Google PageRank Update Analysis

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Google PageRank Update Analysis

For those of you not yet aware, Google is currently updating the PageRank they are displaying in their toolbar. Each update causes a stir among the SEO community and webmasters trying to get their websites to the top of the Google Rankings.

What Is PageRank? Without getting into too much detail, PageRank is essentially a score out of ten as to the “value” of your site in comparison to other websites on the Internet. It is based on two primary factors; the number of links you have pointing to your website and the value of the links pointing to your website. The value is calculated based on the PageRank of the page linking to you and debatably the relevancy of the page linking to you (there is no hard evidence to back up the relevancy factor in regards to PageRank that I have seen however it definitely is a factor in your overall ranking).

If you are interested in more information on PageRank you would do well to visit the many forums and articles on the topic and also visit Google’s own description on their website at where they give a brief description of the technology.

What’s New?

The most current PageRank update will undoubtedly cause a larger stir than usual in that many sites have shown drops in their visible PageRank while at the same time showing significant increases in their backlinks. This fact reveals that one of three things has occurred in this latest update:

1. Google has raised the bar on PageRank, making it more difficult to attain a high level, or

2. The way they are displaying their backlinks has changed, or

3. The way they calculate the value of an incoming link has changed.

Any of these are possible and has been noted in the past as something they are willing to do. Additionally, it is possible for all to occur at the same time.

As we don’t like to use client’s as examples I will use the Beanstalk site, backlink counts, and PageRank changes as the meter by which the following conclusions are drawn, however this information was attained through looking at a number of client website, and their competitors.

Google Raising The Bar To Lower Yours

In the past few PageRank updates it has become quite apparent that Google is continuously raising the bar on PageRank. In their defense, with all of the reciprocal link building, link renting, etc. going on this was a natural reaction to the growing number high PageRank sites that attained those ranks simply by building or buying hundreds and thousands of links.

There is no doubt that this is a factor in the changes in this current update. If your site has maintained it’s PageRank, and the PageRanks of your second-level pages then you have done well in holding steady and if your competitors have not been as diligent their positions will slip.

New Backlink Calculations

I mention this one only to bring to light that it is a possibility for your future consideration during other updates. The Beanstalk website went from 750 shown backlinks on Google to 864. it should be noted that Google does not show all backlinks (if you want a more accurate backlink count go to Yahoo! and enter “link:” (don’t forget the http://)).

When the Beanstalk site showed 750 backlinks on Google we were showing around 12,000 on Yahoo! (about 6.5% showing on Google). The Beanstalk site is now showing 864 on Google and 15,500 on Yahoo! (about 5.6%). If anything then, Google is showing less links than before which negates the possibility that a website’s PageRank is dropping due to a decrease in links but being hidden by an increased number being displayed.

In short, while which backlinks Google chooses to display has certainly changed over time it does not appear to be a major factor in this update. If you see an increase in your sites backlink counts during this update you undoubtedly have an increased number of links.

The Value Of Links

Separate from the number of links you have is their value. This appears to be an area of significant change in this update. Areas that appear to have reduced value in regards to affecting PageRank are:

1. Multiple links from the same site or run-of-site links

Intelligent and relevant reciprocal links do not seem to have been penalized, probably due to the increased relevancy factor. If you reduce the value of irrelevant links and raise the value of relevant ones then there is no need to penalize reciprocal links as, done incorrectly, they will penalize themselves.

2. Links with text around them that indicate they are purchased such as “Partners”, “Advertising”, etc.

Google has and is actively trying to reduce the value of paid links. This appears to have been moderately successful where there is clear indication that the link is paid for.

3. Links from sites that hold little relevancy (this factor is based on educated speculation)

The relevancy factor appears to have become more important. Links from sites with content related to yours is showing positive results while sites with larger numbers of less relevant links are showing drops in PageRank.

What Does This Mean?

For those of you who have been proactive in your link building, and focused on relevant sites using the Google Directory, searches or a tool like PR Prowler it means, “stay the course”. Those of you who have been building or buying links based only on PageRank with little concern for it’s location, or how it is presented – you will need to adjust your link building efforts accordingly.

What Do I Do – My PageRank Dropped ?!!?

The first thing not to do is panic. Take a deep breath, PageRank is one factor of dozens that Google uses to determine the ranking of your page, it is not the only thing. Now, visit your main competitors sites – there’s a good chance you’ll see that they too dropped in PageRank. The plus side to these kinds of updates is that they’re universal. It’s not as if Google has it in for you specifically and so when they do an update, the positive and negative impact is felt by all.

Now, if you’ve noticed that everyone around you has stayed the same or increased in PageRank try to remember this, there’s nothing you can do about where you’re currently positioned in regards to PageRank and it will probably be another 3 months before Google updates the public PageRank again so … start building some good quality (high relevancy, solid PageRank) links, work towards and increase in the next update.

Panicking now won’t help, intelligent reaction will.

What Happens Now?

Traditionally the search engine results will begin to fluctuate based on the new visible PageRank 3 to 7 days after they are visible. This does not have to be the case as Google’s had these numbers all along but it’s worked this way in the majority of cases in recent history. So monitor your search engine positions over the next week or two and watch for changes. Try to hold back on making major changes to your site during this time as often the final positions will differ from those that can be viewed during the shuffling. In a couple weeks time evaluate where you stand and tweak your site as necessary but don’t spend too much time on that … you have a solid link building effort to undertake.

Guest Columnist Dave Davies is the CEO of Beanstalk Search Engine Positioning. He has been optimizing and ranking websites for over four years and has a solid history of success. Beanstalk is happy to offer guaranteed SEO services to its clients.

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • It is a little late for a comment on this article, but I would be interested to read about the timing between Google Page Rank updates. Are they regular or just when the feel like it?

  • empereur

    A friend have a site work under xoops, Rael Elohim
    and i believe have probleme for referencing the dynamique page php, is it possible ?

  • The question is do realy matter what pr you have anymore, I have seen pages with pr0 get more traffic then site that has pr8.. I personaly think pr is dead.

  • empereur

    A friend have a site work under xoops, Rael Elohim
    and i believe have probleme for referencing the dynamique page php, is it possible ?

  • I wounder how long it takes to next 2006 google update. It’s been 117 days since the last one? My website: http://www.spetsnaztraining is still pr0

  • PageRank Update Taking Place Now!

    Bst Rgrds,

  • Hi
    All pageranks are set to zero. Maybe google is updating at the moment.

  • I have analysed that Google is updating the page rank right now. Some of my new sites have got page rank today only. One of my site has got page rank of 3.

  • Pingback: Deep Jive Interests » Why I Still Have A PageRank of Zero()

  • When is the next PR update ?

  • And Still Waiting…..

    Hi all
    is it the most boring thing on earth, waiting for google to do “something” with there pagerank updates?

    after 3 months + plus of hard work,
    i have built over 25000 links in and i still dont know what all my effort is worth,

    I have seen sites with 1-2 links in and no content with P/R 6,, six,,,,It is beyond me, and i guess beyond PageRank,

    if any other company left me in the dark as long as google do and have, i would shop elsewhere in a heart beat.

    google are good,, just ask them.

    Kindest Regards

  • Well, I got nothing out of the latest update. Although, judging by digitalpoint, I think google screwed up slightly. I have been predicted PR4 and PR3 websites, but I am still on 1.
    Maybe the effects for pagerank change might occur a little later on…

  • Pingback: Pagerank - Yeni uygulamalar zerine bir yaz ekledim - Webmaster Forum()

  • super nice site yhank

  • hi, that’s really iinformative. but i am still not very clear that after such long & hard work does we get any benifit of google page rank. to me it seems crap to put so much energy just to get good pagerank.

    any one would like to through light on that

    thanks in advance

  • Pingback: Being in the Moment | Personal Development | Jamie McIntyre | Wealth Creation | Buzzing with Ange()

  • When is the next PR update ?

  • I hope they don’t penalize payperpost again.

  • My PR4 is now a PR0.

  • nice site mp3

  • mp3

  • Buying expired domains with decent PR, does anyone have experience or success doing so?

  • any news on pr update for 2008?

  • My blog’s page rank at drops to zero after i join payperpost…how to overcome this?

  • it’s pr8 now

  • when will the next pr update be. any ideas?

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  • Indian Tourism Information -provides information on tours to india, offering tour packages to north & south India, Rajasthan, Taj Mahal India.

  • I hear July will be the next one.

  • It’s been now a while since nothing happened. The last pr update I experienced was back in May. Two of my web site fall back one point. I wish the Google Page Rank would update on a regular basis and someone would clearly explain what level of importance does it play in the SERPS.

  • nice site mp3

  • when will the next pr update be. any ideas?

  • Yes, when is the next update due???

  • This has been really helpful. I now feel like I understand PR! Thanks!

  • very nice article, really explains well what you need to know about pr. never heard of PR prowl will def look it up

  • How often is Pagerank usually updated?

  • Google’s PR can be tricky!

  • thansk fantastic..

  • Excellent post, thank you for sharing

  • Great Post, what is the update?

  • Been on 3 for a while now with constant links going into the site – how long does it take to get from 3-4, another 500+links?

  • all 3 month

  • yenimoda
  • yenimoda