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Pagerank with no links (how)? Virtual PageRank?

 10:08 am on Apr 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi Folks,

I setup a website about a year ago and linked from another site to it - the new site got a PR of 3/4.

The links from the source page have since been removed, with only the image alt text remaining on a different image (a slight booboo).

There is 1 inbound link from a "linkedin" page (with PR of 0).

However following the recent PR update, the site increased from a PR of 4 to a PR of 5! However the source site no longer links to it. The linkedin page has no PR and there are no other links apart from internal links contained in Google or Yahoo.

So can a site stand alone without inbound links if its already got an established PR and/or why did it recently increase?

Many thanks




 9:51 pm on Apr 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

The Google PageRank toolbar does not show actual PR. Toolbar pagerank is for entertainment purposes only, and it spews misinformation to foil link buyers and sellers.

Beyond confusing link buyers, the primary purpose of the Google toolbar is spyware to track web surfing behavior - and who better to track behavior of than the webmasters and SEOs that might have an interest in manipulating their rankings?

There might be some general correlation to the Pagerank Google uses in its algorithm to give us the illusion of pagerank, but that's about it.

The toolbar pagerank used to be much more accurate and logical until about a year and a half ago when they dropped toolbar PR values across the board to slow down link sales which were getting out of hand. Lower PR means lower prices which makes it less worth it to go through the trouble of selling links.


 10:14 pm on Apr 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

the primary purpose of the Google toolbar is spyware to track web surfing behavior


Lower PR means lower prices which makes it less worth it => which means more money in G$$gle's pockets for Adwords ads.

I have a website with exactly 1 low PR link that has a toolbar pagerank of 4. It is a joke, that's what it is, not a tool.


 2:16 am on Apr 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Boardroom scene:

Sergey: Hey Larry... let's confuse the 2% of people who pay attention to PageRank (webmasters, spammers)

Larry: Cool. Nobody really understands how it works anyway, so let's insert a couple of random PR0 sites into the top 10 results, and promote sites with zero links to PR5 and sites with 1,000 links to a PR2. Really mess with their heads. (Takes a breath from an oxygen mask for the brain cells)

Matt Cutts: Ha ha, let's do it, dudes! High five!

End scene.

My opinion is that Google inserts random sites into the serps to

A)Confuse spammers/webmasters and
B)See what the click-through + sticky rate is for new sites to see if they are "worthy".

And to cap it off, there is some randomness thrown into the toolbar PR to freak people out. This keeps them talking about it (good PR - public relations, not pagerank), but causes webmasters to GIVE UP trying to game the system. They REALLY hate this. (I have inside knowledge - or maybe I don't...)

Just build unique, useful sites and forget about gaming the search engines. - Larry, Sergey, Matt


 6:55 pm on Apr 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Any discussion of page rank on here seems to get hijacked by those souls determined to impose their insights into the uselessness of tPR.

This used to be a place where you could discuss things and keep out of the discussion if you had nothing to contribute except derision that the discussion was happening.


Those of you who've made your point about PR - can you move on?

Types of pages that seem to lose PR for no reason:
-Pages called links, resources, aboutus, privacy or contactus
-Pages on sites that are blatantly selling links for PR
-Pages with no new IBLs in the last few years
-Pages that haven't been updated in the last few years(?)

tedster, have you also seen old pages on old, well established sites go to greybar if not updated over the last few years? I've seen that on more than one site (sites b/g: PR6-7, 10+ DMOZ listings, 9 years+ in age, 1000+ .gov and .edu IBLs)

The pages are linked to from internal pages, have always been linked to but more and more of them are losing PR or going grey-barred. This is despite the sites doing well elsewhere, gaining PR on other pages and retaining top SERPs positions.

Pages with few to no links from external pages seem to fare worse.


 10:03 pm on Apr 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes, I've definitely seen that happen - even for strong, world-class business. Either content or backlinks need to be currently active or the juice starts to dwindle. After a few years of nothing going on, a gray bar can sometimes show up.

This was a possibility that Google stated rather clearly in their 2005 Historical Data patent [webmasterworld.com]. Even though some people at the time thought the patent was just FUD - a lot of it is clearly in play today.


 4:44 am on Apr 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

>>After a few years of nothing going on, a gray bar can sometimes show up.

I saw that happen to some sites either last spring or the spring before - it was the one where there was a much publicized "Toolbar glitch" - but those weren't updated for a few years and had had no links, so I figured the PR0 was for real. No one would voluntarily link to those since they went inactive except scrapers.

The stayed PR0 until after this last TB update, and now they're showing PR2 BUT the only still existing links (old ones) are on pages that show PR0.

[edited by: Marcia at 4:46 am (utc) on April 20, 2009]


 10:00 am on Apr 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

I haven't seen them returning from PR0 but have seen pages retain PR when the only linking pages are PR0. Strangely that seems to hold even when the only IBLs to the page are nofollow.

If there's a pattern with how Google is now "adjusting" tPR, it would be interesting if others contributed their experiences of what's happening with the PR of pages like the ones discussed above.


 2:26 pm on Apr 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

I would say as a site ages, it gets a boost in PR over time. Google likes sites that are old and stay around forever.


 3:58 pm on Apr 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

@Brett_Tabke - if you are having say an image hotlinked, how would any PR be passed over to the home page? I can see how the image url itself would have PR but not how it could spread outside of that url given that a link can't be embedded inside the image itself?


 10:47 am on Apr 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Probably not directly related to the site in question. but of interest is that Google recently released a research paper entitled "Sitemaps : Above and Beyond the Crawl of Duty". I'm still trying to get my head around what it all means, but one paragraph that jumped out at me said...

"The root of the domain is assumed to contain an implicit link to the Sitemaps file... The idea of adding “virtual” links to allow PageRank to be calculated is not new."



 4:37 pm on Apr 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Nice catch, aeclark. Google does add virtual links to their webgraph in other situations, such as discovering a new url by having googlebot guess at forum submissions.

In this case, it sounds like they want to use a sitemap for more than URL discovery - they want there to be some PR calculated for any page in a sitemap that they find.

So if no link exists from the home page, Google adds such a virtual link to their webgraph. That way any url in the sitemap becomes part of PR calculation instead of being orphaned from the site and the web at large.

This is truly "virtual PR".


 5:21 pm on Apr 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google recently released a research paper entitled "Sitemaps : Above and Beyond the Crawl of Duty".

you caught that early; i started a thread on that study:



 10:53 pm on Apr 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Now if we only knew how they identify a "mom and pop", eh?

Google Streetview of course! Just buy a cheap 2nd-hand pram and leave it in the front garden and voila, PR5 at the next update.

Seriously though, is it not possible that Whois data comes in here. Linking people to single sites, addresses, basic site design etc? All potential clues to Google possibly.

[edited by: Simsi at 10:54 pm (utc) on April 30, 2009]


 3:59 pm on May 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

I see sites with no PR on first page of Google. I personally don't pay much attention to PR. Is PR the objective or being where you want to be.

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