About a month ago, we reported that Chrome’s share of the web browser market had fallen, in a rather unexpected turn of events. This was based on data from Net Applications, which attributed the loss to the penalty Google placed on it after a paid link scandal. Long story short, Google (which blamed its marketing firm) was caught with sponsored links on some blog posts about Chrome.
On January 3, Google’s Matt Cutts wrote on Google+:
We did find one sponsored post that linked to www.google.com/chrome in a way that flowed PageRank. Even though the intent of the campaign was to get people to watch videos–not link to Google–and even though we only found a single sponsored post that actually linked to Google’s Chrome page and passed PageRank, that’s still a violation of our quality guidelines, which you can find at http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=enanswer=35769#3.
In response, the webspam team has taken manual action to demote www.google.com/chrome for at least 60 days. After that, someone on the Chrome side can submit a reconsideration request documenting their clean-up just like any other company would. During the 60 days, the PageRank of www.google.com/chrome will also be lowered to reflect the fact that we also won’t trust outgoing links from that page.
Microsoft put out a new blog post looking at browser share (but more specifically, share on Windows 7, which it considers its core metric for Internet Explorer). Their data also comes from Net Applications. IE market share looks pretty good, as you can see:
“In line with recent months, we’re pleased to report that IE9 growth on Windows 7 continues, passing 30% worldwide as of the end of February,” writes Microsoft’s Roger Capriotti. “The data is particularly encouraging for users and developers in the US where IE9 is over 40% usage share at the end February.”
Tomorrow would actually be 60 days from when Cutts posted that, so it will be interesting to see if Chrome picks up again following the lifting of the penalty.
Google has certainly not slowed down on Chrome feature releases in the time it’s been penalized. Since then, the browser has gotten updates for better malware protection, speed, graphics, Instant Pages, and offline Gmail. Chrome for Android was also revealed.