Community Intelligence: What should we do about the Performancing PageRank Drop?

It seems that with the latest PageRank update Performancing has been nuked down from a 7 to a 4.

The idealists will tell you that this doesn’t matter. That PageRank is obsolete. On certain days, I’m one of those idealists.

But the fact is that Performancing depends, for its success, on perceived authority. And like it or not, the majority of people in this niche still perceive authority based on a single factor – a little green bar.

Honestly, I’m not quite sure what the best response to Google’s act of aggression is. So I’m turning to you. I’ve always believed that community intelligence is much greater than individual intelligence. And I think that the best answer for how to proceed will derive from the comment section…so please do be part of the solution;-)

First, let me list the facts:

  1. Performancing, based on principle, has supported the idea of sponsored themes.
  2. Performancing discusses PageRank on its advertising page and offers to sell links. We have sold a very small quantity of links. Perhaps 6-10 over the last 9 months.
  3. Performancing has indeed done a few sponsored posts, but sponsored posts have always been fully disclosed.
  4. Performancing changed its link structure in the previous quarter.
  5. Performancing encourages its authors to use real-life examples and to link-out to their own sites.
  6. The majority of outgoing links on Performancing point to sites that are A) run by Performancing authors and B) are completely relevant to the Performancing niche.
  7. Performancing has had massive success (both in human response and link gain) over the last 6 months as our themes and our pMetrics stats package have been very well received. This points to site growth and momentum.
  8. Performancing’s Alexa growth over the last 6 months is completely natural and consistently strong. This points to site growth and momentum, which you’d hope Google might reflect in PageRank.

So now, what are our options?

  1. Ignore Google and proceed as if PageRank is irrelevant, build great services, launch an ad-network and just brute force our way to being a counterexample to PageRank
  2. Ask someone like Matt Cutts for a advice and a specific action set that will get Performancing back into the good graces of Google.
  3. Add nofollow to all outbound links
  4. Drop all paid and sponsored links of all kind
  5. Go on a massive flame-bait campaign, ripping into Google for it’s abusive use of power and the utter incompetency of its single indicator of site importance;-) This of course would be fun but maybe not effective.

Those are the options as I see them. The problem with 1) is just that Performancing depends on its authority status. the problem with 2) is that I once called Matt Cutts The Link Nazi. The problem with 3) is that most of our outbound links are completely relevant and natural and nofollow is really quite silly. The problem with 4) is that we’d be abandoning our theme sponsorship principle (not to mention that there are plenty of sites receiving links from sponsored themes without penalty). Since we don’t really do a lot of business with paid links, it might be best to drop them all together. The problem with 5) is that Google is known to act like a friendly dictator, forgiving the people with power and resources and loving on those who are willing to get into bed.

So, Performancing community, what is the best course of action for Performancing at this point regarding PageRank?

19 thoughts on “Community Intelligence: What should we do about the Performancing PageRank Drop?

  1. If your a pure content service, you might as well follow some of the Google rules. It’s also probably time to start using a real forum that can encourage more activity and member retention. The Drupal forums can’t build a community and encourage activity like the standard PHP forums do.

    But no one should ever be dependent on Google. Google does not care. Google is in this for the money, not charity. So we should not be mad at Google, we should just ignore Google.

    My alternative
    Ignore Google and keep buying and selling links if you plan to sell membership, products and services for profit. There are alternative sources of traffic to generate sales. For example website traffic resellers, Adcenter, YPN and affiliate programs . If your willing to buy leads, you don’t need Google.

  2. redirects, hmm, didnt see that (for the record I said they sell advertising, not rankings, there’s a semantic difference!).

  3. You should talk to google. It is not easy to find someone who wants to talk. But I know from two big websites which became all PR-Points back.
    But: Be shure that all Links from you are o.k.. If not – change them to “nofollow”.

  4. When I looked at the site, performancing is a 6. Am I missing something, or did Google do something?

  5. Ahmed, Copyblogger has never sold links. They do a redirect on the links of their advertising sponsors. The redirect doesn’t allow link juice to pass.

    Also, I like option #2. It never hurts to ask the big G. They seem open to communication with authority sites who seek them out.

  6. .. the sponsored themes because I truly believe they are evil (sorry guys!)

    And, if I wasn’t ignorant or oblivious to it all .. that is how I would perfectly describe how to be classified as a site “selling links” = thus the penalty.

  7. Does it help if all of us pool in support and link back to this site from our own blogs? I am not half as good as you guys are at SEO. If it does, then maybe we can ask all readers to do that.

  8. We’ll get our PR back to PR6 in the next update. I say don’t panic. Doesn’t even matter if we’re PR0, as long as we perform well. Everyone knows the deal already.
    But talking of Matts and hypocrisy- what do you think about these plans for “premium themes” with them pocketing 50% commission? So NOW we see the game plan….

  9. Lots of good advice here. But i lost so much PR on so many of my already poorly-performing sites. Now I can’t even earn any money on some of them through TLA. So Google just took away most of my income potential. So time to start all over and build good links.

  10. I don’t know much about it, but I’d get rid of the paid for links option (but keep the theme sponsors). Reaching out to Google might also be a good option.

  11. I would just ignore it. I think with the recent updates most people aren’t going to be looking at PR as a symbol of authority anymore. I certainly won’t be. Things like RSS subscriber numbers and even Alexa rank to a certain extent mean more to me now than Page Rank.

  12. …but talking to G might be the best alternative.

    Seems strange to ask for something that all acknowledge as useless, but as has been said, its a metric all of us use whether or not we’d admit it.

    At this point I think seeking an explanation at a minimum might be the best plan of action.

  13. First talk to Google. Use things other than PR to attract advertisers. You have a great community here and a wonderful resource for writers. Use your stats instead of your PR.

  14. Honestly, I’ve largely ignored the PageRank debacle because (a) I wasn’t affected by it with my blog, and (b) It’s too overwhelming to follow and completely understand, and (c) No matter what we do, we’ll never completely *get* Google.

    But, I’d say reaching out to Google is a reasonable suggestion. It’s the most logical, level-headed approach. If they ignore you, so be it, they ignore you. At least you’ll have tried.

  15. Some people have gotten their PageRank back when presenting their case to Google, like b5 I’m told. It’s certainly worth a shot, since Performancing isn’t a link farm. Also, it might be a good idea to present the facts to them, since they might have interpreted the linking done as a sold text links.

    As for this whole sponsored theme thing, well, my opinion is screw ’em all. I mean, come on, what’s the harm in a theme being sponsored? That some people in the WordPress community is going postal on this is ridiculous, this is a way to get high quality themes for people who can’t afford to hire, well, people like me. I don’t like it at all, and I don’t think Performancing should bend it. The only reason we should consider it is if the PageRank issue can be traced to this, but honestly, we’re not forcing people who download the themes to have the sponsor link there, right? It certainly feels a bit drastic on Google’s part, if this is the case.

    Other than that, I think we need to establish that all the pMetrics buttons over the blogosphere isn’t causing this, and let Google know if that is the case. You never know, it’s a long shot…

    So my opinion is, overall, not to bend over. Performancing is an authority, the PageRank won’t change that. Sure, some people might look at that green bar, as you put it, but that only means that we need to present our content to them in a more focused way. Because the content is good, and that’s what matters.

  16. Definitely not SK.GOOG.

    I would say that we should emphasize that we’re selling ‘advertising’ instead of PageRank, make that quite clear and remove any advertisers who are in it for the pagerank.

    Copyblogger, since you quote the example, is part of b5media and as a result the network had a rep talk to Google and convince them that they don’t sell links. And yet CopyBlogger DOES sell advertising, non-no-followed.

    The PR penalty is there to discourage from selling links for rankings. I don’t the Perf brand is compatible with doing that, so if we reorient in that direction and talk to Google, then we should be fine.

    Step 1: Fix what needs to be fixed (but not at the cost of nofollowing all outbound links)
    Step 2: Talk to Google, nicely but not by bending over backwards – I don’t like the approach the form in the Webmaster Console takes (guilty until proven otherwise) and because of that I haven’t submitted one of my sites through it, even though I don’t sell rankings (just advertising – and yes, there’s a difference).

    It’s also worth finding out if its a -2 / -3 penalty or a fixed PR 4.

    And if it doesn’t work and we’re playing by their rules (their search engine, fair enough), then yes, FK.GOOG.

  17. I could have asked this question much more simply:

    Which connotation is best for the prefix on the following Stock Symbol:


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