[Video] Google Lies: Oh My _______ Google PageRank Penalty

This video was shot a few days back.

Google's Obfuscation of PageRank Scores

  • Google has a long history of deceiving webmasters, in order to push Google's business interests and keep their search results clean.
  • In October Google updated toolbar PageRank values at least 3 times to scare people away from buying links. Sites that had their PageRank values appear penalized did not lose any traffic. After complaints from webmasters, Google restored PageRank values of some sites that were penalized, which showed the alleged penalty had no teeth.
  • NONE of the announcements about Google penalizing sites are on official Google sites, such that they can control people through fear and have the media spread misinformation.

What Google Can't Obfuscate

  • Your rankings and traffic: If you rank you rank. You might get filtered sometime for some core keywords, but if your traffic is generally up your site probably is not penalized and/or in any danger. If you use web analytics tools and/or track general web trends (using Google Trends) and site specific trends (using Compete.com or Google Webmaster Central), you would know if Google has any issues with your site.
  • Your ad prices: increasingly ad relevancy and algorithmic relevancy scores will overlap. Google AdWords click costs, and thus quality scores, hints at site trust. If you can send the same ad to a competing site or to Amazon.com only to find they get the clicks cheaper then you have issue with site trust.
  • Indexing trends: You can see how quickly your content is getting indexed in Google and what parts of your site are getting indexed by using date based search filters.
  • Trusted traffic streams: they can't take away your RSS subscribers or other traffic sources. As many business become more reliant on Google a key strategy for growth will be relying less on Google.
  • Passing link trust: you can test if a page passes reputation by adding a unique related word to the link's anchor text on that page. After the link gets indexed search to see if the target page ranks for phrases containing that word.

What else do you think Google does a good job of obfuscating? What do you think they can't hide or obfuscate?

Published: October 31, 2007 by Aaron Wall in videos


October 31, 2007 - 2:39am

Thank you for your common sense approach to the true value of SEO, namely qualified traffic that converts.

As a very competitive person, I like the idea of having more green on my toolbar, but I would rather have more green in the bank, duh!

October 31, 2007 - 6:22am

I haven't lost traffic (knock wood) but I've been seriously bitch-slapped from a PR6 all the way down to a PR2.


October 31, 2007 - 6:42am


You mentioned that the trust factor may affect Adwords bids.

Do you think it's possible that Google can smart price Adsense ads on a site that has been penalized with PR (but not with rankings and / or traffic)?

October 31, 2007 - 9:35am

Google may look for ways to smart price some sites that have been penalized, though I don't think they would do that in combination with lowering toolbar PageRank score for fear of blowback from webmasters bitching about both of them happening at the same time.

Years ago even when a site was used for internal Google anti-spam training they continued to allow it to run AdSense ads even though it was the poster site for what spam looks like. Their stance may change over time, but I found that fact exceptionally revealing.

October 31, 2007 - 11:12am

I don´t think Google penalized sites the moment they released the new PageRank. Google´s real PageRank - not the one we see - is constantly being updated, so it is fair to think that whatever impact a lower PageRank could have had on a site probably happened months ago. Besides, PageRank is only one factor - if the site is working well the other hundreds of variables I guess the site may not notice a drop in traffic.

October 31, 2007 - 2:56pm

It's very funny to see how some bloggers are hypocrites... they say Pagerank is irrelevant but they continue posting about that. Come on guys, be honest and stop criticizing Google because they want to clean the search results.

October 31, 2007 - 8:30pm

They are not being criticized for wanting clean search results. They are being criticized for lying.

To say something is a lie requires mentioning it. A mention of something that is bogus does not turn one into a hypocrite, although all humans are in some ways hypocritical.

October 31, 2007 - 4:41pm

Thanks Aaron. These videos have been great.

October 31, 2007 - 5:09pm

Great video. I'm still newbie and checking out my sitemap Google Webmaster Central. I saw that I had an error on one sitemap. I'm not sure what I was doing wrong but I quickly used an online sitemap generator and uploaded the new map. Google says it will take a couple hours.

October 31, 2007 - 8:13pm

I think they might be giving us misinformation about anchor text. Lots of times the normal Google SERPs and the allinanchor SERPs do not differ at all for the top10 spots.

Obviously, this isnt any proof or evidence that they're fooling us, but why would they not want to show webmasters all the information about the link in their database (so that were going to yahoo for linkdomain: searches), but then show us exactly how many anchor text links pages have (or well in what order?)?

I mentioned this on a forum the other day (SEW) and somebody replied one of his sites was ranking at the top for a phrase that he said he knew he didnt have any anchor text for (now that I think about it Im wondering how he knows that for sure..).

But anyways, why would they give us access to that information if they dont even show us the number of links? Have you done some algorithmic testing on anchor text and if the allinanchor SERPs are accurate, Aaron?

October 31, 2007 - 8:29pm

But anyways, why would they give us access to that information if they dont even show us the number of links?

If they keep your attention they can keep misleading you. If they let the competition have your attention they lose marketshare.

October 31, 2007 - 9:20pm

Interesting. my PR went from 5 to 3 on my blog last week and targeted deep pages on my inbound site went from 0 to 2? I guess my question of WTF has been answered. I still have the ranking just mildly distributed PR.

November 1, 2007 - 8:41am

yes, very strange too. My site is a new one. There are only 9 backlinks. But the pr is 4 now!
I think, this is maybe, the inside links which do good for this.

November 1, 2007 - 4:09pm


But don't they already let the competition have our attention by not giving us a (somewhat) accurate link: or linkdomain: operator which has us going to yahoo (or msn in the past)?

I assume for some reason or another they prefer giving us the allinanchor and allintitle operator over the normal link: or linkdomain: operator to keep our attention..?

Can I assume that you believe their allinanchor-operator is (fairly) accurate (having done some algorithmic testing when it comes to anchor text and the allinanchor operator or enough observation to be able to tell that the allinanchor results are fairly accurate - and not just another attempt of misleading webmasters)?


November 1, 2007 - 8:04pm

Hi Patrick
Most people have no idea that Google provides bogus link counts.

I think just about anything other than core relevancy will be manipulated as need to gain marketshare (if they are losing that market) or to misinform webmasters (if Google is already winning that market).

November 2, 2007 - 1:42am

I was knocked down from a Pagerank 5 to a Pagerank 3. This seems (based on my Adsense statistics) to have coincided with a slight drop in traffic.

However what is more worrying is that my eCPM dropped about 20% which makes me think that Google is using Pagerank of pages as a factor in calculating click cost for Adsense publishers. I'm sure by following your tips, increasing my backlinks and doing some SEO on the site I can redeem the situation though.

November 7, 2007 - 3:20am

Apparently Google didn't like you calling them a liar so they canned ya!? That's real mature. We can clearly see a totalitarian leadership of the Web.

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.