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How I Get My PageRank Back While Still Serving Text Link Ads

March 17, 2008 by · 19 Comments 

OK, I think a more descriptive and appropriate title would probably be something along the line “Google shouldn’t have given my PageRank back when I’m still selling Text Link Ads!” LOL.

While some claim that the long awaited update took place on March 2nd 2008, it didn’t seem to have any affect on my blog until recently. I first noticed my PageRank value was no longer zero last Friday after I made some changes to my blog.

To make sure that it wasn’t just a normal spike that could happen during a PageRank update, I decided to wait for a couple of days before writing about it. I ran a future PageRank check to see what my PageRank values were across several Google datacenters.

Sure enough, all datacenters agree that Sabahan.com is now a PageRank 3. So what did I do to have my PageRank back while I still serve Text Link Ads on my blog?

To be honest, I don’t claim this method as definitive and I can’t say for sure Google will retain my PageRank once the dust settles. I could end up having my blog slap again once Google catch up with this trick. But for the sake of information sharing, here’s what I did.

I just update the Text Link Ads plugin with the latest version and changed the title of my link ads from “Our Sponsors” to “Sites”. That’s all, nothing fancy.

That said, I am not suddenly retracting my previous stand that selling (or buying) text link ads is not good for your blog especially if the main motivation is to game the search engine rankings.

People just never get tired talking about this PageRank thing don’t they? 🙂

Now let’s hear something from you. Have you tried the changes above? How does the recent PageRank update affect your blog?

Google’s January 2008 PageRank Update

January 15, 2008 by · 24 Comments 

There has been a lot of buzz around the blogosphere and forums about the recent changes in PageRank and backlinks counts from Google

From where I am sitting, I can see that Google is getting tougher towards those selling text link ads and paid reviews. It appears that Sabahan.com is penalized again for selling text links, and this time around my PageRank has been reduced to 0.

Personally I think PageRank is important but not as important as the amount of traffic you get. For example if 10K unique visitors stop by at your blog daily, and you are making tons of money from them, do you really care about your PageRank? I don’t.

On the other hand, when the drop in PageRank is followed by a reduction in your daily traffic, which does happens every now and then, you can start dropping everything you are doing and promise to follow Google guidelines to a tee and hope Google will give your original PageRank back.

It appears that this is what’s happening to Sabahan.com. The drop in PageRank is followed by the reduction in traffic this blog receives daily. That’s a clear signal that it’s time to remove those paid link ads asap. Sorry advertisers, I have no choice but to comply with the big brother’s rules.

Have you noticed any changes so far?

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Why Google Hates Paid Reviews

December 2, 2007 by · 14 Comments 

I haven’t been able to post anything for over a week because something came up and I needed to take care of it right away. Anyway, since I’ll be away from the computer again tomorrow I guess it’s best to spend sometime writing to let you guys know that I am still alive and kicking 🙂

While browsing my RSS feed on a lazy Sunday afternoon looking for something to write about, I saw a post by Matt Cutts which I thought you should know especially if you are doing paid reviews.

I’ve written several times in this blog that selling and buying links that pass PageRank is frown upon by Google. In the post Matt gives an example, a serious one at that, of paid posts to illustrate his points how some paid posts writer couldn’t careless about the accuracy about their reviews. Inaccurate information is not only bad as far as the users experience is concern but it can potentially be a matter of life or death for the readers in certain situation.

To illustrate his point, he uses brain tumors paid reviews, and ask you to put yourself in the reader’s shoe. Matt’s main concern is that most of the reviewers knew nothing about the treatment before getting paid to post about it. As a result, the reviews were often inaccurate or uninformed. In the end of the day, the one who suffers are the end users who believe the reviews are accurate.

Now if using brain tumor treatment as an example is a little too serious for you, ask yourself if paid reviews actually offer good users experience and how it could unfairly affect the search engine rankings in the long run. If you think that it’s unfair for Google to stop people from selling/buying links as it closes the opportunity for small website publishers to advertise their websites at a low cost, imagine when all the big companies with million dollar budget join the party.

If Google were to allow buying and selling links to continue, I won’t be surprise to see one day that acquiring top search engine rankings is a matter of spending the most money to buy paid links and reviews. Gone were the days where the Internet was a level playing field, at least as far as SEO is concern. Surely nobody wants that to happen, not me, not Google and definitely not you, right?

I’ve posted a comment in the post and I hope Matt will answer my questions

I agree with everything about this article but I wonder if your algorithm is able to determine whether a paid post is well written/well research. What if someone writing a paid review about brain tumors and was able to write an amazingly accurate and honest article about it? Do you still demote their page rank just because they are writing paid review about brain tumors?

My guess is that, such thing might require a manual review. Take JohnChow.com for example, he’s ignoring everything Google says about not doing paid review or selling text link ads and he still have PageRank 4. Google is giving mixed message here for not demoting his page to 0. Perhaps Google realises that his readers actually find some of his paid reviews useful and that’s how he can get away with it. Is that an accurate assumption?

Then what happen if JohnChow.com suddenly writes a paid review about a brain tumor treatment and the information is not entirely accurate. Will he get a 0 PageRank then?
Perhaps even with PR4, JohnChow.com has lost its ability to pass along Google Juice so Google couldn’t care less about what he writes?

What about someone promoting an affiliate program related to brain tumors treatment? And let say the link was able to pass Google Juice along. Are you going to do anything about that?

What do you think?

By the way, I know I am selling text link ads here so some readers might perceive that I’m contradicting myself by not doing what I write. Actually, I didn’t escape the wrath of Google when my PageRank was reduced to 3 from 5. Hey they could be gone soon and I might start selling banner ads as an alternative.

Google Reducing Blogs PageRank Doing Paid Reviews to 0

November 19, 2007 by · 30 Comments 

For the past few days, a couple of blogs that were laden with paid reviews have experienced a major setback when their PageRank were removed completely.

PayPerPost CEO has voiced his concern claiming that it’s part of some sort of attempt by Google to deny the competition. Google has so much power in that when they change something, the repercussion could put some other companies out of business.

Then again Google has the right to act on something that could affect their search engine rankings unnaturally, such as selling and buying links.

Obviously, Sabahan.com wasn’t spared for selling text link ads when my PR reduces from 5 to 3. If your main income comes from selling text link ads or writing paid reviews, there’s no better time to start looking into other money making opportunity.

New Advertising Units at Sabahan.com

November 16, 2007 by · 23 Comments 

As you may have noticed, I’ve started adding a couple of new advertising units on Sabahan.com. Obviously one that’s making a come back is Kontera.

I tried signing up with Nuffnang but stopped short of completing the form when I was asked for my IC number. May be I am used to giving out only basic personal information during any online sign up and when more is required, I’ll feel a little hesitant to proceed.

I once tried registering with one of the forums for one of the popular reality TV program at Astro.com.my but never did so when they asked for my handphone number, occupation, age, IC and every personal detail that you would prefer to keep private. And they made everything compulsory.

Having a privacy policy did little to alleviate my concern. I wasn’t trying to buy products and services that worth thousands of dollars which may justify the need for such information. I was just trying to be a member of their free, highly moderated forum and that’s a price I wasn’t willing to pay.

Then there’s this download site called Skali, a company based in Malaysia. I was trying to register as a developer and submit my software to their download site. You would expect they offered a simple sign up form, but that wasn’t the case. I think it’s one of the most privacy intrusive registration form among the online download sites. I hope things have changed for the better today.

Regardless, I think I’ll sign up with Nuffnang anyway. At least their form isn’t as bad as that of Astro or Skali as they made some info optional. Update: It appears that the website is currently being upgraded and I wasn’t able to register. Do they actually ask you to validate your email DURING the registration process even before you submit the form? I kept on receving the error: "You have not validated your email" huh? OK will try again later.

From today, you’ll start seeing more ad units from different companies here. If you find some of them a bit too much, I hope you bear with me while I run this “experiment”. 🙂 I might start selling ad inventories directly soon if there’s a demand, let see how it goes.

A few days ago I was trying to sign up with WidgetBucks via the affiliate link supplied by one of my users. Strangely, I found that my email was already registered. Then I recalled an email from Jim Kukral who told me that I and a few other bloggers were preregistered into the program during the prelaunch.

I never did find the time to promote the program, otherwise would be paid $5 per signup during the prelaunch period! So sorry Ahmad, I guess I am unable to register under your link.

Yesterday someone from Google gave me a call. Initially, I thought I was selected to be part of some kind of special program, or they decided to increase my AdSense payout percentage… I wish lol.

Sadly it was none of those. They called to ask if I have received the email about a bug in Google Website Optimizer and reminded me to implement the fix as soon as possible.

It was a surprise to find that Google is willing to take the time to call each user of Website Optimizer individually to get their message across. If you are one of their users, you should have received the following email:

On November 7 (PST), we became aware of a bug in Website Optimizer that makes your experiment pages vulnerable to tampering. We have now identified the problem and created a fix (information below). However, to correct this problem you must modify the control scripts on all of your experiment pages. The control script is the Javascript you added to the top of your experiment pages. This script must be changed on all pages involved in past and present experiments. This will eliminate the risk of tampering from this bug.

For a detailed explanation of how to modify your control scripts, please visit this page: https://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=80544.
We apologize for the inconvenience that this likely will cause. Please let us assure you that Google takes the security of our users and our advertisers very seriously. Keeping you informed and providing timely fixes is our number one priority.

Again, we urge you to implement this fix for your control scripts as soon as possible.

Are You A Victim of A PageRank Drop?

October 31, 2007 by · 12 Comments 

If you feel like you have been unfairly penalized by Google for selling paid links, paid posts, or simply you have no idea why they reduce your PageRank, it’s about time to make your voice heard.

To help you do that, Bill Lea of the Google PageRank Victims Anonymous has created several “PageRank Victim” badges for your blog or other website that suffers the unfortunate fate.

Note that if you use their code to pull the badge, you’ll be linking to their website – a good link bait attempt on their part. Check out some of the badges below:

 

I DEMAND ANSWERS! I DEMAND ANSWERS!

The victim was found with over 2,000 kilos of paid text links on his person... The victim was found with over 2,000 kilos of paid text links on his person…

Nuf said... Nuf said…

For the Optimists... For the Optimists…

For the Pessimists... For the Pessimists…

Hahahahahaha! Hahahahahaha! Hahahahahaha! Hahahahahaha! Hahahahahaha! Hahahahahaha!

No sleep, no relationship, no life... no Google PageRank No sleep, no relationship, no life… no Google PageRank

You are SO the man (and/or woman)... now get out there and blog about it! You are SO the man (and/or woman)… now get out there and blog about it!

Anyway, it’s good to keep in mind that these badges are for entertainment purpose only. I apologize if the title made you think I was about to write something serious 🙂

 

[via Google Blogoscoped]

Google’s YouTube Lost Its High PageRank

October 28, 2007 by · 22 Comments 

That’s right, somehow Google own video sharing website has suffered a major drop in PageRank after the recent shake up. From where I am, currently it’s a 3. The Future PageRank tool also indicates that the value is consistent across all datacenter.

I don’t recall YouTube selling text link ads, so obviously Google is looking at other areas when deciding whether a site’s PageRank should be reduced.

youtubepr.PNG

If it’s not a glitch, perhaps Google had decided that YouTube is no longer an important website for whatever reason and therefore doesn’t deserve the high PageRank.

Regardless, it goes to show that Google doesn’t discriminate when it comes to setting PageRank value for their own properties. Then again, if it’s not a spam penalty, I’m incline to think that this is a normal fluctuation during a PageRank update and surely YouTube would set to regain its former PageRank.

Did You Lose Your PageRank Because You Are Selling Paid Links?

October 9, 2007 by · 23 Comments 

For the past few weeks, news about blogs losing their PageRank has been widely discussed around the blogosphere. Besides this blog, several of my other blogs weren’t spared either.

This had affected almost everyone regardless of the quality of their content which includes big names such as JohnChow.com, AndyBeard.eu, Yaro Starak’s of Entrepreneuers-Journey.com.

I think it’s important to be aware that there are actually two different types of PageRank. One is the actual one that Google uses internally to rank a page and the other one visible on the Google toolbar. The reduction in the visible PageRank may affect a site’s text links price but based on Google’s internal PageRank value, the site should continue to rank just as it always been. Then again, an over zealous link selling promotion would definitely affect the rankings eventually.

While I tend to believe the visible PageRank carries little weight when it comes to deciding where you rank in the search engine, it’s still used by many people to gauge a site credibility. As I wrote earlier, this incident was probably nothing more than a normal PR update exercise where some sites would enjoy an increase while others experience a drop until I came across a post by Danny Sullivan over at Search Engine Land.

Danny points out that it’s now official that selling paid links can hurt your PageRank or rankings on Google based on a feedback he got from Google.

While I am aware the sites selling paid links might lose their ability to pass along link love, this is perhaps an indication that Google started taking a concrete action penalizing link selling sites. This news seems to be spreading like wildfire around the blogosphere at the moment.

Danny uses The Stanford Daily, a student newspaper of Stanford University where it continued to sell paid links despite widespread attention to its actions and without any penalty being imposed by Google.

The Stanford Daily is NOT banned from Google. The site’s homepage still has a PR9 score. Nothing indicates that the Stanford Daily’s links aren’t passing ranking juice, not in the ways that Google could control, if it wanted. Maybe they aren’t, but how would most people know? How would other publishers thinking of doing the same know? Certainly not from reading the paper’s rate card (PDF), where there’s nothing said about text links relating to search engines. The only thing said is the price: $350 per month.

Then Danny adds, last week he noticed the Stanford Daily PageRank had been reduced from PR9 to PR7

Last week, I noticed the Stanford Daily had dropped from when I wrote the above in April to PR7 today. That’s a huge drop that has no apparent reason to happen. Some others were also reporting PageRank drops. So I pinged Google, and they confirmed that PageRank scores are being lowered for some sites that sell links.

In addition, Google said that some sites that are selling links may indeed end up being dropped from its search engine or have penalties attached to prevent them from ranking well.

So guys, it’s official – from a seller point of view – making money from text link ads is no longer as exciting as before because you will be penalized regardless of your intention. This will definitely change the way how site owners monetize their sites. If selling paid links is one of your main sources of income, you would have to look elsewhere.

I’m incline to believe that this move by Google will improve the quality of their search results in the long run as it weeds out those who buy links to boost their ranking regardless of the quality of the content. But at the moment, it’s easier to put the blame on Google for being senseless and unfair to the rest of us. Talking about fair treatment, if you think you don’t deserve a PR reduction (nobody does right? ), you might want to write to Google via Webmaster Central and request a review. I am going to do that next.

Oddly enough, there are several blogs that are unaffected by this move. Those sites continue to sell text links but have received no penalty. Let me give one example. Now I’ve nothing against AdesBlog.com, in fact I think it’s one of those well written blogs with high quality content that I like to read. However if Google judgement is based solely on selling paid links, there’s no way AdesBlog.com could escape unnoticed.

Anyway, do you plan to keep selling text links on your website? Are you concern about your PageRank? If so why?

Update: Adesblog.com’s PageRank was recently reduced.

Super Fast One Hour or Less Google Indexing

October 5, 2007 by · 18 Comments 

After I published my previous post, I noticed from my user’s online page Googlebot came munching the content almost immediately.

If you Google the term “latest google pagerank update Sabahan” you will notice that the post appears first on the list, but that’s besides my point.

When I did the search at 9:30PM, I noticed the post was indexed 7 hours ago as shown in the screenshot below. That’s about an hour after I published the post at 1:30PM. It appears that now it takes Google about an hour or less to index my post.

fast-indexing.png

While I’m not certain whether a blog’s PageRank and update frequency have any influence over the Google indexing speed, I tend to think they do and this shouldn’t be confined to blogs alone. Can you imagine the potential traffic you could drive to you blog if you are the first to break an important story?

Have you experienced the same effect in your blog? If you haven’t, I suggest you create a sitemap for your blog and see what happens.

Latest Google PageRank Update – How Are You Doing?

October 5, 2007 by · 42 Comments 

I was reading 5xmom.com yesterday and noticed a post containing the word Sabahan.com in the title.

5xmom.com is one of the few local blogs that I like to visit for some dose of interesting insights about online making money issues that are often lacking in most local “how to make money” blogs.

The post mentions that Sabahan.com PageRank had dropped from PR5 to PR4. I don’t usually monitor my own PageRank regularly each time someone announces that an update is underway but this post has definitely caught my attention because it’s about me LOL.

In addition to Sabahan.com other blogs that have experienced a drop include Hongkiat.com and 5xmom’s personal blog at Chanlilian.net. Earlier, the popular JohnChow.com had also lost its PageRank 6.

So what’s happening here?

As mentioned in the post, I’ve never wrote paid posts in Sabahan.com so that couldn’t be a reason for the PR drop. Writing paid post means, you are not only spreading your PageRank amongst your internal pages but across the external site as well.

So instead of voting for your own pages, your vote goes to the external site. As a result, your internal pages will have a smaller share of your own Google juice. When you are leaking PageRank here and there it would be harder to climb up the PageRank ladder especially if you are just starting out.

While I’m aware that writing paid posts could offer a good source of income, there’s a balance you need to observe between putting money in your pocket and building a good reputation as far as Google is concern. That is if you are concern about your Google PageRank and search engine rankings. But then again, you don’t have to depend on Google to make money do you? 🙂

My personal opinion is that a site with PR7 or higher would likely be able to get away with almost anything, and emerge unscathed after each PR update. After you gain Google’s trust, your content will be seen as credible and useful for readers regardless of whether they are paid post or not. That’s not to say you are invisible though.

While I don’t do paid post here, I do sell text link ads but I’ve been careful not to accept ads that are remotely unrelated to my niche.

If selling TLA is the reason why I lost my PR, I wonder if AdesBlog.com, a blog with a PR7 will be next. Unlike Sabahan.com, Adesblog.com is more willing to accept text links from totally unrelated niches but so far it manages to sail through the PR update unscathed.

I can think of several other possible reasons for the drop in PR such as my Partner Page which Google might consider as an excessive link exchange attempt. Other reason could be perhaps some of the high PR pages have suddenly stopped linking to Sabahan.com

But at the end of the day, it’s not something that’s worth losing sleep over – it’s how the system works and the only constant is change. I have other websites that have been experiencing changes in their PR where one website has its PR juggled between PR5 and PR6 over the course of several years but it doesn’t affect the bottom line and traffic level.

While I understand that PageRank is important especially if you are writing paid post or selling text links ads, you’ll be better off spending your time building a better blog and not to worry too much about your PageRank.

Unless my PR drops to 0 overnight, it’s business as usual for me.

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