Google PageRank drop affecting sites all across the board

The Search Marketing blogosphere is abuzz with all kinds of theories and assumptions as to why that little green Google PR bar has suddenly dropped overnight - in most cases not just by a factor of one, but even by two or three.

However, this is not the first glitch with the PageRank metric this month.

Two weeks ago, many web masters, search engine optimisers and online marketers noticed their coveted PageRank slip.

Professional Search Marketing Guru’s have long proclaimed that the PageRank values shown in the Google Toolbar and other browser add-ons or online tools, were not up to date anyway, and are at least a few months old to begin with.

 So why all the fuss about a little green bar?

What is PageRank?

Google created a metric called PageRank (PR), that not only takes into account how many votes or links are pointing to a particular page, but they also factor in trust and authority values, in order to determine which page is most relevant for particular search terms.

This metric is simply part of Google’s ranking criteria, which helps determine how to position pages in their search results.

However, it is not necessarily the page with the highest PR that will also rank the highest in the search engine results.

So, should organisations worry about these PageRank drops? Will it seriously affect your website traffic?

It may if you have a lot of referral links (paid for or not). But it will not necessarily have a negative effect on your search rankings.

However, that did not prevent the clever online marketing boys from deciding PR = $$$

For some years now, selling links has been big business.  From respected news site’s with a homepage PageRank of 8, to a successful personal blog, it just seemed like common sense and innocent to monetize on all that hard work. With every link these pages would sell, a tiny bit of their PR value would be passed on.

But of course, other, less scrupulous marketers took the opportunity to grow a whole industry of useless link farms, dodgy backlinking strategies and blog linking rings.

The latter have diluted the relevance of Google’s precious search results, and and Google has clearly had enough. But sorting the innocent link sellers from the unscrupulous PageRank gamers doesn’t seem to be one of Google’s strong points. They suggested site owners add a “nofollow” attribute to their paid links, however, this has not been well received in the online community.

Ok... I am going to take a big leap here… This is my personal take on the PageRank debacle:

- Bare in mind that Google has been willing to share their PageRank data to begin with.

- Considering PageRank is so strongly integrated with their search ranking algorithm, and Google have depended on it  for a years now to evaluate pages, they can’t simply get rid of it… because it is being abused by a number of unscrupulous marketers.

- So, what would be the easiest step to can take in order to counter these PageRank gamers?
Simply stop showing that little green PageRank bar! Or perhaps, phase it out... Or perhaps only make it available to people who have a Google Web Master Central account?

- Google giveth, and Google taketh!  So, don’t put all your eggs I one basket. Don’t get hung up over PageRank… It is merely one of many, many quality and relevance factors Google uses to evaluate a page. That little PageRank bar is the stale green colour of mold as in OLD. Ignore it, and continue pushing out valuable, useful content, to satisfy the searchers intent, your audience, your people.

- You want to monetize your site or blog?  Sell your quality content, put up relevant paid ads… and sell links if you want. Just make sure they are relevant to your content. If you really want to play along with Google, add their nofollow attribute.

It’s up to you… It’s your site after all.