Lo and Behold, Big G’s Page Rank Change Is Rolling Out

Maybe I’m more obsessed with Google PR (PageRank) than most, due to being a math and stats (and computer) geek and needing to measure everything. Sure, PR is not an accurate measure of your site’s worth, but it is a measure nonetheless, which for some ad networks helps determine how much you’ll earn. And love it or hate, it just changed. Or is changing. Right now. If you haven’t seen the change, you probably should over the next few days.

Only moments ago, I checked one of my sites that’s too new to have made the last rollout in, what was it, late January or early Feburary? So lucky for me, it went from PR0 to PR4. Which really is meaningless because traffic is still transient. I haven’t posted even once per week regularly, despite my promise on the site. Anyway, until I do get consistent traffic, I have no plans on monetizing it. I’m taking a wholly different approach this time, unlike most of my other sites. [I’m talking about my personal site, which will never have contextual ads, but may have other types in the future, after it hits PR5.]

Still, my experience over the past two years is as follows. Take any keyword phrase and search for it. Usually, but not always, the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) listings will have higher PR pages at the top. That means, since most people are lazy and don’t check past the first page of SERPs, more traffic goes to the first ten pages listed.

The unfortunate thing about this new PR rollout, at least to myself and a friend, is that his PR5 tech site just dropped to PR4. (According to the two tools I’ve found to be most accurate. Other tools show a mix of 4 and 5, though they used to show all 5.) I had intended on buying it in a few days, but the change likely means both a strong drop in traffic and revenue. He let the site sit dormant for too many months after he left the United States.

Which means any zomblogs (zombie blogs) out there are probably losing rank if they are not at least gaining new backlinks. This may mean that Google has decided to implement some important algorithm changes – such as the momentum metric Ryan Caldwell suggested.

So, if you have a site and have let it slide, you may want to quickly find someone to write casually, before the next PR rollout. If you can’t pay, maybe guest-write on their side. Or you could sell your site at Performancing’s Blogs for Sale section. You should be seeing a few of mine for sale soon, as well as few job listings.

Note: If you want to check your PR, you could use Data Center Watch [via SmartWealthyRich], but i find it’s inaccurate. I prefer Aaron Wall’s SEO for Firefox plugin, which embeds results into Google and Yahoo’s SERPs, or Search Status for Firefox.

41 thoughts on “Lo and Behold, Big G’s Page Rank Change Is Rolling Out

  1. my latest site that’s old enough to have made the cut managed to move to PR4 from 0. But there are so many factors to determine new PR. I wish I knew more, I can only guess. Were you able to glean any new info from your efforts? It’s not just momentum because I checked one of my blogs which has had no posts since Aug 2006 and it did not drop in PR. I have another that has been updated 3 times per week yet dropped from PR2 to PR1. Not good.

    Anyway, I’ve decided to sell off most of my sites and domains. I’ve posted over at the “blogs for sale”. I’m going to focus on just a few blogs and try to produce quality content.

  2. @Raj, thanks for that. At least, the efforts I’ve expended in getting the new site a respectable PR are now paying off. Now the hard part is maintaining it! 😉 I think the reason I was quite surprised was that the PR jump was considerable (hence the traffic, too); all of my previous sites worked their way to PR2 or 3 before going to 4 and 5, and the traffic increase was gradual.

  3. @Phillip: It’s true. Having a higher google PR can help you rank higher in Google’s SERPs. Not always, but can. And the closer you are to #1 for a search term, the more traffic you are going to get. I understand that the growth is apporoximately exponential.

  4. Congrats, Kirk 😉

    This PR update has brought the most surprises for me. A day after I noticed that my newly launched site was at PR4 (my last comment), its traffic suddenly spiked, increasing five-fold. Its traffic is still increasing as I write this. Dang. I’ve never experienced that before, so much so that in the past, I regarded PR as a ‘good-enough’ metric but not one that dictates traffic or success. Now I am seriously re-thinking.

  5. Good work, Kirk. re Alexa: i get confused with “dropped” because I’m thinking “why did his traffic drop.” But of course, a smaller Alexa number (and Technorati) is better, not worse. So it’s really a “rise”, but it’s also a “drop”.

  6. Ooookay! Now that I’ve stated publicly (previous comment in this thread) that I didn’t expect my blog to do any better than it’s long standing PR4…in checking this morning I noticed that the PR is now a 5. So go figure. It may not be worth much as Rick says but hey…I won’t complain. On another note, my Alexa rating just dropped another 16,00 points to just above 500,000. Not bad for a personal blog that meanders about from one topic to another. I’m almost a half a million-blogger.

    Just tooting my own horn here…sorry ’bout that.

  7. Seems a mixed bag all around. Up and down. Some sites went down despite updates 3 times per day. Other sites stay where they were despite updates once a month. Still others went up with infrequent updates. So there as usual, hidden factors which we can only guess at.

  8. The Google Page Ranking system does not discriminate between novice and professional level websites. Nor does it award Page Rank where editorial decisions are concerned. Case in point: I’ve seen well conceived content pages with 10 to 20 out bound links fare no better in Page Rank than a web site with long lists of mismatched links. Both had Page Ranks of 4 even though there was a remarkable disparity in quality and content. Page Rank is a worthless marketing tool, worth nothing more than a Boy Scout Badge.

    When a large corporation purchases web-based ad space or banner ads, do you think they use the cute little colored Page Rank bar as a measurement?

    Emphatically no.

  9. Same experience here as Brett’s…just saw my updates today. A newly launched site of mine went to PR4 with mostly just the links from my main blogs (and subdomain blogs). I guess that’s a good compensation for the drop I experienced in last year’s last update — when 4 of my sites dropped from 5 to 4. 😛

  10. For what ever its worth, Some of my sites just saw an update in PR today. I could see double numbers in the data centers so I knew it was coming, but they didn’t actually update until about 3 hours ago.

    One of my sites was showing a PR3 PR0 in the datacenters and went to PR4 in reality, which was a nice surprise -> up from PR0.

  11. Raj, I have experienced the same thing with several tools over the years. Sometimes tools even can’t access the data center they use. Many of those tools only use one data center.

  12. ifranky, I hope that’s not true because there are some blogs I’ve seen (and bought) that should be a PR4 that are showing PR0 as of this morning. My experience the past two years is that some tools will not show changes for a few more days. Maybe they’re lagging behind Google’s actual datacenter changes?

  13. Raj, the PR is permanently updated and the actual one is immediately integrated in SERPs. Every 90 days is just a snapshot to give an idea. More info at SEL.

    But a snapshot whit quite some economical value.

  14. Ah, more factors are revealed then. Sorry to hear that Gerard. Unfortunately, by the time we all figure out the wha’ happened, the algorithm will probably change again. 90 days goes by fast.

  15. Slightly disappointed that one of my blogs dropped from PR5 to PR4 – and contrary to your theory, it’s updated upwards of three times a day! My feeling is that although it’s updated fairly regularly, we’ve not been focussing on link building enough over the last 12 months, something which I need to address in the interim before the next PR update!

  16. @Kirk. I’m not an SEO expert, but why don’t you PM me your URL and I’ll have a look at the site. List what you think is the primary keyword. I know that for some topics, I find myself using the primary keyword far too often. But if there aren’t enough alternatives it’s tough. At that point, I just try to write like I talk and let it go from there.

  17. @Raj,

    (Sorry for the long reply here)

    Through the various incarnations of my blog, all have achieved a PR4 rather quickly albeit this self hosted version has been around a bit longer than the others and will remain in this from hopefully for good since I’m very satisfied with my host and the way the blog is percolating along. I just don’t believe that any significant increase in PR would on the horizon for “Just Thinkin” due to the wide variety of subject/media matter in which nothing ever settles on just a few vague areas such as predictable content matter, regular images and video clips etc (ok, so maybe it bends toward WordPress a bit but that’s for another blog fairly soon). In fact (chuckle) it really can’t even be classified as a personal “diary” or “journal” type of thing either. That’s a specific classification unto itself. Now that I look on it, my tag line, “Random Thoughts and Ramblings” seems more than apropos than ever in retrospect.

    Also…I’m beginning to find out that there is such a thing as too much SEO stuffed into a blog such as mine where the content never seems to settle down…at all, which is the whole point of this particular blog. I’ve stuck some content-related keywords (as varied as the content itself but accurate nonetheless) into the header that gives me 100% meta relevancy on Domain Tools “Whois” along with an SEO of 92%. Perhaps somewhat misleading to the general public in the fact that although I’m highly indexed on Google for example, many times I find that the readers coming to my site from a Google search who are looking for specific information, wind up instead with a post that only mentions the subject rather than an in depth article. These type of readers are a flash in the pan simply because, through no fault of my own, I have wasted their time. To me, this might have a negative effect on PR as well. On the good side, it will be a good indicator as to what subjects people may be looking for that I can touch upon in the future.

    So it seems that too much SEO or rather uncontrolled SEO for a blog such as mine might actually be a bit of a liability rather than an asset if one is on the lookout for solidly increasing their readership and PR for a random material blog such as mine.

    I’d welcome your thoughts on the subject. I may see the problems but I’m admittedly not experienced enough yet to be able to find the answers.

    Hmmm, “Uncontrolled SEO”. Sounds like a post title. Any takers?

  18. I should loook into SeoQuake. Thanks, Kirk.

    Don’t rule out a personal blog getting higher. It depends on what you are discussing. Chris Garrett started his in maybe December and he’s PR5 as of yesterday. Though he does talk about blogging, mostly. And there’s Seth Godin, etc., etc. Good luck.

  19. Raj,

    I’ve been using SeoQuake for Firefox for about a year now. It also adds Goggle PR, Alexa Rating, indexes “link to’s” and more to Google’s search results and, when activated, throws an unobtrusive tool bar at the top of any page that shows you the same including results from DMOZ, DIGG, Technorati, even Yandex and Rambler, adds a WhoIs link to Domain Toools and more depending how you configure it. It’s a great tool for just monitoring PR, SE index’s and “Link To’s” for any given site.

    It used to throw the above results onto Yahoo and MSN (aka Live search)pages before both search engines were updated but most of my everyday use is the small toolbar.

    When I get my next blog up and running I’ll have to look into marketing more seriously of course so I’ll need more specific tools and marketing services like those you referred to in your post. Thanks for the tips.

    Oh…and my blog seems to have survived the update while maintaining it’s PR 4 rating. Considering it’s my personal blog, I really don’t expect it to go any higher than that. I do however, expect my Alexa Rating to continue to fall into the lower numbers.

  20. yeah, wouldn’t it be nice to know? Is it going to be revealed? I doubt it. But I think Ryan had the right of it: momentum. Stay fresh, get linked. Often.

  21. Anyway, I’d love to know what new criteria have been built in. The supplemental index seems to have had a huge influence and I also have noticed that sites who linked more than a year ago have disappeared (fe. I had a link in the 9rules blog to an article once and that is not present anymore although the article and link still exist).

    Technorati alike situation/algo coming up? After 6 months the juice disappears (unless heavily linked) ???

  22. This is a huge PR change. I just noticed that even statcounter.com dropped. I wonder what other surprises will come.

    Except for my PR6 I just sold all my sites have consolidated or gotten updated to what I expected. My PR6 was not deserved anyway and I was psyched in december when the site got a 6, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to maintain the 6 (also because I was not interested with that site anymore so only blogged irregularly)

  23. Raj,
    I have a good eye for value sites that just need a little tender care. Would be willing to give you feedback whenever you are considering a buy.

  24. Several of my sites, including the one that earns me the most (which isn’t a lot) just dropped. Two sites I bought dropped. One dropped from PR4 in December to PR2 then PR1 this year. Another site cost me a fair bit and dropped from PR5 to PR4. There was a 2 month period when neither of the two writers for it posted anything. It’s my biggest earning site and cannot use adsense. I’m a little worried to see what the impact will be.

  25. @ifranky: True, it either means a changeover is imminent or that your site is so new it doesn’t rank yet, until the next roundup.

    @ryan: Very nice, congrats. Wow! You need to write an ebook. I’d gladly pay for that knowledge. The drop sucks, though. I’m fortunate in that I only have one PR5 site, and it has been mildly maintained, plus receiving new links. Thing is, even one article per week is enough to maintain a site, until you can get regular writers.

    BTW, Danny Sullivan has a PageRank intro. [via Dosh Dosh]

  26. This is a great update for me. I had six PR3 sites jump up to PR 5. Four PR3 sites went to PR 4. One PR1 site went to PR5. Three PR4s went to PR5. Seven brand new sites started out at PR 5. 2 PR5s to PR6.

    Only had four sites drop from PR 5 to PR 4. Disappointing, but not a biggie.


  27. The PR0 means nothing in my experience, nothing else than that the PR cache in those data centers has been flushed and the new PR isn’t cached yet (output of the data centers is always from cache). I have seen data centers who had 2-3 days long PR0 for certain sites and then jumped to the actual ranking.

  28. Oh, it’s common for sites to show PR0 during a rollout. Usually it just means that the PR will be changed from its current state. I can normally predict a PR change based on the concentration of zeros present.

  29. yeah, i saw that and it’s scary

    I think that once the rollout is done, it’ll be rectified. I doubt BH will drop to PR0 from 6. I had actually thought the rollout would be around May 30th, so maybe there are two phases.

  30. If you remember the January update had two phases. The first phase affected newer sites and the second phase affected older sites. Might we expect a similar two phased update in April/May?

    Also, what do you all make of the difference between these two results:


    Notice that with Performancing, you have the same PR across all datacenters. With Blog Herald, you have lots of datacenters with PR 0 and some with PR 6.

  31. Sean, that’s not bad, going from 5 to 6, and keeping in mind that PR is an approximately logarithmic measure. So you have about 10 times the backlinks of a newly PR5 (from 4) site.

  32. Ryan, I listed 3 tools in the article. The ones I favor are Aaron Wall’s SEO for Firefox and SearchStatus for Firefox. I don’t think the other one is all that accurate, despite grabbing info from Google datacenters.

    But remember, it’s always a “rollout”. You may not see your changes for a couple of days. Most of my sites had no expected changes, so I only saw a change on one site, and that was yesterday. It had been PR0 on Friday.

  33. I’ve always use http://www.checkpagerank.com/, although it seems to be going REALLY slow right now, probably as a result of everyone scrambling to see if their PR has changed. Good news for me – getclicky.com just jumped from 5 to 6 We have a billion backlinks, but I think our domain is too new (Dec 2006) to be considered that important yet.

  34. Funny, I’m not seeing any PR updates for any of my sites, even new ones I started last December. Raj, can you point me towards a tool where you are seeing PR updates?

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