3 Surprises in the Google PageRank Update

Now this is beginning to look like a complete update. Previously on Search Engine Watch I reported that many new pages that had been added shortly after the last update had not been updated. Now those pages are beginning to show PageRank. Clearly this is a general update.

The big news remains the apparent punishment in PageRank terms of sites which are selling links. What surprises me about this is not that Google did this, but three other things:

  1. It surprises me that they missed so many sites that are obviously selling links. I am aware of many, many such sites that monetize their sites in that fashion, without NoFollowing their links. Given the set of sites affected, it really does seem like the punishment was manually selected.

    However, that makes it even more curious when you consider that influencers like Search Engine Roundtable and Search Engine Journal were selected.

  2. It surprises me that they punished sites that sell links, but clearly labelled them as Sponsored, or as Advertisers, or some other equivalent. Google will never win that battle. Monetizing sites is something that every site owner has the right to do. Such a small percentage of site owners even know what a NoFollow is, that a policy of punishing people on that basis does not make sense to me. Besides which, can’t Google detect these types of clear labels and simply discount those links algorithmically?
  3. It was also a surprise that there was no apparent impact on traffic. This was reported by both Search Engine Roundtable and Search Engine Journal. So given the broad swipe that they took at sites as mentioned in point 2 above, I suppose that this is a good thing. But simply altering tool bar page rank in a way that does not impact traffic will get them nowhere.

    The link selling market will continue to thrive without PageRank. At this point in time, selling links is more about Anchor Text than PageRank. Nothing in this update has changed that.

I think the right strategy for Google is to focus on the sites that are clearly being manipulative, and implement penalties on them that include an affect on traffic. Then Google should be able to address people who clearly label their sold links as ads algorithmically, by simple discounting their links. Sure this may be subject to error, but I would think that the outcry on that score would be far less significant than what they generated with the approach they used.


  1. Daniel says

    There was no essential change. No ranking modifications beyond the normal daily up and down, depending also from which GG server you are having data.
    PR seems a virtual good, that can be sold?
    The thing any webmaster can sell it’s their traffic, and traffic did not change. Selling PR sites, were wrong, or better said selling a value that belongs to GG, (officially fraudulent if you sell something that is not yours) because they can not manage PR or handle PR, and it is some kind of GG measure that was not born to be sold.
    See it that way. PR 0 sites. There are many of them, well optimized (this is what matters) at the top ten. So PR is not important.
    I see this like a “do not sell my PR” message from GG.
    PR penalized sites still have their positions at GG. Still..have their traffic.
    Sell as many links as you want! It’s your right, it’s your website, but do not sell links based on PR value. That’s all. Easy to understand, hard to eat for some people.
    Instead of inserting code showing PR, insert code showing Who is on line, Traffic today etc. Internet will be a better place for real business.

  2. Daniel says

    Well, in addition, and as an example.
    Suppose you have a company positioned at Fortune 500.
    You go crazy and loose all your money and company at the casino. Right?
    After that, and until next Fortune 500 measure, you will be a “virtual Fortune 500 Co.”
    So you want to sell it, and it’s value is nothing …
    If you think is useful, post it, other way thank you for your interesting posts.

  3. says

    I kept reading about the pagerank updates ..but much to my suprise blogcarnivals went from 0 PR to PR4, which was much more than expected we were hoping for a 1 or 2 PageRanking, so I guess many sites will benifit from the Pagerank Updates as will many sites suffer, so goes the crazy ways of Google PageRank..we will continue to offer link trade requests as well as feature blogs and websites.

  4. says

    Goo gle algorithm will continue as it is or else it will not be effecient
    anymore… What they can do is manually edit the page rank of any
    websites. If you sell adsense your pr will likely increase even if you
    sell links.

  5. says

    My Site lose Pagerank from 4 down to 3. Nothing happen in the search results. Other Sites from me lose nothing in there Pagerank but get out of index. Only 2 of 100 Sites get up in there Pagerank. I do not understand what google want? First they tell us you have to build Links and Now they started to banned Sites they have a lot of Links.
    This is a Game where only one Party wins. And this is not the User.

  6. says

    PageRank continues to be a distraction placed on the toolbar by Google. As the author states, pageRank has dropped but traffic continues.

    We educate our clients to ignore the page rank and focus on CPA, CTR and other metrics that show growth.

    My findings on this last PR change, it appears that anyone with “extra” links or verbose links are being penalized. I know a few local seo ‘experts’ that use massive link text with the anchor set to “#”. Basically an annoyance to the visitor and a fake out that the engines can detect.

    We suggest that you spend the time needed to compare your anchor text to the page you are sending traffic. As always they should be related to each other. One link with high relevance and positive human behavioral interaction is worth dozens of good PR4+ links.

    Quality over quantity people….

    good luck fellow seo’rs!!

    Best always,


  7. Daniel says

    Kurt Said:
    “First they tell us you have to build Links and Now they started to banned Sites they have a lot of Links.”
    Perhaps this may help you.
    With no intention, may be you made a link farm of your sites. Google sometimes(or always) thinks that any webmaster should be a SEO and it does not happen this way. A webmaster, with good intentions does not have to be a SEO. Perhaps knows about SEO good practices or reads GG webmaster tools.
    Linking must be from different Ip’s and related content sites.
    If you have your websites with the same shared Ip in your server, linking will not work for GG eyes, as I know.
    Try to see if there are any errors, or if you made changes to the de indexed sites.
    If you did, may be the reason, and if what you did is right, you will see results very soon.
    Take a look at some websites that show backlinks in real time (not GG toolbar).
    See if there’s nothing weird at results.
    I found a back link from a competitor site that anchor text was “terrified” other one was “fraud” .
    This SOAB get de indexed by Google, when I posted situation at webmaster central.
    Hope it helps, wish you the best

  8. says

    I do not know if Google updates the pagerank, but I already has over 1 years with a PR4, every time Google does not put it more difficult to attract visitors to our site, Google wants all the web traffic for them, is not just be left to compete and I am trying to get by with Google Adsense.Pero really earn a pittance if you have it 5 to attract more visitors.


  9. says

    Google updated the toolbar page rank again on 2 April 2009.This time they filtered more back links. Previously i have around 70 now i have just 10 back links left for my site http://www.cybex.in. But site rank well on all top keywords. It seems google backlinks scheme updated too. It still loves article links as i did for my site.

    • says

      Seair, that depends on what you mean by “PageRank update.” The real PageRank, which is part (but only one part of many) of the Google search ranking algorithm, is likely constantly updated. But we can’t see that. Toolbar PageRank, the 10-level score that was made available to the public, and only updated occasionally, is likely gone forever. Several Google spokespersons have said there are no plans to update it any longer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *