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Disappearing Google Page Rank

by Internet Marketing on September 14, 2009

My name is Andrew and I work in the industry. Today a client contacted me to ask why her site that I manage dropped from PR3 to PR0. I suspect its because she has entered a competition and has so many links to that site from hers on the homepage etc. but I could be wrong, what’s your opinion? Has her Google rank dropped because of that, or because I have been on a link building campaign. It makes no sense to me, I have arranged for literally thousands of inbound links, none paid for, and very few if any reciprocated. Regards” ~ Andrew

Hi Andrew,

The most likely reason behind this is that Google is recalculating your Page Rank at the moment (well at the time of you submitting this question).

Often when Google is updating it will kick your website back to showing no PR on the little green bar but it’s not permanent. When the new calculation has been completed (it can take a few days, sometimes a week or two) you’ll likely see the Page Rank come back.

It might be the same, less, or more (sounds like it could be higher if you’ve been getting aggressive at the link building). So this is nothing to worry about.

What you might be more concerned with is if an existing website that has established Page Rank (and has had it for several months) suddenly shows a “gray” PR bar. Actually, so I don’t freak you out I should’ve said “shows a gray bar and continues to show one for more than a month”.

Generally the only websites / pages that show “gray PR” are the ones that Google doesn’t know about yet, or ones that have been banned from the index and no longer wants to know about.

The later happens very rarely and unless you’ve done something completely dubious (cross linking all of your websites that are hosted on the same IP address together and not having any other supporting links from third party websites) then is very unlikely to happen.

You can also confirm if this “PR O” issue is really an issue at all by checking your website statistics, number of indexed pages, and any existing ranking positions that you know your clients’ website already holds. If any of these have changed substantially since you noticed this, then there might be something else going on here but I highly doubt it.

NOTE: In terms of the latter (current ranking positions) these might also be fluctuating a bit during the update so don’t be too concerned about this either. If you’re still maintaining pretty solid traffic volumes and/or all your pages are still in the index then rest easy.

You should know that you cannot negatively manipulate search engine rankings for third party websites via a standard link building campaign. You can for your own website but even that’s quite difficult and not worth mentioning here beyond that little cross linking / same IP address tid bit I included above. At worse “bad incoming links” are going to have no impact on search engine ranking improvement.

If you could do this, then every aggressive SEO consultant and his dog would be out there throwing thousands of “poor” or “bad” incoming links to the websites of their major competitors to bump them out of the search engine index. It just doesn’t work like that.


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