What is Google up to? PR Penalty

by Gary on October 24, 2007 · 14 comments

in SEO

Just read that Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger blog and others have had their PR reduced even further.

A quick look and guess what Phoenirealm has dropped from PR5 to PR3, this is after a initial drop a few days ago.

What is Google up to?

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SEO Carly October 24, 2007 at 9:40 pm

Yeah there’s a 3 page thread on this over at DigitalPoint, as soon as i read sites that lost PR first time around were loosing it again… I came over to PhoenixRealm and sure enough.

But just to further reinforce my instinct all along that it has no relation to link selling like the inside sources suggested…

Engadget (from 7 to 5)
AutoBlog (from 6 to 4)
Problogger (from 6 to 4)
Copyblogger (from 6 to 4)
Search Engine Journal (from 7 to 4)
Quick Online Tips (from 6 to 3)
Search Engine Roundtable (from 7 to 4)
Blog Herald (from 6 to 4)
Weblog Tools Collection (from 6 to 4)
JohnTP (from 6 to 4)
Washington Post (from 7 to 5)
Forbes.com (from 7 to 5)
SFGate.com (from 7 to 5)
Sun Times (from 7 to 5)
New Scientist (from 7 to 5)
Seattle Times (from 6 to 4)

Some of these sites were selling links, but others were not. I’ve just seen far too many sites take a double PR drop and not only do they not sell links, they don’t have any paid link characteristics.

Also inner pages arn’t affected, so if it was to devalue link sales these sites still have high PR inner pages to sell links from.

SEO Carly October 26, 2007 at 7:55 pm

Ok we are getting confirmed Pagerank UPDATES on the following DC’s:

Phoenixrealm is showing a PR5 for the new export.

Gary October 27, 2007 at 11:55 am

Hi Carly, I see what you mean some DC’s are 3 and some 5.

Only problem is I am unsure which will be the old and which is the new.

Suck it and see I guess.

Marc Levy October 27, 2007 at 11:03 am

Yep… one of the sites I work on has been hit – also PR5 down to 3. This site does not, and has never sold links or advertised doing so, in fact this site does not even link out! Not even through advertising.

The penalty must be for links pointing in! Something out of our control! I know many people say in-links cannot count against you… but it looks as if they can.

Gary – if you get any updated news on this, or have any new theories of your own please post.

Gary October 27, 2007 at 11:42 am

Hi Marc, good to hear from you. I have a feeling you could be right and this could be down to inbound links, and probably ones that Google think may have been paid for in an attempt to artificially inflate PR. No doubt more will come out on this as the story continues to unfold. Cheers, Gary.

Marc Levy October 27, 2007 at 3:31 pm

Yes it most definitely does look like inbound links could be a factor, especially in regards to my site.

Just read some interesting new pieces on this Google PR adjustment, find here:


Seems some people have got their old PR back and some haven’t. Problogger also seems to think he has inside info from Google saying it was a crack down against link sellers – but who knows?!

SEO Carly October 27, 2007 at 10:36 pm

Well Phoenix definately got the raw end of the stick for some reason. The PR5 you had was on the newly updated DC’s, then somewhere in the process the PR3 got exported back to the new datacenters.

I actually changed my Windows HOSTS file when it started so the toolbar would pull the PR values from as i browsed.

Very buggy PR update, YouTube.com is a PR3 and i’ve got pages “only” linked from a single Gray PR page and they got a 2 and a 3.

I’ve also got sites i threw up on domains and forgot about and they went PR4 on homepage and all subpages despite having few links.

Alot of high PR sites dropped a PR point, despite any link selling.. So it seems they done a recalculation to make each level over a PR4 harder to obtain.

But PR3 for PhoenixRealm is definately wrong, a 5 or 6 is what it “should” be.

Gary October 28, 2007 at 2:54 pm

Yep, I think dropping me from 6 to 3 is a bit OTT.

SEO Carly October 31, 2007 at 5:27 am

Yes very, if you ask me it’s an error.

When you use the Yahoo inlinks, it displays “roughly” in order of pagerank. When i do a check of my domain, it shows Phoenix first followed by some other PR6 links, then the PR5s and so on which indicates to me this site should be a solid PR6 and not a PR3.

Same happened to me last update, i had a ton of PR4 subpages that had no backlinks besides internal yet my homepage was only PR3 which had a ton more backlinks.

Marc Levy October 31, 2007 at 5:58 am

Your Yahoo site explorer theory only works if you believe your Page Rank is solely based on inlinks. PR has never been just about inlinks, and Googles recent actions show that they are now taking even more into account when deciding your rank.

I still think Gary’s hit from a 6 to a 3 is OTT, especially when sites such as Pro Blogger.net got theirs back after a few days. Just shows… Google maybe tried to scare the big guns by giving them a warning for a few days, but didn’t want to annoy them too much! Sure enough the small fry seem to have been left down below….

SEO Carly October 31, 2007 at 9:01 am

What else do you believe Pagerank is based on?

Also as i said, the Yahoo inlinks are ordered “roughly” on Pagerank.. Not precicely as they are completely different companies.

Do a check of several domains, and note the order.

SEO Carly November 18, 2007 at 2:44 pm

That’s what i was going to say, Gary have you thought about rewriting the SEO Book affiliate links through an internal rewrite so they look like internal links?

Also the Million Dollar Wiki seems to of taken a bit of a hit, it doesn’t rank for “Million Dollar Wiki” so i’m not sure i’d link to it from a site i put alot of time in to.

Khayte January 27, 2008 at 8:29 am

Gawd, mine had gone to N/A too, I hate the fact that they have to reduce our PR’s just because we monetize our blogs. What’s the catch anyway? They do the same thing, too I guess on their ‘other’ websites perhaps. Damnn, it makes me go all crazy. –,

Marc Levy October 31, 2007 at 10:05 am

Well firstly many tests have shown PR was never solely based on inlinks as many sites (with hardly any inlinks at all) have had PR. I had a site rank PR4 with one inlink from a PR1 site.

Now onto the recent developments… I clearly believe Google are now paying more attention to out-links and also paid linking, buying and selling. If your caught doing it you may get slapped!

PR is definitely all about linking, but not only inlinks. IMHO