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Page Rank getting Stricter?
Anyone Else?

 5:17 am on Nov 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

This past update we can noticed a great decrease in the Page Rank or our main site, as well as some of our Clients websites. Last month we had 306 good inbound links - this month we are up to 478, still good quality links. However our rank went from a 6 last month to a 5 this month.

I thought about a penalty, but then we began looking deeper into this. Our secondary site has maintained a Page Rank of 5 for about 8 months now - no changes at all in backwards links, and this too dropped a point to a 4.

We also see some competetors that have held 6's for a while, now have 5's. Yet I still come across the site that will have a Page Rank of 6 with only 60-70 inbound links - not even from "great" ranking sites!

Our position is about the same - but does anyone else notice that page rank is getting stricter? Has anyone else seen a decrease for no apparent reason?

As always - wishing you all the best!



 10:54 pm on Nov 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

We dropped from a 6, which we have had for as long as i have had the toolbar, about 6 months, we now dropped down to 5. Many other sites are dropping aswell, yes we are listed in dmoz, maybe there is a link.

This has been discussed in another thread, where at least one member pointed out that (1) PageRank is determined by a mathematical formula, and (2) as the number of indexed pages increases in Google, PageRank will be distributed across a greater number of sites (which means less PageRank for a site with an existing set of inbound links).

Mind you, I'm not a mathematician, so I'll take the experts' word for it. :-)

Google may well be tweaking its algorithm to increase relevancy or filter out spam results, but that has nothing to do with PageRank.

As for whether Google is "up to something," I wouldn't equate fighting spam or increasing search relevancy with trying to boost AdWord revenues. I strongly believe that Google is like any other well-run media operation: It maintains a wall between its editorial (in this case, search) and advertising, and its owners aren't foolish enough to abandon their "unique selling proposition" (search quality) for short-term gains that would compromise Google's credibility and success over the long haul.


 11:11 pm on Nov 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

First the good news:

From September to October update my site got triple backlinks showing in link: search, including a Yahoo listing and 3 cats in Zeal.

My SERPs moved up to the top and clickthroughs more than doubled.

I was 12th of 15 in Google Directory cat and moved to 7th place still keeping the PR6 I had since several months.

Now for the bad news:

PR of same site dropped from 6 to 5 for home page at Google Bar and 5 to 4 for other pages. One even dropped to PRO.
Same happened to all other sites listed below mine but they also kept PR6 at Google Directory.

What is my site's PR? The PR6 of the directory or the PR5 of the Google Bar. Can GoogleGuy or anybody explain?



 12:10 am on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

I believe the post by Dante_Maure in msg#17 holds the answers to many of the questions on this thread. Below I discuss why I think this is so.

As more pages are added to the index, the pages with the highest PageRank will typically gain more PageRank (i.e. the highest PageRank page with 100 pages in the index is much less than the highest PageRank page with 2 billion pages in the index). This probably causes Google to re scale the Toolbar PR values displayed from time to time (without affecting actual PageRank). Also, from time to time, Google may change the minimum amount of PageRank required to for a page to show up when you search Google for backwards links.

I believe that Google uses the actual PageRank (not toolbar PR) and the total number of backwards links (not what is reported in the link: command) when determining the SERPs. I think they purposely don’t want us to know everything.


 2:14 am on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

As I started this topic, I didnt quite realize the extent that some sites have varied in their ranks..

For example: Our site this update is up 128 relevant backlinks, for a total of 450+ and dropped from a PR6 to a PR5.

A 4 month old Client site that we just began marketing is up 4 relevant backlinks (not from very high ranking sites), for a total of 16 backlinks and went from a PR3 to a PR5.

Sometimes I just dont get it!


 5:58 am on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

Right Jady! One 3-month old Client site I designed is up to PR5 for every single of its 62 pages! And has no serious backlinks yet! Ranks top 5 in almost all relevant keywords!

What puzzles me however is why PR6 in directory and PR5 in Google bar (as I described earlier).


 6:36 am on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

”What puzzles me however is why PR6 in directory and PR5 in Google bar (as I described earlier).” – promis

promis, here is a useful thread that discusses the toolbar PR and the directory PR


However, it doesn’t really explain the numbers you are seeing (maybe that is why you were puzzled but I thought I would give the link just in case). The only thing I can think of is that maybe the toolbar scale has been updated and the directory has not been updated yet. Also, maybe one is older information than the other.

Hope this helps a little.:)


 7:15 am on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

Okay Europeforvisitors, you have some good points, that would be very stupid of a company as google, which is after all the most popular se online, and not without reason.

We have, according to google, 492 backlinks to our site (8000 according to fast) and dropped from a 6 to a 5... we have also reorganized our site but google have not performed a deep crawl of our new hierachy yet, anyone know how long it may take? (they have crawled our mainpage since this)


 8:38 am on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

For all of you reporting a drop in PR, have you checked the new PR of the incoming link with the highest PR to your site? Has it also seen a drop? Also, whether your PR is more dependant on a good link from dmoz?


 8:41 am on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

As most are seeing no adverse changes in serps because of the drop in PR, its clear that a recalculation for PR has been done.
And if this is because of some suggestions here of Google adding many many more pages in its index, we can expect some major increase in the "Searching 2,469,940,685 web pages" listed number of indexed pages by Google.


 9:48 am on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

gmoney thanks a million! The thread you gave me has shed light! Will be doing my calculations soon!


 10:37 am on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

For all of you reporting a drop in PR, have you checked the new PR of the incoming link with the highest PR to your site? Has it also seen a drop?

Yes web_india the link with the highest PR to our different sites has also seen a drop in PR. I suppose that explains it all! :(


 3:25 pm on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

Tor :

Was that incoming link from dmoz or some other site?


 4:00 pm on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

So what if pr changes? The only thing - the ONLY thing that matters is referrals. Did they increase or did they drop?

I've watched pr's float up and down a great deal this year and not one time have referrals gone down.


 4:19 pm on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

PR matters for the build of a network where you may wish to boost new sites with your previously established sites.

it still seems easier to boost a new site with a link from a low referral and high page rank site, than it is to boost a site with a link from a high referral, but low pagerank site.


 5:08 pm on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

Correct Brett - PR is only a number - but what gets confusing on our end is how some of our competetors maintained their PR of 6 by means of "junky" link-backs, when we have only good quality - relevant link-backs totaling more that they have.

For example, this 1 point drop in PR only dropped our site from position 3 to 4 for our target KW's. We got beat out by the site that I referenced above. Our traffic is still about the same, it is just frustrating to know that a site with a small link farm is rating higher than ours.

I think this discussion is more about folks trying to figure things out to protect themselves. It is always hard when there are no set guidelines. Trust me, I could care less if we have a PR 7 or PR 3 - what matters is position and traffic...and of course how many times the phone rings... :)


 7:23 pm on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

Apparently PR has not dropped for everyone, ours jumped to PR7:). This happened before and with the next update it dropped back to PR6. Now it is back but I will not hold my breath hoping it stays at 7.


 8:15 pm on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

I noticed a big drop in backlinks.

Another interesting result was a decrease in "trickle down" page rank. My front page PR stayed the same, but dropped on lower directory pages under the same url. This was consistent for several sites.

I did manage to get some PR back on a previously banned site. The remedy - correcting the previous bad SEO, and getting some links from like-minded sites who appreciated the new content. Overall it took 10 weeks to get back in. Still not showing for obvious keywords though. Maybe next update - not worried about this site anyway. having heard some other horror stories about being de-listed for months and months, I thought it didn't take too long.


 10:36 pm on Nov 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

We finally made PR6 after the last update but even though we gained more backlinks (several PR5's) this time, we have droped back to PR5. My own thoughts are that as long as all our pages are in Google we don't really care that much for PR.


 2:54 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Anybody have any idea why my site would have suddenly gone from PR5 to PR0? I hadn't changed anything from last month. Could I have been penalized for some unknown reason?


 4:09 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

If you went from PR5 to PR0 without changing anything, it sounds like you got caught in this months "bad neighborhood" filter. They take all those lovely spam reports we send in, create a new spam filter, and unfortunately some good sites get taken out too.


 4:28 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi jholman and welcome to WebmasterWorld.

NOTE: Penalties rarely occur for "some unknown reason".

If the site is the one in your profile (off the email address) I would say you have received a penalty. This isn't a certainty, but a very good bet.

Although not banned from Google, you show no backlinks, and a quick investigation at other search engines (MSN -151, Hotbot - 300, etc.)revealed that you have a large number of non-relevant backlinks (hotels, limos, etc.) many of which have PR4 and above (so they should show in Google as backlinks as well).

I suspect (a possibility) - that someone may have reported this to google, possibly a competitor and a closer look caused a PR0.

Another possibility is that Google can now identify themes between links and depreciates the value of non-theme links. This also could be an explanation why so many other sites are down in PR and backlinks, but as the bulk of your are "non-themed" a PR0 would be warranted.

Again, neither is a certainty, and either way (or from some other cause) you will need to investigate further.

I recommend first to attempt a DMOZ.org listing since you appear not to have one, and finding out how these existing links might affect Google results.

Any ideas as to "how you received so many non-relevant links" -- maybe a previously owned domain, or a not so knowledgeable SEO'er?

Clearly you need to either do some dedicated research yourself or hiring a professional to help.


 7:48 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

THAT'S IT! Google - Searching 3,083,324,652 web pages. A half billion new pages.

This changes Google knowledge of its "known World Wide Web" by 1/6th of its previous self...

And a profound impact on current PageRank, which further reduces backlinks (many of those PR4 backlinks, are now PR3 and out of the Google scope).

IMHO Google has not, did not adjust the PageRank threshold. PageRank before the last update isn't what it's worth today.

Also, in many, many cases SERP's did not change which further supports this archive increase, noting that most new indexed pages are not likely optimized, falling somewhere below the top 30.

The few that have seen SERP decreases are now competing with a few more competitive pages.

[edited by: fathom at 7:49 am (utc) on Nov. 6, 2002]


 7:48 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I mentioned in msg#69, to expect the "Searching 2,469,940,685 web pages" number to change. Well, its now "Searching 3,083,324,652 web pages"


Does it mean anything now for the drop in PR?


 7:49 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Seems like you noticed it too :)


 7:55 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

A split second ahead of you web_india! :)

And a longing post too, I win a Google Cookie! :)

<Added>sorry -- "longer"</added>

[edited by: fathom at 8:27 am (utc) on Nov. 6, 2002]


 7:57 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

And a longing post too, I win a Google Cookie!

Sure, you do :)


 1:09 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks Yankee and Fathom. I was a member of those "automated links" programs for about a month before finding out that Google hates those so that's where those non-relevant links must be coming from. Guess it's catching up with me now...(sigh) Do I just have to wait it out now?


 11:44 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

fathom - yes I did notice that they pulled a lot of pages in a /cgi-bin folder on the server that the bot never used to pull...


 3:43 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

I was a member of those "automated links" programs for about a month before finding out that Google hates those

Bingo. Participating in in link farms is the fast track to PageRank Purgatory.

(sigh) Do I just have to wait it out now?

Nope. See this thread...

Recovering From PR0 [webmasterworld.com]

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