So I just realized.
This blog got a Page Rank 5. Three years ago, I would have been ecstatic over this promotion. (Update: Went back to 4 after Panda came a calling)
A Page Rank of 5 will open the flood gates to lots of money making opportunities. Link brokers will practically come a knocking on your door and they will be happy to pay up to $60 for a link in your homepage. Your blog will also be hotly sought by Advertisers in Paid Review Networks. A Page Rank 5 blog can easily command up to a couple of hundred dollars for a 500 word review with 3 links linking to the Advertiser’s site.
Those were the good old days. Days when Google was not as smart as it is today. Days when SEO gurus had a field day manipulating the rankings of their clients sites. Days when blogs can easily gain high Page Ranks.
All that is now history.
Who Or What Killed The Page Rank Craze
Though the passing of link juice has always been longed practiced by SEO gurus, it did not reach an uncontrollable level until the arrival of a Paid Review Network called Pay Per Post. There were some similar set ups before this but I think Pay Per Post single handedly brought Google to their knees.
Starting out as a network offering “reviews” to Advertisers, Pay Per Post was nothing more than a giant link broker. The fact that it manage to grow at such a phenomenal pace was because they paid real well. Even a blog with no traffic, but with some Page Rank can write “reviews” and be paid $5 a piece minimum for a 150 – 200 words article as long as the required links are in place.
Within months of starting up, Pay Per Post has signed up tens of thousands “reviewers” whom they called “posties” all waiting in line for a piece of the action. Those with high Page Ranks gets to choose reviews that pays $30 to sometimes $300 if they are fast enough to grab the opportunity before the others.
And they are allowed to do 3 reviews a day with a filler posts of at least 200 words in between the 3 paid reviews.
Taking the cue from the success of pay per Post, similar networks like ReviewMe and Sponsored Reviews joined the fray.
Yours truly, with one PR4 and one PR5 blog registered with Pay Per Post and the other network was laughing all the way to the bank.
Then the bomb hit.
Google Hits Back
Big Daddy G came to realize that their Search Results was being screwed with all those paid links and reviews. In 3 sweeps, they de-indexed all the blogs and sites which carries the Pay Per Post link. Thousands of blogs were hit and all had their Page Ranks wiped out. Practically no one escaped.
Along the way, many legitimate sites became collateral damages. Sites that do not have a single paid link was badly affected as they had incoming links from many who was doing Paid Reviews. When these sites got de-indexed, many of their incoming links too vanished into the thin air. Many had their Page Ranks demoted.
Google became the evil empire. Matt Cutts became a hated being like Darth Vader.
Those who initially boasted loudly that they do not need Big Daddy G to survive eventually succumbed after seeing their traffic go down the drain. They went crawling back to Google with their tails between their legs, begging for forgiveness and requesting for re-inclusion.
Many did eventually made their way back, but not after cleaning their sites and ridding of all those paid links.
Page Rank Became Insignificant
After that fiasco, the significance of Page Ranks took a back seat. Google hinted many times that page Ranks will eventually be phased out and replaced with some other methods of recognizing a sites relevance. This however, has not materialize, though it is quite clear now that having a high Page Rank do not mean your site will rank high in the SERPs.
Over the years. less and less attention is being paid to a site’s Page Rank. Most have realized that having a high Page Rank do not guarantee them a high placing in the Search Results.
These days, it is unclear as to how Google determines a site’s Page Rank. If Page Rank is not dependent on the number of relevant incoming links, then what is the ranking factor?
If incoming links IS the determining factor, then would it not also mean that the higher your Page Rank, the better would be your SERPs listing? As far as I know, the more links a site gets, the higher will be the site’s keywords rank.
On the other hand, I also know for sure that sites with a PR0 can also rank very highly in the SERPs if their keywords are not competitive even without any incoming links.
Maybe it is true then, that it all boils down to the content and it’s relevancy. If your content is relevant to what people are searching for, then you WILL rank in the SERPs even if you have a Page Rank of 0.
The Future Will Be About Post Rank
In the beginning of June 2011, Google in it’s effort to provide better quality search results, acquired a site called Post Rank. Post Rank, if you are still in the dark, aggregates a site’s post by measuring popularity of the post through users of major social media like Twitter, Facebook and so on.
In basic essence, the more tweets you get or the more likes you get, the higher will be your Post Rank.
According to a post in SitePoint, Post Rank is not as easy to manipulate as Page Rank.
Social engagement is much more difficult to fake. Shares on Facebook and Twitter (and to a lesser extent comments on blog posts) are not completely anonymous – they require users login details. Google will be able to determine how popular content is with real web users, which is likely a better indicator of quality than backlinks
However, as in Page Rank, it is more of an ego booster than anything else to see some of our post ranking highly. The figures are rather superficial and it certainly do not coincide with the number of tweets or what-nots that supposedly decides the rankings.
Because, for my aching ankle’s sake, none of the post displayed in the sidebar widget has got more than 1 tweet! On the other hand, when viewed through my feeds in Google Reader, I have many unjustified PR10 and PR9 posts that do not show up in the sidebar widgets as the top posts.
But then, I do give the benefit of doubt. I really do not have a clear idea how this Post Rank thingy works.
Could Post Rank be another of the many bombs that Google have purchased and started over the years?