Google has been named as a bit of a Grinch when it comes to its actions around the festive period.

According to the Guardian, the search engine earned the title in December 2004 when it altered the algorithms for AdSense in an attempt to crack down on link farms and sites built exclusively for search marketing loopholes.

However, the newspaper reports that this is not the only year that the world’s favourite search engine has looked a little green and hairy around the edges.

Following the Christmas 2004 decision, which saw the "Florida" algorithm installed, the search engine continued to make life tougher for marketers in December 2006 when it tightened the rules on AdSense in a bid to combat poor content sites – or ‘word farms’ – which were developed solely to take advantage of the AdSense application.

This year it is reported that Google could be lining up to steal Christmas for search marketers and internet advertisers once again following early warnings during October and November that the company plans to move against the buying and selling of paid-for links

Websites belonging to publishers such as Forbes, the Times, New Scientist and the Washington Post are all thought to have seen reductions in their rankings because of this action and the newspaper now reports that they could expect further action over the coming weeks.

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