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Sudden apparent loss of PR on several pages



8:30 am on Sep 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


I'm not sure if this is my firefox toolbar playing up or something to be more worried about.

I run a site that consist of only 8 pages. The first time that the google toolbar showed any PR for the site (earlier this year) it went up to 4 for all pages. During the last toolbar update the home page went up to 5 whilst all other pages stayed at 4. Obviously I was happy about this.

However, this morning when I've checked the home page is showing 5 still and one other page has pr4 but the rest have a white toolbar indicating 0 or thereabouts. I'm a little confused and concerned about this. The only thing I have changed on the site in the last couple of days is to change the font-size attribute to pt so that I don't get any differences in display size on different browsers and OS/s.

Should I be concerned? I tried a couple of these PR checker sites, one wasn't working another told me the page had a pr of -1!



9:19 am on Sep 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

actually, having done some reading I think I've answered my question about whether I should be concerned or not about it... I'm still curious as to why it might have happened though?


12:49 pm on Sep 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I've done some more digging and it appears that two of the pages have been omitted from the SERPs (according to WMTs). Could it be that google has decided that most of the pages on my site are of no real use?


6:58 pm on Sep 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

That's always possible, but 8 pages is a very small number to say anything definite. If those particular pages are weak or thin in some way, you might beef them up -- or maybe let it go if it isn't important that they show in search results.


8:15 am on Sep 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Further investigation has revealed a few things:

2 pages are not listed in GWT as being indexed - one is the contacts page and another is one with links to local <businesses>. This is fair enough I guess although they were indexed previously.

According to GWT crawl stats the majority of my pages have yet to be assigned page rank and the rest have low page rank. I was under the impression PR5 was medium?

I understand the site lacks content to a degree however it has numerous good inbound links and is not doing anything dodgy to my knowledge. Ok the site is only 6 months old but being cynical about this the site is now far more dependent on adwords traffic as the organic traffic has dropped off significantly since this has happened.

How can I tell whether a site is being penalised? Or google has just determined that it's not as relevant as it thought it was?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 5:17 pm (utc) on Sep. 8, 2008]
[edit reason] removed specifics [/edit]


10:54 pm on Sep 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Question: Did you take over a previously existing site/domain or create this brand new?

If these pages had very little original content and stayed that way for the first 6 months of their existence (OR if they existed in a previous form and are now being acknowledged as "replacements"), it's not surprising that the PR would have dropped. Who's to say whether PR0 or PR1-2 is appropriate? Surely they shouldn't be PR4-5 pages, right?

The other question is what promotional tactics have you taken to try to boost this site? Did you do something shady?

I'm inclined to welcome you to the world of website promotion and the job of making your sites rank higher. Build more high quality content and earn links. Then watch your PR rise. Remember that PR's really not that important in the grand scheme. :) The other option is to try the google groups and be willing to listen to a few self-righteous folks in an effort to get some help.

Just my $0.02.


9:41 am on Sep 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I created the brand new. The content was new and original when I built the site and is all relevant to the site. The first time the toolbar showed any page rank all pages had PR4 (I have to admit I was surprised by this).

The site has a fair few (31) incoming links from related sites and is dmoz listed. Initially I sought out links but more recently others have been linking to the site without my prior knowledge.

Last time the toolbar updated the homepage went up to Pr5 with all other pages staying at PR4. At some point since (not sure when) all but one of the other pages have been white barred and two pages are no longer included in the index.

I don't believe I've done anything dodgy in promoting the site.
Some of the content has been updated and changed during the life of the site (interestingly the one page that has retained PR4 has not changed) but some pages (like the contacts page) have changed little (not that I'm bothered about the contacts page that much).

I'm not new to building sites but I am new to the world of "SEO" so I'm constantly learning and each time I think I've got it something new surprises me!

I think the site needs more relevant content and I have been discussing with my business partner ways of adding things that will be relevant to the visitors, especially as we are now entering a quieter period in our niche


10:25 am on Sep 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I've recently seen the same kind of white bar PR show up on a very solid client domain that is now over 13 years old. But then I tried a different approach to gather PR data and got different results.

Some of the "white bar" directory indexes became PR3 and PR4. Then some newly published pages starting showing PR3 and PR4 - that's crazy. The FF toolbar, the IE toolbar, and several other apps kept disagreeing, and sometimes the same tool showed different data at different times during the day.

Ranking and traffic have not suffered for this site. So it seems to me that something goes buggy on Google's PR servers from time to time. For me it's just an extra kick to ignore those little green pixels.


10:03 am on Sep 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I lost PR on one of my sites recently, at the same time by ranking went up 3-4 fold.

The only use I find for PR is for link exchanges as people will give you tons of related links in exchange for 1 link from a good PR page. Ironic eh Google?!


10:38 am on Sep 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Do you have both www and non-www indexed?


Which root URL are you looking at the PR of?

Is it "www.domain.com/" or is it "/index.html"? They ARE different URLs.


12:58 pm on Sep 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

tedster - thanks, this is the kind of thing that I was wondering about. Any clues about other ways of gathering PR data? I can find sites that will give you the PR or domain.com but not subpages

g1smd - I am aware that www.domain.com and /index.html are different and I'm not concerned with either of those urls anyway as they PR has not changed for those. I am concerned about /anotherpage.html /anotherpage2.html and so on


1:38 pm on Sep 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Any clues about other ways of gathering PR data? I can find sites that will give you the PR or domain.com but not subpages.

Every tool I use to gather PR data I found through a search. But we don't discuss or recommend specific tools here, so you'll need to do your own looking around and trying things out.

There are lots of free tools for checking PageRank. The Google toolbars will show the PR of whatever page you visit. There are some browser extensions that you can add. There are also some websites that offer the service, as you mentioned. PR checking is also a side benefit of many paid SEO tools.

Every last one of these tools is completely dependent on Google's PR servers for the data. So if Google's PR information gets funny, then there's no other options. Google is the one who defines PR and they aren't about to share the exact details of how they do that so we can do our own calculations (after we spider the whole web, LOL.)


1:29 pm on Sep 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'm still confused by this. I recently added a couple of new pages to the site as I look to increase the content. One of the new page is showing as indexed according to GWT (but doesn't show any PR according to the toolbar, fair enough it has only been up a few days) but the other pages are now all back to PR4 (apart from the home page that is PR5).

However two of those are not in the index according to GWT.

I have read that the toolbar updates are done every so often (every few months or so?) but that the PR updates before the toolbars show any updates.
I have another site on an unrelated subject. This other site is actually a directory site that is purely links to other sites in that particular niche, along with a description about the sites themselves

I have read that google doesn't link directories. However, when I started building the site the homepage was PR2 and it still is, the site is ranking well for some search terms and some internal pages are up to PR1 already. Again this toolbar update doesn't seem to fit in with the toolbar update schedule that I have read about (or has one just happened?)


6:13 pm on Sep 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

One just happened [webmasterworld.com]

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