The Big Google PageRank Slap - Perception Is Everything
Recently Google did a major PageRank update where a lot of sites were downgraded. Many experts believe this PageRank update was Google's response to link selling - sites which sell links lost points in their PageRank.
Google measures all web pages on a scale of importance from 0 to 10, which is shown in a small green pixel bar on browsers carrying the Google Toolbar. PageRank is "supposedly" measured by the number of backlinks to your site.
Online democracy in action, a link is a vote for your site. The more votes you have the higher your site is ranked. At least that's how it was supposed to work until a lot of high PR sites started selling links and put a monkey wrench into the whole system.
The latest update may be a smart move on Google's part to curtail this practice; who's going to buy a link from a PR2 or even a PR4 site? Besides this could be more than a warning that your site will go down even further if you continue to sell links.
Now this is more of a cosmetic change in PageRank than a real change in your true rankings in Google. Just because your PR goes down doesn't mean your keyword rankings or traffíc from Google also goes down.
I saw some of my sites go up, some stayed the same, but my major site took a big hit - falling from PR6 to PR4. This was more of a devastating blow than I expected mainly for psychological reasons than actual consequences. After years of building the best content you can muster and constantly getting quality one-way links, to see that PageRank drop was very disappointing and hits to the core of your online work.
I have been around for a while so I have experienced many Google Updates - anyone remember the Florida Update? I also keep my ears peeled to discussions of the latest updates in Webmasterworld and Stompernet, and I even read Matt Cutts when I get real nervous... so I knew not to panic just because of the sudden drop in PageRank.
I also knew what most of the SEO experts were saying was true because my major keywords stayed the same and my Google traffíc actually went up. But that's little comfort when you're talking about Google; you immediately go into overdrive and try to figure out where you went wrong. What caused the drop - because whether PageRank is meaningless or not, you're still going in the wrong direction.
I saw many of my competitors drop too, but many stayed the same and a few even increased in PageRank. What are they doing right; what am I doing wrong? I don't sell links but does Google think I am selling links was my main concern? I even moved one external link from my main page to another part of my site, just in case Google is mistaking that as a paid link.
Welcome To Webmaster's Paranoid Hell!
For SEO reasons I have very few external links on my main page. Can't see why Google downgraded my main site. I have been at PR6 for years.
Herein lies my main beef - with Google you don't really know where you stand; you are constantly walking on eggshells. No matter how good your content or your site is - one misstep and you could be in the doghouse. All your hard work can be taken away in a heartbeat.
It wouldn't matter so much if it was one of the other two major search engines downgrading your site but this is Google.
Free organic traffíc from Google is vital to any online site or business. I would take traffíc from Google over any other source of traffíc on the web, except for traffíc coming from my articles on other sites, and even that traffíc probably originated from a search in Google.
Google and Google PageRank have always been important to me - that's one of the reasons a sudden large drop causes so much concern. There's another important reason Google PageRank is important to me.
Most SEO experts mistakenly believe PageRank is meaningless because Google is not giving us the true ranking of any site or revealing all the backlinks, which is supposedly one of the major factors in how Google ranks sites. While this fact is obviously true, it has caused many to jump to another conclusion.
Because Google is not giving us the real ranking, many webmasters have dismissed PageRank as a vital element in their sites. Don't make the same mistake.
Google PageRank is extremely important if you're doing business on the web. The higher PR you have, the better. But it has nothing to do with keyword rankings or first page SERPs.
What many SEO experts fail to realize (not really their business) is the whole "perceived" value of PageRank.
Google, hate it or love it, has become the most respected company on the web in the eyes of the majority of the web's users. It carries enormous weíght and prestige. The "perceived" value of a high PR7 or PR8 is extremely valuable.
We are not talking about link selling; we are talking about how a perspective business partner or customer will treat your site or business.
Say you have two identical sites you want to do business with online and you discover one is a Google PR2 site and the other is a Google PR8 site - which one would you choose to do business with? Honestly?
From first-hand experience, I know any online company or marketer will get more business offers and be offered more partnerships/joint ventures if you have a high Google PR site than a low one. It will make a difference to your bottom line.
PageRank is important. PageRank has meaning. Even if it has little bearing on your SERPs rankings or Google traffíc, PageRank can greatly influence the success of your online site or venture. Don't ignore or dismiss PageRank as a meaningless relic that didn't quite work out as Google had planned for it in the first place.
High PageRank Will Always Be Valuable
The day Google gives its own site a PageRank of PR1 or PR2 instead of the current PR10 - that's the day you can dismiss PageRank as truly meaningless.
About The Author
By Titus Hoskins (c) 2007
The author is a full-time online marketer. For the latest web marketing tools try: Internet Marketing Tools or why not try these: Free Marketing Courses. Copyright © 2007 Titus Hoskins. This article may be freely distributed if this resource box stays attached.