Google’s PageRank: A Double Edged Sword

SMS Text

Last week when I first noticed PageRank values changing and propagating out to tool bars, I made it a point to tell some others who may be interested. In the process, I got a great comment from Vanessa Fox that I’d like to share here…

“Why should I be so bitter about a mythical made up meaningless number?”

All kidding aside, Vanessa’s comment is absolutely on point with how many feel on the issue.

Being involved in the search marketing industry automatically subscribes you to caring about PageRank. From building and retaining PageRank, we obsess – despite the fact that we know it is completely irrelevant to rankings and results.

Even worse is that PageRank only serves as a currency exchanged between site owners and link brokers who intend to game the system. Google warned us all, and now marketers are dealing with the repercussions of ignoring the message handed down.

Even among the most popular and reputable sites — this most recent update saw PageRank values drop. In turn, the changes caused site owners to become more concerned and irate with the system… and that process is still ongoing.

The trouble is that there is an element of reputation involved. We like to stand by our sites with a big old grin as high numbers show along tool bars filled with green.

When things like PageRank are cut in half though, we immediately wish the worst upon Google. In many cases too, those thoughts are justified.

Kim Krause Berg is one of the many wonderful people I met at SMX Social in New York, and she had more to offer on how her site (www.cre8pc.com) was impacted:

I refuse to be bullied and that’s why I’m pulling Google AdSense from the forums. We never bought links (or ad space) from anywhere… …Google punishes web site owners and while I can see it for obvious spam and forced rank in SERPS, I don’t see why they fly around on their broom as they do.

While I hope that I have preserved enough of the context of the above conversation — I think the point made is clear. Site owners and webmasters are now so irate at Google’s treatment and changing of PageRank values, that it is bleeding through in other areas.

The title of this article of course is a cliche… So let’s finish off on the same note in an effort to send a small message to Google. “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you” comes to mind… While we are all highly opinionated, and often times controversial — we as search marketers often fuel the growth of Google dependency among those interested in search marketing.

As such, if Google’s efforts to police things algorithmically backfire and cause alarm to those in the industry — watch out.

Subscribe to SEJ!
Get our weekly newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!