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Has anyone else experienced this? We used to get tons of advertising requests from sites just for our PR...we also had to refuse many of them for being off topic and low quality sites. These sites are no longer contacting us, but better sites are not advertising. They get the targeted traffic and it looks good having them as a resource.
Now, even though the PR went down, our site ranking is still high in the search engines because it is a quality content site. They didn't dink us in search ranking, just in advertiser PR.
Who would have thought it? :)
But sites who think of ranking as only a kind of technical game wouldn't have that mindset going for them at all. I'm happy to hear that having fewer green pixels brought you a good result - it only sounds upside down at first hearing.
One way I understand Google's algo is this: imitating quality should be more difficult than actually creating quality in the first place. Things have already moved in that direction, and I appreciate it.