By now you’ve probably heard: Google spanked a lot of websites. Hard. Very hard. With a PR (PageRank) penalty, for yet unconfirmed reasons. Sites with a solid PR7 for 3 years, such as Search Engine Journal, dived to PR4. It’s probably disheartening but nothing new for Google. One of my sites had PR6 in Oct (Nov?) 2005, then dropped to PR5 by the next PR rollout, where it’s stayed since – though maybe not for long. Google regularly changes their algorithms, in their ever-pressing quest for relevant search results. Though this time, I think they let the proverbial Shakespearean Monkeys change the PR algorithm.
Still, as more than a few bloggers have said the last few days, PR is Google’s toy to do with as they please, even if it means dinging true authority sites. If your sites got dinged below PR4, then it’s possible you’ve lost some forms of revenue or soon might. Maybe. But there are alternatives to the ad networks, which you should start exploring so that you can get on with your business.
As Brian Clark from Copyblogger says in an interview at Problogger, the PR drop is the best thing that’s happened to him. Of course, Brian has just launched his fantastic new Teaching Sells workshops, complete with articles, audio and video. I’m signed up and have started scanning the articles, and they’re in line with my own beliefs pre-blogosphere: that selling content that teaches someone how to do something DOES sell. But it was easy to get blinded with the blog successes of the few, and then the competive facet of scoring a high page rank.
Ultimately, though, you should get on with your blogging and ignore PageRank (whoa, what a switch of stance), now that it’s kind of a joke. I mean, Copyblogger and Problogger ARE AUTHORITY sites in their niches – as are many of the others hit – and by definition should rank high. So that proves PR is now useless as a measure and you shouldn’t fret over it. Gaining relevant, quality backlinks should be your target (as always), but for their own intrinsic value, not for PR.
I still say blog as a supplement, not as an end-all. Consider freelancing and maximize your income. Or start exploring your knowledge and consider what you could turn into paid content. Are you a subject matter expert on any topic? Can you become one? If yes, then you have some options for earning online that go beyond Google AdSense and anything else that depends on PR: paid content in the form of ebooks, audio, illustrations/ visuals/ video/ screencasts, limited-circulation e-newsletters, subscription services and more. Don’t even rule out print books. Sell your knowledge, and use blogging to show your authority in a niche.