Just yesterday, Google had a PageRank update and Andy Beard's seems to be the first to notice the drop of PageRank as he tells us in his post, "Digg Favorites Slapped By Google." Many sites have seen a big drop in PageRank. Some even from 9 to 6. Hours later, many others have reported on this.
Websites affected by Google's October PageRank update:-
AndyBeard PR5 to PR3
AutoBlog PR6 to PR4
BlogHerald PR6 to PR4
CopyBlogger PR6 to PR4
DailyStanford PR9 to PR5
Engadget PR7 to PR5
Forbes.com PR7 to PR5
JoyStiq PR6 to PR4
MasterNewMedia PR7 to PR4
OneMansBlog PR8 to PR5
ProBlogger.net PR6 to PR4
QuickOnlineTips PR6 to PR3
SearchEngineGuide PR7 to PR4
SearchEngineJournal PR7 to PR4
Seopedia PR6 to PR5
SeoScoop PR6 to PR3
SeroundTable PR7 to PR4
SFGate PR7 to PR5
SpapOop.Blogspot PR5 to PR4
StatCounter PR10 to PR6
SunTimes PR7 to PR5
TheCrimson PR8 to PR4
Tuaw PR6 to PR4
Volodymyrzablotskyy PR4 to PR2
WashingtonPost.com PR7 to PR5
WeblogToolCollection PR6 to PR4
Most of the sites mentioned above have a lot of interlinking going on between them.
Philipp Lenssen says that, "Interestingly enough, the last time I checked, Google's own AdWords still allowed text link brokers to advertise their systems… not sure if that's still the case."
Come to think of it, Google Webmaster Help Center's guidelines lays down the rules straight and clear:-
"Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links."
Duncan Riley, feels that "The only clear change appears to be among large scale blog networks and similar link farms, where each site in the network provides hundreds of outgoing links on each page of the blog to other blogs in the network, in some cases creating tens, even hundred of thousands of cross links. Previously such behavior has been rewarded by Google with high page rank, although it would now appear that this loop hole may now be shut.
Blogs in the TechCrunch network (we don't link heavily on each page..nor do we have a particularly large network) and the Gawker Media network (who like us don't go nuts with links) maintained their page rank whilst blogs across a range of other networks saw big decreases. The AOL owned Weblogs Inc was not immune, with leading Gadget blog Engadget dropping from PR 7 to PR5, Autoblog (6 to 4) and DownloadSquad (5 to 4)."
Loren Baker maintains that Paid linking is not the main culprit here, as 'One could say that paid linking led to the decrease in PageRank for these sites, but not all of these sites use paid linking as a source of revenue. Furthermore, there are many sites which were not associated with this drop in PageRank which sell paid links, but I'm not going to out them.'
Additionally, he states the reasons for PageRank decrease as:
- Paid Linking : The easy excuse is that they're targeting paid links, but not all sites which experienced the drop sell or buy links.
- Mass Linking : Do we link out to too many sites via Blog Rolls? Does Linkbait just result in TOO MANY links, even if they are natural. Do blog networks use influential linking to their advantage? I think PageRank has been spread too thin and Google is changing its PageRank formula to address the mass publishing which has taken place over the past 2 years.
- Devalue PageRank : PageRank is seen by many as the end all value of a web site. Our PageRank dropped but we are receiving more Google search traffic than ever. PageRank does not define site rankings in Google or traffic and it should not be mistaken as so.
- Kill the Paid Link Market : If Paid Linking houses use PageRank as a pricing metric, then eliminating or devaluing PageRank will devalue paid linking
BTW, I'd like to add that not all of the links I took off of the Supporters part of my template were paid. They were Supporters, not Sponsored Links.
On a surprising note, Barry Schwartz writes that even though his PageRank fell, he experienced an increase in traffic.
He continues saying, "Will this impact the selling of links on those sites? Time will tell. Will these sites slap on a nofollow tag? Time will tell. Will this make PageRank less valuable in the eyes of SEOs? Time will tell. For now, I think Google sent a clear message that they don't want sites to sell links or people to buy links. Will this message stop people from doing that? I don't think so, but like I said just before, time will tell."
Doug Heil explains the possible cause of this as, "Maybe you are linking out to bad neighborhoods with some of those "sponsors" you list in here? Some of those could not give me 10K per month to advertise on my sites. I don't know, but none of the sites I monitor had any PR go down. I had to "turn on" the silly green bar to find out. If a site's referrals have not went down, a lower green bar means nothing unless you actually think a higher green figure bar means a better site? Surely you don't think that"?
Many, however, have taken up a defiant stand, such as Jonathan Dingman who says, "I honestly feel that if Google is doing this to bully the paid link market, the industry will just find another way to determine link values. Technorati, Compete.com, Alexa, Y! backlinks, you name it, there's another metric out there."
"What I don't understand is the outrage over this," asks Jill Whalen who explains saying, "Everyone has known that if you're going to buy/sell links you shouldn't be doing it blatantly, and yet tons of sites are doing exactly that. Take a look at some of the sites mentioned in the list (mentioned above) look at the text links. If most of those aren't a blatant attempt to manipulate PageRank (and anchor text as well), then I don't know what is."
This update will benefit B and C list bloggers. On the other hand it will be detrimental for WebLogs.inc and also PPP and Text Link ads. This will also hurt people who are doing reviews via some mechanism like PPP. To get an idea of the blogs covering this, visit Search Engine Land.
IMAGE SOURCE: JOOST DE VALK