Our Pagerank Still MIA

in Are You Kiddin' Me? by

Ok, I am going to try my best to make this my final post on the whole “‘Google cracking down on paid links” thingy.

I have done 3 posts on the web design blog about this subject:

So, I am going to work very hard to make this the last on on that topic.

As you may or may not know, we were are PR5 before we got the Google smackdown. Now, we are a PR0. Personally, I feel that the Pagerank system is broken in its current format and I am really not concerned with whether we are a 0 or a 10 (well, maybe a 10 would be cool 🙂 ). The part that bothered me was the possible deindexing risk faced by sites that did not use nofollow on advertisers links. Anyway, I am not going to rehash that again. If you are interested, hop over to the post on the web design blog to read all about that. I just wanted to give a few more thoughts on the issue of selling text links.

I am not all all convinced that Google has the ability to differentiate between a paid advertisement and one that is placed just because it points to a good reference. First of all, Google is not even following their own rules regarding the use of nofollow on paid links. So how in the world can they possibly know what someone else’s intentions were when they placed a link? Let’s say, for example, that we decided to offer advertising for FREE. Visually, we keep it just like it is currently. The only difference is that we don’t charge for it – just like, oh I don’t know, a blogroll!!!! How would Google be able to determine that we are not getting money for it? Would they still penalize us? Would they instead give us a boost because we were being so nice? Google’s automated check system is flawed and that is why they have to rely on other webmasters to do the work for them manually and report it when they find evidence of a paid link. Here is all you have to do according to Matt Cutts:

Sign in to Google’s webmaster console and use the authenticated spam report form, then include the word “paidlink” (all one word) in the text area of the spam report. If you use the authenticated form, you’ll need to sign in with a Google Account, but your report will carry more weight.
Use the unauthenticated spam report form and make sure to include the word “paidlink” (all one word) in the text area of the spam report.

Great idea! Get others to report the paid links that you can’t find on your own. That is sure to work perfectly, assuming, of course, that the person doing the reporting is legitimately concerned with protecting the purity of the Google Index and not a competitor of the “offending” site just trying to get them in trouble. Also assuming that said competitor has not:

  1. Purchased a bunch of text links from a broker
  2. Pointed all those links to a competitor’s domain and then
  3. Reported the competitor’s domain for selling links.

Nah, that would never happen. And I am sure that you have a way to determine that kind of stuff anyway, right?

If you read more of Matt’s post, you will come across this Q and A:

Q: Can you give me an example of the sort of things you’d be interested in hearing about?
A: Sure. Here are some paid text links on a site dedicated to Linux:

advertising links

Now notice the types of links mentioned – A site about Linux selling links to Online Casinos… totally spammy. I could not agree more. That site should be penalized for stupidity. But, remember, our advertisers are related to the topics on our blog – not spammy at all. Before we allowed a link on our site, we personally visited the site of that potential advertiser and either approved or denied them based on whether or not they were directly related to our blog’s content. Instead of determining the purpose of the link, Google seems to be only trying to determine its status as a paid link and then punish parties involved.

Ok, fair enough. Its your search engine – you can do with what you want with it. Just don’t preach that you are preserving integrity of your index by doing this. If you remove sites from your index that contain valuable information, isn’t that actually hurting your index? If a site exists solely to increase rankings, boost PR and sell advertising – that is another story and sites like that deserve close scrutiny. But sites that add to their readers’ experience actually make your index more valuable, don’t they?

Anyway, we now use nofollow on all links – as far as I can tell, we got them all, but with more than 1,000 pages I am not positive (it would be helpful if Google told us where we had “offended”). We have never advertised for a Casino or anything like that – blah, blah, blah. So, the next step is to fill out a reinclusion request, but on that request I have to check the box that says:

  • This site no longer violates Google’s quality guidelines.
  • I have read and agree to abide by Google’s quality guidelines.

I really don’t feel that our blog ever violated quality guidelines, so how can I honestly check that? Since I can’t bring myself to do it, our PR is still missing. Oh, well. I am probably frustrated because I really don’t understand where we made a boo-boo. Maybe if Google did a better job of explaining the problem to webmasters it would clear up any issues.

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8 Replies Let's See Your Work

8 thoughts on “Our Pagerank Still MIA

  1. Anthony

    Thanks for commenting, ooyes. Maybe one day I will be able to bring myself to check that little box on Google’s reinclusion form… 🙂

  2. Ty


    Hey, great blog! I have one myself, but this is fantastic. Anyhoo, I wonder if what you are experiencing is just a lag in the recent PR update. If you notice when you hover over the PR tool bar, is just says “No Page Rank Available”. My blog has the same message, however I have not seen any signs of decreased traffic. I bet you will get your PR back soon.
    I noticed you have an SMX logo? Are you going? I am, should be fun. Well, hope all goes well, keep up the good work!,


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  4. Anthony

    Hey Ty – thanks for the comments. Great to see another southern boy showing up! As far as our pagerank, no, we got smacked, not just a pagerank lag. Our traffic remained the same and rankings are still up there, we just can’t pass and PR through OBLs.

    After we got smacked, I split the web design topics off on to a new blog (separate from the Technology blog) and our web design blog almost immediately went to a PR4 – meh, good for us I guess.

    I wish I was going to SMX, but not going to happen right now. Give me the link to your blog so we can see your posts about the action out there!

  5. crankhead

    that was a fantastic analysis..you got the point..you’re blog really interest me out..those penalties really hurts a lot from pr5 to 0..i’m just being curious why do google don’t peanalize those sites who sell links?..is it because that they use the no follow attribute and their main target is to gain traffic..

  6. Anthony

    @crankhead – Yes, they use nofollow and so avoid the link-selling penalties. We have since gotten the PR back, but it was a pain to have to go through all that in the first place. Our links were always pointing to sites that were related to our blog content.

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