Google Turns PageRank into a Joke – OR – How to Get On With Blogging

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.

7 thoughts on “Google Turns PageRank into a Joke – OR – How to Get On With Blogging

  1. I think this goes to show that tricks or tactics used today to raise your PR will be useless later. It seems Google is looking for sites that are doing everything a more natural way. For instance, buying links on others’ sites through TLA probably isn’t worth a damn anymore.

    I’ve been reading over at ProBlogger Rowse has been saying the PR drop has to do with selling links on your site, but I know another guy who has been selling links. His PR went up.

    So ?

    Anyway, Google doesn’t care about webmasters. They respond to the demands of search engine users. And that’s why they’re the most used.

  2. Yes, it does hurt when the dad spanks. Unfortunately there’s no way to know when the big daddy will strike and how hard. All the more reason why Brian Clark’s Teaching Sells makes eminent sense.

  3. It’s not so much that we were shocked when it happened, but that it seems so targeted at certain bloggers. Yes, I was hit and dropped from PR6 to PR5.

  4. Selling PageRank was always going to be a short-term and risk-accumulating strategy. The more your business is dependent on PR, the harder you’re going to get hit when something goes wrong.

    Bloggers and other people making money online (smarter than me) have been saying this for ages (me, a late starter, I’ve been saying this since early 06 myself) – play for the long-term, focus on sources of traffic and revenue that are a) independent of search engines and b) in sync with market trends and common business sense

    – Independence from search engines: even if search is your main source of traffic, your site shouldn’t be locked into just one search engine – if it ranks well on all / most search engines, even if a new SE replaces G and Y overnight, there’s a very good chance that you’ll still do well.

    – In Sync with market trends: A diversified portfolio does better than a one-trick business. While in the short run gaps in the system may allow you to make a lot of money very quickly through intelligent exploitation, in the long run the loopholes will close so your base should be solid and you should always MOVE ON to the next gap before you get hit for staying at the old one too long.

    After hearing from Google for over an year that they were going after the paid links market, is this really a surprise? The surprise is that people might have been caught with their pants down (not the people mentioned in this article though – IMO these guys were prepared way ahead of time, and the PR penalties won’t hit them as hard as the number drop might suggest to the imagination).

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