There’s been a flood of activity in the SEO community talking about PageRank drops and every assessment I’ve read continues to ignore the bigger question. Did the affected sites lose search engine ranks?
My fellow SEOs have long been preaching how Google Toolbar PageRank (PR) is fairly inaccurate and that PageRank is only one element, among hundreds, of Google’s algorithm. Then when Google dials down the PR on a number of sites our industry goes nuts. Wait a minute – didn’t we say PR isn’t that important? Maybe it really is. Or maybe it really is for a certain set of sites: those who sell links based on PR.
From the list of the sites affected, it appears the PR drops targeted mostly sites that sell links or were strongly interconnected with these sites. For all we know, it is simply a simple visual adjustment – a very effective tactic to hit link sellers where it hurts most, but without hurting innocent sites in the cross-fire. Though an innocent site might be concerned that their PR dropped, if their SERP ranks haven’t changed then it doesn’t really affect them because they aren’t selling links based off their PR.
So among the list of site that have been affected by the PR dial-down, regardless as to whether they sell links or not, I must ask: have any actually seen SERP rank drops?
For example: Search Engine Guide is reported to have dropped from a PR 7 to a PR 4, but when I do a Google search for “search engine,” I see them ranked #8 (ironically, Google doesn’t even rank itself on page 1).
If you work at, or have been tracking keyword ranks for any of the following affected sites, please report whether or not you have seen actual drops in rank:
Washington Post (PR7 to PR5)
Forbes (PR7 to PR5)
Seattle Times (PR6 to PR4)
Charlotte Observer (PR6 to PR4)
Sun Times (PR7 to PR5)
San Francisco Chronicle (PR7 to PR5)
New Scientist (PR7 to PR5)
Engadget (PR7 to PR5)
Copy Blogger (PR6 to PR4)
AutoBlog (PR6 to PR4)
problogger.net (PR6 to PR4)
www.tuaw.com (PR6 to PR4)
www.seroundtable.com (PR7 to PR4)
www.searchengineguide.com (PR7 to PR4)
www.searchenginejournal.com (PR7 to PR4)
www.johnchow.com (PR6 to PR4)
andybeard.eu (PR5 to PR3)
www.blogherald.com (PR6 to PR4)
(or other sites affected)