A recent Pagerank jiggle seemed to indicate that something interesting was happening. Could Google be using its Pagerank system to prevent low-quality sites getting free traffic?
Several of my own observations indicated that low-value Pagerank links may decay over time.
One webmaster reported a jump from Pagerank zero to Pagerank five, purely from a recent link-building campaign. During his link building efforts, he got a few links from a Pagerank 6 blog, and he expected those links “to fade as new posts come out”.
The way that blogs work is that new posts appear on the homepage which is usually the highest ranked page on the blog. Over time, those blog posts move off the homepage and into the archives, where they usually have less Pagerank.
What if the whole web worked in the same way? If new links were counted “in full”, but over time the Pagerank of the links “faded”?
If that were the case, a site that was receiving lots of traffic, but which stopped getting links would eventually lose its traffic. That’s what I experienced with one of my own websites which was chugging along at 2,000 visitors per day. After the PageRank jiggle, the traffic dropped.
Another indication of Pagerank decay came from an SEO expert who wrote that “You need fresh links today, and in the future”.
Are you starting to see a pattern? Pagerank from older blog posts fades, a site that didn’t get any recent links experienced falling traffic, and an SEO expert saying you need continual fresh links.
Here’s my Pagerank Decay theory…
1: Google loves quality sites.
2: Quality sites get links naturally over time.
3: Low value links decay over time.
“PageRank Decay” would benefit Google, because if a site only gets low-quality links, and the PageRank of those links decays over time, the webmaster either has to continually build more links, or give up.
Webmasters who try to manipulate Google will most likely be getting low-quality links. If they spend time building links, they’ll get traffic, but only for a while unless other sites start linking to them naturally. If they don’t get any new links for a while, their traffic will fall.
On the other hand, if a webmaster builds a quality website that other webmasters choose to link to, the site will maintain, or even improve, its search engine rankings naturally.
It’s possible that Google only applies Pagerank decay to low-value Pagerank links. Presumably, the age of a link from a top-quality website wouldn’t affect its value. Anyone who had a site good enough to get a link from a Pagerank 8 or higher website wouldn’t see the value of that link dwindle to nothing in over time. Sites with PageRank 8 or higher would thereby form a “backbone” of quality, trusted sites from which PageRank would flow to lesser sites.
The bottom line is that, if you accept PageRank Decay exists then anyone who works really hard to build “low value” links into their sites will have to keep working hard just to maintain their traffic.
PageRank Decay is like a hamster wheel for webmasters who build sites that don’t get natural links.
Copyright (c) 2007 Titus Hoskins
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 traffic 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 traffic 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 even a few 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 never 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 traffic from Google is vital to any online site or business. I would take traffic from Google over any other source of traffic on the web, except for traffic coming from my articles on other sites, and even that traffic 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 weight 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 traffic, 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.
Apparently there was a pagerank update around a week ago, I for one, did not see that coming for hell, usually google takes it’s sweet time to update the pagerank, and it’s done every 3-5 months and sometimes they take half a year to udpate the pagerank, if they are going to speed up their pace for updating pagerank it might put a great strain on webmasters, a site which is PR6, going through a bad month would be deemed PR5 and what if the owner wants to sell the site but can’t anymore because it’s value just dropped..
This blog is still PR0 because I wasn’t really expecting the update to be that soon, I thought I had by the end of August at least, ah well, by the next update I’m guessing I’ll have a PR4 atleast.
Honestly it was better when the pagerank was updated once in a while, it gave people time to actually work on their SEO and backlinks so that it paid off on that one glorious day when you had gone from PR0 to PR5. Let’s hope they don’t speed up their process now.
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