The latest Google pagerank update is dropping pageranks of top sites across the blogosphere and we were badly hit too as our pagerank too has dropped from PR6 to PR3! Forums are abuzz about this widespread Google penalization…
Several sites are reporting that several top sites have had their pageranks reduced. There is increasing evidence suggesting that Google is striking blogs selling paid text links. Selling links is a popular source of advertising revenue for bloggers and lots of services have evolved around this business.
Has Google Penalized Our Site?
Our site has been PR6 (some pages PR7) for over a year and now it is showing PR3. We used to run Text Link Ads earlier, which were clearly mentioned as Sponsors (paid links) and no other form of paid text links or hidden (non disclosed) links were used on our site ever. Such links were only accepted in a related niche after checking that the sites were authentic with good content.
But after the buzz began that Google has started reporting paid links and sites were getting penalized, and TLA was not willing to make paid links Google friendly, we removed all the TLA links from our site by August end in support of Google webmaster policies. Though we sacrificed around $400 per month of income, it seemed the logical thing to do. You need Google to get traffic. In addition Google powers Google Adsense, which a more important source of revenue.
So there are no TLA ads since about 2 months now. A notable feature has been that the Google search traffic has stayed same (at least as till now), and it is a visible decrease in the Google toolbar PR to demotivate advertisers to who buy links based on pagerank basis (thats what I hope it is all about!).
Google Says No Paid text links
Google has sent the message across loud and clear to all text link seller and buyers that they will not let paid text links influence their pagerank algorithms. As people were unwilling to remove paid text links – its your site, its their search engine – both do whatever they like. This surely will decrease the ability of sites that sell text links and use pagerank as a guide.
Why penalize top blogs?
Ban a top blog and it is bound to generate the most buzz. A top blogger can spread the word faster and alter the trend on hundreds of smaller blogs in the niche. I already see paid text links disappearing from lots of popular blogs, and many smaller blogs are quickly following lest they too get penalized. Blocking hundreds of small blogs will not have the same effect as penalizing one single popular blog.
The bottomline is that no webmaster can ignore Google. Its your choice if you want to run paid text links on your site against Google wishes. Robin Good points out what you need to know about selling Text Links Ads and Google Penalization.
May Google be Fair
What I hope is that they will restore the pagerank of such sites once it is clear that they no longer have paid text links onsite and are compliant with Google guidelines.
You can file a reconsideration request at Google webmaster tools after you’ve made changes to your site so that it adheres to the guidelines. Have you noticed a dropping pagerank? Use Live Pagerank to find out.
Update: TechCruch says that Blog Networks with link farms seem most affected.
Update 12 Nov 07: Google has fixed our pagerank back to PR6. Thank you Google.