In a post on Google’s Webmaster blog, Matt Cutts, an engineer at Google, warned publishers to be wary of selling links to manipulate search rankings which pass its PageRank system.

“Selling links (or entire advertorial pages with embedded links) that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines, and Google does take action on such violations,” reads the post which further advises publishers to PageRank terms (see video below).

“We recommend you avoid selling (and buying) links that pass PageRank in order to prevent loss of trust, lower PageRank in the Google Toolbar, lower rankings, or in an extreme case, removal from Google’s search results, adds Cutts.

Although the post didn’t directly reference the case, the post comes in the wake of Interflora being removed from Google’s search engine rankings for ‘unnatural link building’.

The search giant took the action against the brand after it was deemed to have paid regional newspaper sites for a large number of links which directed readers to its own site and passed PageRank.

Google reacted to this tactic by removing Interflora from its search rankings for queries for its own brand name plus related search term.