Interesting report. I've also heard the same about some directory sites, where a first level "index" page goes PR0, even though all the internal pages in that folder keep their PR.
Are you seeing any ranking changes, or just the toolbar PR change?
> Are you seeing any ranking changes, or just the toolbar PR change?
I am seeing ranking changes as well.
Those pages ranked for no "high value" phrases, but now they are nowhere.
They ranked for phrases related to the pictures; we wrote the text description in a natural way: we did not optimize the description to increase the "long tail" results.
The lose is not important in term of money.
For some phrases, now, the home page is replacing the photo gallery pages.
I am seeing lots of sites in one industry I watch, online gambling, have all their inner pages get the dreaded grey bar over the last 3 weeks. It seems that this is spreading like wildfire. Some are page 1 sites that have been there for years. Some of these sites are amazing and there content unique and of the highest quality.
I have a theory that Google is in the 2nd phase of its plan to stop paid links.
First they devalued the PR of sites selling links. Then my theory comes into play. They then created a database of suspected link selling sites.
They are now in the process of comparing sites backlinks to this database and if you go over a certain threshold, its goodbye and thank you for playing.
Which leaves the issue that people now have a new way to Google bomb a site.
I hope I am wrong, but the more I look at the sites being affected the more this makes sense.
[edited by: tedster at 5:33 pm (utc) on Mar. 26, 2008]
This is quite old news. Adam even commented on it in 2006.
It has nothing to do with photo gallery titles or spam. The issue basically is duplicate content. Google looks at ten photo pages of George Bush and figures they are redundant -- even if all pages have different title, descriptions and alt text.
The solution is simple and hard: add LOTS of unique text to each photo page. If you have ten photos of Bush waving, then find a way to write three paragraphs that somehow say "Bush waving" in different ways.
>>The issue basically is duplicate content.
That was my first thought upon reading the OP. I run several little webcam sites. Even though title, etc. are changed, the streaming video pages get a grey bar sometimes and the main static image page of course does fine.
If I get around to really wanting the dupe pages ranked, I will use js or something to "hide" the text until a button is clicked; I prefer these pages not initially show more than a sentence or two of text, like I prefer on most photo galleries.
So yet again ... if you want to tank a competitor just buy some paid links for them.
Google, if you're listening.
I'd love to have a way to remove links to our site through webmaster tools. Maybe a way to say "Hey .. dont count these links" we dont want them.
I cant tell you guys how many scrapers have links on their pages to our site that show up in webmaster tools and there is nothing we can do about it.
I've written hundreds of emails to their site owners and nothing ever gets done to get them removed.
[edited by: Bewenched at 5:19 pm (utc) on Mar. 27, 2008]
> The solution is simple and hard: add LOTS of unique text to each photo page. If you have ten photos of Bush waving, then find a way to write three paragraphs that somehow say "Bush waving" in different ways.
Unless there's a phrase-based spam algo gone past Beta. Lots of very similar phrases/content.
Google knows there are webmasters that try to dodge their algo with filler text. Different titles is sometimes enough without extra unique text. You can use the titles as text, but don't repeat it in meta tags (keywords/descriptions).
Key: don't try too hard to optimize.
Also watch your site's link architecture. I've seen many Galleries that grow to the point where their native navigation can't circulate very much juice to deeper pages in a category. Same is true for other kinds of sites as well, such as directory site structures.
Is there a relatively direct click path to deep pages? If not, you can fix the structure (often a big job on sites that run from a packaged solution) or at least shore it up a bit with a few deep backlinks.
There isn't anything about optimization in this issue. It's just a matter of the percentage of non-duplicate text in the html. Title and description and alt text alone isn't enough. If you have a /george-bush/ photo section, the top page will get indexed, but the likelihood is many pages in the section will not unless they have a few paragraphs of genuine, relevant text.