I Have PageRank Now! Is My Link Bait Working?

Like many of my readers, I’ve been following the hubbub about the “Google PageRank Penalties” for several days.

Unfortunately for me, all of my Google-provided toolbars seem to be malfunctioning in some strange way, because I haven’t been able to see the massive PageRank drops that these folks are claiming they’ve suffered. Search Engine Journal wobbled between 6 and 7 and is still showing PR7 today. Problogger still shows PR6. I went down the list of “victims” that’s been circulating, and nary a one ever showed up on my Google toolbar with a massively lower PageRank.

Can anyone out there confirm that they actually witnessed these “penalties” with a Google-provided toolbar, or did they only show up if you used some special tool to pull a score from some special data center? What am I missing here?

Just curious… I may be wrong, but this whole thing just smells like bait to me.

22 thoughts on “I Have PageRank Now! Is My Link Bait Working?

  1. No, it’s not bait. Yes, many of us can and still do see it, both on Google-provided toolbars, non-Google-provided toolbars, and within online PR checking tools that check by datacenter. Your particular toolbar is probably just pulling from one datacenter that has not yet updated.

  2. Thanks for the confirmation, Donna. It’s just weird – I’ve got seven computers with Mozilla and IE (Google’s toolbars), on 3 different networks. They are ALL showing the new PR updates today.

    But trying to see these penalties? Nada. Zip. Zilch… a couple sites dropped by one, but that happens all the time.
    The only one I could see was Andy Beard but that was like a month ago.

    Maybe they did something to try to cut the score of paid link sellers, and had an “oops.”

    When we used to watch PR, you’d often see weird numbers at off-brand data centers right before they pushed new data out. Since it looks like new data is being pushed out, I’m still not sure this is anything different.

  3. I’ve looked at that and a few others, Michael – I just haven’t managed to see any of the penalties in a real world Google toolbar. Nor had any of the half dozen folks who emailed me to ask what was going on.

    For a penalty, it sure looks like a half-assed effort. Did anyone lose actual traffic?

    When we used to watch PR, you’d often see weird numbers at off-brand data centers right before they pushed new data out. Since it looks like new data is being pushed out, I’m still not sure this is anything different.

  4. I have lost traffic and rankings on 1 website, from 400 from search engines daily to 15-20 daily. But not PR. Yes i do have nofollowed links to related sites but they are not paid.

  5. It depends on what you class as a penalty.

    Content seems to be ranking where it should be in general, but some content just isn’t making it into the index link it use to be, requiring a search using quotes to show up as per my most recent update.

    An example is actually my defamed by Google post, only showing for a quoted search, even though it has 30+ links and is more than 2 weeks old.

    It might be in the index based upon PR3 rather than PR5 (or whatever Google use internally)

  6. Andy,

    The ranking algo is all screwed atm, in exactly the way you describe, and it seems to be widespread. Aside from the fact that things are showing up only for quoted searches, many pages aren’t even getting indexed at all.

    My post on the Troll Defense… nowhere in the top 100 for the phrase [troll defense] (hardly what you would call a “high competition” phrase), no PR whatsoever (gray bar), and this despite the fact that it is 1 click from a PR3 page (the Digg submission on it) and 2 clicks from a PR5 page (lolcutts). None of my “archive” pages are indexed at all, and they are all 1 click from the lolcutts post. I have never even had a hint of possible link selling or paid reviews.

    I mean, if they did do this on purpose (which I am doubting more and more) then this must be one of the worse cases of a face-spiting nose-ectomy I have seen in a long time.

  7. DAN, i design in Frames. That is how i learned, and i know no other way. I keep reading how frames are bad. What can i do to remedy the situation without having to learn all over again a new program or have to re-design my entire site. Is there code i can just place in the html or meta data so search engines will index me. I have been indexed by google.

    Thanx Dan…you are great

  8. One of my sites went from PR4 to PR0 for 2 days and is now back to 3. This site doesn’t have any (incoming or outgoing) paid links, ads, reviews etc. Rankings didn’t change at all. Seems like a ‘Green Pixel Virus’ to me.

    I think this was just a warning or maybe it’s just a TBPR test, or maybe just a bug. At least it got marketeers something to talk about.

    Oh no, wait, nothing really changed traffic wise, so there’s actually nothing to talk about. ;) Maybe next month we will see some differences in rankings. Then there’s something to talk about.

  9. After all the hubbub, it looks like AndyBeard.eu is settling at PR5 with the latest update. Same as it was before. Maybe Google changed their mind. Maybe all the links generated by the hubbub boosted it.

    I’ll trade you an egg for a chicken any day.

  10. Andy’s site was nicked a few weeks ago. Doesn’t look like it was permanent, and it shouldn’t be – Andy does not sell PageRank.

  11. If my penalty is removed and Google end up doing another update in the next week or so, it will be interesting to see if the new links would change something… there were quite a few.. good ones :)

    But then I had good links before as well.

    Google seem to be working with data from around 10th or 12th October, as a few people have PageRank who switched domains around that time.

    Did you notice that both Matt and Adam has time to respond to that blog kicked out for hidden links mentioned on Techcrunch, yet all comments on this update are through unofficial channels?

  12. Andy, there’s probably no way that the links to you about the PR penalty would have arrived in time to influence the current update…

    I think there’s something funky going on @ Google WRT webmaster relations, period. But I’d hate to speculate about exactly what, or why.

  13. BTW, we have a pretty good confirmation that the green-pixel “penalties” everyone’s been all hyped up about relate to link selling:

    When I suggested this was likely to be the sole cause, I caught all kinds of flack for it. It turns out that some of the innocent victims only recently stopped selling paid links.

    Going down the list of self-identified victims, I still see a bunch of sites that either sold text links directly, promoted text link brokers as an affiliate, or sold ads to text link brokers.

    I’m glad to hear that the B5 sites aren’t selling links any more. Those are some very good sites, and they shouldn’t have to sell PageRank to survive.

    I’d be shocked if the revenue from Teaching Sells (bought it myself, and recommend it to all!) doesn’t vastly exceed anything they could earn by selling PR.

    Anyway… it’s funny how the obvious explanation ends up being right again. Occam’s Razor shaves another yak.

  14. They are not selling “advertising” on the sites you read ;)

    A rising tide lifts all boats.

    I still need to take a look at Teaching Sells, though it is Brian and Tony’s venture, not B5. Obviously membership sites can be far more lucrative than advertising on many of the authority blogs B5 run.

  15. So Andy, I was going to suggest they simply passed me your page rank as I bumped up by 2 this month . . . but I guess yours never really left.

  16. Actually after the flux, I ended up a PR4 which is certainly -1 and possibly -2. It doesn’t correspond with my level of index penetration and the overall quality of my link profile.

  17. No scratches on me Dan. Google my main term: treadmills

    Jeff (:

    P.S. I’ll be talking to you later this month. Apparently, StomerNET chose me to be a 10 hour case study.

    P.P.S. It looks like I am going to get some coaching out of you afterall. lol

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