Hey Google! Sunset Your Unnatural Oral Action or I’ll Nofollow You


Do you remember the days when “manual action” was something desirable and NSFW?

Listening to Google spokespeople turns more bizarre with the years. They have come up with their own language to hide the sour facts of

  • penalties
  • faulty algorithms
  • discontinued services.

Believe me! By now you need help to understand hidden meanings by Google. It’s a quite a bit Orwellian.

In the past I created a dictionary for Google Newspeak, that is made up Google terms meant to hide negative messages.

Just consider a few examples from the Google Reader fiasco. The official Google announcements were all very positive when it comes to wording.


The Google Reader demise was all about

Only nice things aren’t they? Who wouldn’t want to retire and watch a beautiful sunset amidst power and cleanliness?

Sunsetting has been not the most important euphemism they used this time. Google had already “sunset” Google Wave. The much hyped tool has been quickly abandoned after a failed start.

Google didn’t want to remind people that they are sunsetting all the time while the sun never rises again on the affected services.

Compare this usage of made up words to those used by more legitimate sources from bloggers and journalists:

They are pretty matter of fact aka rather objective. Now what the hell am I trying to tell you in this post?

Let’s take a step back and cite someone who knows more about language than me. I wanted to cite a credible personality like

  • Noam Chomsky, a leading linguist and dissident
  • Allen Ginsberg, a famous poet of the beat generation

who both are well known for showing how language turns manipulative but I finally decided to cite a popular writer.

Writer Gore Vidal has explained the corruption of language:

“As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action”

He goes on to give some awful examples:

“you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.”

The correct and straightforward usage of words is something that really touches the foundations of our society!

In contrast I always have to think how Google engineers are touching themselves when it comes to “manual action”.

Killing in the Name of

Many more publications have been using the negative word kill though which reflects the true nature of Google’s move to “power down” Reader:

After Google Reader was finally dead, the Google word choice became more down to earth. They said that the data got “deleted” while the service got “discontinued”.

Google can be actually matter of fact when they want to.

In the meantime their public relations department and lawyers are working hard though to limit their liability for any damages they inflict on user and webmasters.

Natural Links Growing on Trees

Of course it’s not just Google Reader. Google is making up its own language along the way.

We often hear about so called unnatural links for example. A completely nonsensical term! Why?

Links or hyperlinks are part of the virtual Web based completely on technology.

Links can not be natural by definition. They don’t grow on trees at all. They consist of code and get added by people.

Hot Oral Action


So when you listen to Google’s “hot oral action” you often get reminded of British writer George Orwell. Ignorance is bliss isn’t it?

The less you understand of what Google PR puppets tell you the better for Google but the worse for you.

When something is unnatural, it’s their use of language though. You don’t have to be a linguist or poet to recognize this.

Time to Nofollow Google

I think I will nofollow Google from now on. I don’t mean unfollow. I mean nofollow as in the link attribute.

It means I will cripple all the links pointing to Google so that they don’t count as endorsements. This is what Google requires from webmasters for not trustworthy sites anyway.

It’s not just shady site you have to use nofollow on. Over the years nofollow has become the one size fits all red flag to mark your link building efforts.

Google wants you to castrate all your links you have built.

  • Guest postings
  • widgets
  • infographics

are crap according to Google. No matter the quality of course. According to Google links from these types of content are worthless per se and worth to be followed by their bots.

Yes, they are worthless from their perspective. They don’t earn any money by indexing them. They only need your unique, original content to put ads above it.

Google does not earn a cent from your links. The contrary is the case. The fewer links there are the better for Google by now. Why? Google is the number one link list on the market!

They can monopolize the Web even better when nobody else has links. Of course they have their own walled garden type of Web in the making.

Most searches start and end on Google by now. No need to click through to pesky third party sites.

Google wants to link to content itself so you need them while webmasters linking to other sites are their competition.

Just think of shopping search engines that have been mostly wiped out during the so called Panda update.

It was no coincidence that Google introduced a paid only version of Google Shopping shortly thereafter.

I want to tell you something dear Google, I will use your own language so that you get the message: sunset your unnatural oral action or I’ll nofollow you.

Ideally you stop all of your unnatural action, not just the oral one. In any case:

are great search engines! Yandex has a very good English version and is still the leading search engine in Russia. DuckDuckGo, Ecosia and Startpage are all private search engines unlike Google.

* Creative Commons image by Mike Behnken