With much enthusiasm and equally much concern, there are clear signs that a new Google PageRank update is happening right now as we speak.
Most of you, web site owners, publishers and SEO consultants, are probably dreading these updates just as much as I do: after a period of working hard into acquiring new valuable links, the inevitable question is "Will I be rewarded? And if so, just how much?"
Let's take a glimpse into what the new PageRank update is bringing:
First, let's see what will your page's new PageRank be?
This simple tool sends queries to known Google data centers in order to retrieve the PageRank of the given URL. It should normally show the same PageRank for all centers, however, if you run the tool during an actual PageRank update, you can see variations from one data center to another thus previewing what your page's future PageRank will be.
Caught any changes?
Whatever the answer, there are some logical explanations for it.
After studying the performance of several web sites, these are the conclusions I have come upon:
1. The trend to reward links from content-related web sites continues.
Web sites that have focused on gathering quality links, both reciprocal and non-reciprocal, from web sites with related content, shall expect to see their efforts to be successful: a relatively small amount of related links, even if reciprocal, proves to be much more beneficial than thousands of totally unrelated links.
However, one must not forget that climbing on the PageRank ladder becomes increasingly difficult as you ascend. If your web site already had a good PageRank before this update (i.e. 4 and above) it is possible not to see an improvement on the 0 to 10 scale. The true PageRank scale is exponential: the distance from 3 to 4 is much smaller than the distance from 4 to 5, and the distance from 4 to 5 is tiny compared to the distance from 5 to 6!
If you know you have planned and executed your SEO plan correctly in terms of building link popularity (and that means focusing on gathering links from related sites, work towards getting non-reciprocal links, and paid attention to various way PageRank can leak out of your pages), keep on the good works and if possible intensify them: you'll be rewarded by the next update, depending on how high is your current PageRank.
2. Newly created web sites are able to achieve a nice PageRank from their first PageRank update, providing they played fair in the link building game: little but quality links, and care for not leaking PageRank when not necessary can easily get a PR of 3 to a new site!
The issue of PageRank leaking has been probably overly-discussed within the SEO media, yet it might still be useful to mention that there is "good" leaking and "bad" leaking and it's only up to the site's publisher to make a choice:
- "good leaking" is when a site links to external resources that are of benefit for its readers, thus giving a vote of trust and approval to the linked site;
- similarly, "bad leaking" is when a site associates itself with a resource search engines (Google, in this case) dislike, such as link farms, sites employing gray or black SEO techniques, or sites with totally unrelated content (this usually happens when, in an attempt to monetize a site, ads and links to unrelated resources are published).
3. Sites that acquired no new linkbacks since the previous update seem not to be penalized (unlike a while ago!), and stay constant with their older PageRank.
The current PageRank scale seems to be stabile and it might take a while until it is brought down a level, in order to keep some proportions to it.
If this is the case for your sites, it might be a good idea that you start a link building campaign in order to make sure your site is not in danger of being brought down at a further update. Depending on the intensity and quality of your campaign, you can even go up the ladder - with all the benefits this can bring.
To sum up, Google's new PageRank update shows clear signs of continuing the existing trend of rewarding those who employ clean, honest techniques against the less innocent ones. This is nothing but good news for the SEO community and serious publishers, however, there's no guarantee we will live to see the end of the war between the "good" guys and the "bad" guys of the SEO world.