Paid text link ads can cause lower PageRank
October 30, 2007
It’s now confirmed. The Google PageRank (PR) update on October 25 that downgraded the PRs of hundreds of sites and blogs was Google’s way of saying it is serious in the campaign against buying and selling advertising links.
This was confirmed by Google employee and popular blogger Matt Cutts himself in an email sent to Search Engine Journal. The gist of the email:
The partial update to visible PageRank that went out a few days ago was primarily regarding PageRank selling and the forward links of sites. So paid links that pass PageRank would affect our opinion of a site.
Going forward, I expect that Google will be looking at additional sites that appear to be buying or selling PageRank.
Google has, for several months now, reiterated its aversion against the growing trend of paid text links in websites. Although Google’s Webmasters’ Guidelines has long advised site owners not to “participate in link schemes designed to increase your siteâ€™s ranking or PageRank,” the recent PR downgrade was one of Google’s first clear moves to curb this trend.
Some sites incorrectly penalized
Interestingly, however, a few websites that have not participated or have stopped participating in buying and selling of links were also penalized. Google initially slapped these websites with a PR penalty but revoked it after confirming that the sites are not (anymore) involved in paid links.
These sites include Darren Rowse’s www.problogger.net whose PR dropped from 6 to 4 but is now back to 6; Technology blog www.engadget.com which saw its PR swing from 7 to 5 and now to 7 again; and Philippine news site www.inquirer.net whose PR fell from 6 to 4 and now back to 6.
Other sites that were penalized but reportedly not involved in paid text links are still waiting for their PRs to be reinstated.
Several Philippine sites also slapped with PR penalty
Our article Google PageRank downgrade and the curse of the 666 listed several local websites that were penalized with the PageRank reduction. The most recent PR update (done during the weekend), however, showed that some of these sites have already gained back a few PR scores.
The table below lists the PRs of some local sites before and after the downgrade, and after this week’s new PageRank update.
|Website||Original PR||PR as of Oct. 25||PR as of Nov. 8|
Our site, www.pinoymoneytalk.com, gained back PR after removing links inviting advertisers to purchase text ads. Whether our PR will revert to 4, however, still remains to be seen.
Google seems to have rectified its mistake of penalizing Inquirer.net which does not sell links. The news site’s PageRank has now been reinstated to 6.
Live PR check for the ManilaTimes.net website, on the other hand, shows a PageRank of 4, down from PR 6. We believe the downgrade was due to the fact that ManilaTimes.net continues to host paid links on the left-side portion of the site (see screenshot).