with inappropriate paid links. That would let sites simply pay for higher search results; Google wants the quality and relevance of the site's content to determine such placement.
(Via Google Blogoscoped.)