Matt Cutts Confirms that paid links was the reason for massive PageRank drops

 In Internet

As I am sure you are aware a large number of websites have seen a significant drop in PageRank including some big players such as:

This drop also appears to of hit all the SEO companies on the NSM Top SEO Company League with every SEO company on the league either maintaining their current PR or suffering a drop. This has led some people to accuse Google of penalising SEO companies. In response Matt Cutts emailed Search Engine Journal to let them know that the “partial Google Toolbar PageRank” was a result of Google’s campaign against paid linking and advertisement links which influence PageRank.

The partial update to visible PageRank that went out a few days ago was primarily regarding PageRank selling and the forward links of sites. So paid links that pass PageRank would affect our opinion of a site.

Going forward, I expect that Google will be looking at additional sites that appear to be buying or selling PageRank.

However many webmasters/bloggers have protested this penalty because they do not sell paid links. Some lucky Blogggers have managed to successfully request a reinstatement of PageRank from Google. Problogger was knocked from a PR6 to a PR4 and has now managed to have the PR5 reinstated.

If you have had a major hit in PR and you are 100% sure that your have not broken then Google Guidelines. Then it should be possible to log into Google Webmaster Tools, and to select “Request reconsideration” from the Dashboard on the right hand side.

However it is worth noting that by requesting a reconsideration you are telling Google you have violated their Guidelines in the past and to your best knowledge, are no longer violating them. Therefore if you go down this route you need to make sure you definately do not break the Guidelines anymore or you may end up worse off than you started.

Personally, while I am a little annoyed our PR did not go up, I am not that bothered. We have changed our site a lot since the last update along with promote it quite heavily. While we have not paid for any links I guess I can see how the Google algorithm may of penalised or blocked our site from any PR gain. The important thing to realise is that PR has no effect on rankings and we have maintained excellent rankings over the past few months.

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