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The reported drops in PR indicate, that the damping factor has been strengthened, which I would support from my frog-perspective. For ranking questions this is completely irrelevant, since this drop seems to affect all sites across the board.
My webmaster central console still reports a huge number of pages with "pagerank not yet assigned", which definitely isn't the case now any more. I'd expect the data to be corrected there in the next few days.
Then I'd regard Big-Daddy-Infrastructure to be finally fully implemented. In my opinion, this is the first accurate TBPR-calculation for almost two years.
Strange.. this PR update hasn't been confirmed yet, niether by Matt Cutts nor by Adam Lasnik!
Not that this has happened before ... Wasn't it around the urn of the year that a massive change was on and MC insisted nothing was happening..
Maybe Big Daddy finally became puff daddy. Gone up in smoke.. We are back to 2006 as far as I can see from incoming keywords.
I'm seeing google switching between two radically different (and new) sets of results.
I'm also seeing two radically different sets of results here in the UK. However, the SERPs are always different here at the weekend. It looks to me like the Big G has turned off the filters for the PR and Link: update.
Why else would there be so many poor sites on page #1?
This one might interest you, hopefully ;-)
I have been watching the PR of 18 sites (not mine), when this PR update arrived.
Here is my observation as to the number of sites affected by the PR update:
17% of the sites had boost in PR
site - 1: PR0 boost to PR6
site - 2: PR0 boost to PR5
site - 3: PR7 boost to PR8
22% of the sites had drop in PR
site - 4: PR5 dropped to PR4
site - 5: PR5 dropped to PR4
site - 6: PR5 dropped to PR0
site - 7: PR7 dropped to PR5
61% of the sites have no change in PR
site - 8: PR4
site - 9: PR6
site - 10: PR6
site - 11: PR6
site - 12: PR6
site - 13: PR8
site - 14: PR7
site - 15: PR7
site - 16: PR6
site - 17: PR6
site - 18: PR6
Of course other friends here might have noticed different effects in changes in PR of the sites they watch.
Also, there's a bunch of commentary on here about the published PR just being TB related and not affecting the SERP's (which supposedly have been relying on unpublished PR for some time) which directly contradicts my experience after the Jan07 PR update when my SERP ranks leapt immediately after the PR update propagated - anyone have any thoughts / comments? I'd love to think it was just co-incidence that my rankings all leapt after the update but doesn't seem to ring true with my observations.
there's a bunch of commentary on here about the published PR just being TB related and not affecting the SERP's
Those comments orignate directly from Matt Cutts [mattcutts.com], and he's repeated it many times. For several years now, Google has been continually updating PR for use in ranking and then they export it to the toolbar from time to time.
I'd say what you noticed was definitely coincidence. There are many members in this thread reporting PR changes - and none of them is reporting a parallel traffic or ranking change. Google is in continuous flux today and it's not easy to pin down any one factor. Add to that the natural human tendency to generate patterns where none exist, and you have a real challenge. I'd say this PR Update area is one place you can rule out of your thinking.
While Goog may have this PR already "priced in" in the serps, at times they choose to tweak the algo at the same time.
As a privateer I am resigned now to a slow death on Google.
As far a losing PR is concerned, I think that this is to be expected. As I understand it PR is divided between all the site/pages on the web so everything else being equal the PR awarded to each site must reduce as the web grows, thats just simple logic.
The only way you can combat this is collect links at a faster pace than the web itself is growing.
My own sites were PR6 (year 1999) then PR5 and now PR4. My own link building efforts (daily/quality/by hand) can not seem to keep pace with the pace of expansion of the web. Result, PR reduces over time.
As others have pointed out here it has not yet had a negative impact on my traffic/placements etc, it does however make it even more difficult to keep up in the damned link race.
Maybe Google has changed the way it measures Page Rank and is actively penalising sites where it knows SEO has taken place - or is this just a stupid idea?
My two sites, with some links from directories lost 1 point (one 6 to 5, and the other 5 to 4). On the other hand, another site of mine with no recips or directory links, retained previous PR. It gained some "natural" links mostly from blogs, forums, and other kinds of sites.
This last site (that retained its PR) also comes at #1 for a couple of target keyphrases with an "extended description" in Google serps.