It’s over a month since the first reported signs that something was going on with the Google PageRank metric and it is still dominating a lot websites and blogs. The reaction to Google’s reduction of Toolbar PageRank (TBPR) is wide spread and, generally, vitriolic towards the Big G. Many bloggers and webmasters feel that they have been unjustly treated with this visible reduction of website libido and want to know the reasons why.
Up until this point, the official response from Big G has been..ermm..nothing. However, as many of you will already know, the chief of the Link Selling Police Department (LSPD), Officer Cutts, publishes his own blog which expresses views which are his alone, so help him God and he has suggested that you “Don�t mix your blackhat networks with your whitehat sites“.
Thanks, Matt. Glad you shared that with us.
After the public bun fight with Aaron Wall, I would have thought this was the perfect opportunity for Matt to push his disclaimer to one side and state the truth behind the matter. Sadly he doesn’t. Instead the 200+ comments on his blog post seem to suggest that the majority of people are unhappy that
- their PR has been zapped
- no official explanation has been forthcoming
- they feel victimised by the whole affair
Once again, the Google FUD seems to be in full effect. With no official response to the latest PR cull, the FUD factor rolls on and more and more people cow down to Google. Vlad the Affiliate, who I had previously held in high esteem for blocking the Googlebot from indexing his site, has caved in according to his latest update:
This experiment is over. Google is back crawling my website. Google wins.
How long before someone as vocal as Snoskred decides that the lure of Google is too great to continue her current path? I don’t necessarily agree with her latest post that Google are the new terrorist but I admire her balls. Figuratively speaking.
I said a while back that I will continue to use Google while they’re #1 on the block. I’m kinda changing my mind. This is partly due to the reasons I explained in my comment over at Matt Cutts’ blog:
One of the problems I think that a lot of people have is the perception of TBPR. That won’t go away until Google reword their public definitions:
“PageRank continues to play a central role in many of our web search tools” (taken from this page)
“Wondering whether a new website is worth your time? Use the Toolbar’s PageRank� display to tell you how Google assesses the importance of the page you’re viewing.” (taken from this page)
I had a number of my client sites who got a slap of between 1-2 points in the latest updates. None of them have ever indulged in paid links, dubious linking policies or any black hat methods. Their only guilt appears to have been appearing in my Webmaster Tools account. Call it guilt by association if you like because I am unclean. I used TLA as opposed to AdSense on a couple of my sites. Stone me now before I say it again…I’ll only make it worse for myself…
Having spent the last year or two working with these people, I was extolling the virtues of Google (as I have for nearly ten years) and explaining how TBPR was an indication of quality as far as Google were concerned. Call it the web based equivalent of a Michelin star if you like. So you can imagine my discomfort in having to explain to my clients why they were no longer a 4 star website but a 3 star one or, even worse, a 2 star one.
Now I fully understand that if a site linking in to one of mine has been zapped that this will have a knock on effect but, come on, have 30+ client sites really been linking out to or receiving links exclusively from spammers or black hat SEOs? Please. Credit me with some intelligence here.
Apart from all appearing in my Webmaster Tools account, the only other thing they had in common was a link back to my design site. A link that didn’t use a link condom. A site which, incidentally, is equally squeaky clean. Could that be the reason why? Hell if that’s the case then we’re all screwed and so is the fundamental idea behind PageRank.
Are all of the links back to your website in your templates no-followed? What about the pages in your “List of SEO Firms”?
Whatever happened to no-follow being used to stop blog spam? Has it now got to the point where we have to no-follow every single link just in case?
Up until comparatively recently I was still a big fan of Google. I championed them back in the 20th Century, dammit! However this, along with a number of other initiatives, has left a very nasty taste in my mouth. I genuinely do not believe that the current campaign has anything to do with SERPs relevancy. It’s all to do with protecting their cash cow. I also believe that algorithms have played little or no part in the implementation.
Doug, I’m directing this comment at you purely because you’re one of the most vocal supporters of Google in this discussion. If anyone else wants to chip in then feel free but, as you keep asking for examples, I’ll happily drop you an email with specific sites that got slapped by 1-2 points which I can categorically state did not, have not nor would they ever indulge in any shady practices. Matt those goes for you too but I’m guessing you have more pressing issues such as stock prices to deal with 😉
For those who have not been following the discussion, Doug appears to be a pro-Google kinda guy and I’m not calling out either Doug or Matt in this post but I am seriously questioning the motives, application and methodology behind this move. In fact, nuts to it, I’m gonna no-follow the link to Doug’s site just because I can.
Because that’s what Google are implying we do.
The sites I mentioned in my response above are guilty of nothing other than linking back to my website design company. They’ve never been involved in any kind of shady practice so why drop them by 1-2 PR points? Why drop their Michelin stars?
It seems to be guilt by association and nothing else. Why are Google attacking the lifeblood of their multi billion dollar industry? Are they really attacking folks like me who were once staunch supporters?
I have no answers to this and, sadly, it appears that Google don’t either, but the fact remains that until they come out with an all encompassing response that the webmaster and blogging community will continue to stir things up and the G brand will continue to be dragged through the mud as a direct result.
P.S. I can’t claim any kind of credit for the title of this post. It comes from the film ‘Carry On Cleo’. I would include an Amazon link but I’m too shit scared that Big G will penalise me…