Surprise PageRank Update 2013

grinchThough no Google PageRank update was expected until 2014 as the toolbar was broken, on December 6th there was an unexpected update. Relevancy and reliability are the two important elements of search engine page results and my blogs both retained their page ranks? How did your blog(s) do?

Hopefully, the links to your site are natural links and you haven’t been sucked into the vortex of bad linking patterns.  That’s because any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site. Google has been clear that certain types of links ought to be avoided and they are:

8.  Low Relevance/Accuracy Infographics – “I would not be surprised if at some point in the future we did not start to discount these infographic-type links to a degree.” – Matt Cutts.

Words of warning

Google favors sites with natural linking patterns and is penalizing over-optimized blogs. If your site isn’t appearing in Google search results, or it’s not well as it did before, check out how you can identify and fix potential causes of the problem. Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do. If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site. In creating a helpful, information-rich site, write pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic. – Google-friendly sites
The only site links that appear in your Blogroll or Links Page ought to be one-way (non-reciprocal) resource links that direct your readers too high quality sites with related content.  If you have acquired a lengthy Blogroll by reciprocal link exchanges especially with unrelated sites now is the time to delete it.
  • Search engines do not give much importance to unrelated (two-way) or reciprocal links;
  • Search engines will assume that unrelated reciprocal links  are solicited links, and in some cases,  they may even penalize your site.
In this Webmaster Help Forum video below, Matt Cutts answers this question:
Our website is not improving in Google PageRank despite having regular updates and foolproof content authorized by proven editors. What could be the reason for this? Kindly help in sussing out the issue. (Dileep, India)
PageRank doesn’t look at the quality of text on your site, it’s looking at the number of links and the quality of those links and how they point to your website.” – Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team.
Related post found in this blog:

6 Ways to Make Google Your Blog’s Best Friend
Blogroll or Links Page?
SEO Basics for on Page Optimization
Link Building Strategy: Locating Similar Sites
Backlinks from blog directories: What is their actual value?
WordPress: How to maintain and track links

15 thoughts on “Surprise PageRank Update 2013

      • where I am struggling most is deciding whether to have my own name in my profile, or to stay anonymous. Like you, I am very concerned about identity theft. But, I want my blog to be personal.

        • Anonymity depends on the kind of blog you are writing. I know you asked timethief to answer your question but I have something to say about that, so I will. This is a great topic of discussion and I hope it generates lots and lots of comments.

          Timethief’s blog is technical: it’s about one subject, blogging, using one platform, WordPress.com. As such remaining anonymous is perfectly acceptable. The one thing I’ve wondered about is whether she works for Automattic; Staff. It would not alter one bit my regard for her posts if I found out she did. :-) Her stuff is general enough to be useful no matter what platform you favor.

          If I understand the purpose of your site, it’s a DIY site re earning income without being someone’s employee. My take is you would like to stimulate discussion of various techniques with others of like mind. Anonymity is not inappropriate but whether you use a handle or your own name is not what will make it personal. That can only come with what you write and the way you write it.

          If all of a sudden you started telling others how to make money without being someone’s employee, then you would have crossed the line and become a financial adviser and to have any credibility in this role you must disclose who you are and what you know. If you don’t do that then using a handle is probably the way to go.

          Now, if you were writing an opinion blog, like Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman or Charles Blow, it would be unethical, certainly cowardly not to disclose your real name. One of my pet peeves with the web is opinionated people who hide behind aliases. With respect to those three and others like them, I doubt the Times would give them a byline if they chose to use a pseudonym.

          I think there are three good ways to avoid identity theft while blogging; a) avoid social network sites such as facebook like the plague; b) do not post your email address publicly; and c) require all commenters to use the comment mechanisms built in to your blogging platform of choice. To avoid having your Internet reputation besmirched, don’t write anything in either an email or in a post that you would be embarrassed to see on the front page of the New York Times and use a spam filter like Akismet. Your site is likely to attract a host of get-rich-quick schemes and blog spammers. Akismet will catch most of them leaving only a relatively small amount for you to deal with.

          I hate to hype any company, product or site, (and refuse absolutely to post anyone’s links) but since you’ve anlyzed a Canadian company (TELUS), take a look at Westport Innovations, another Vancouver company that focuses on perfecting technology that mixes natural gas and diesel fuel in heavy diesel applications. I for one will read your analysis.

          Regards,
          Thomas Docheri

        • Hello again,
          Understand that blogging under a pseudonym does not render one anonymous online. We all leave digital breadcrumb trails and there are those who excel at cyber tracking so unless you are very well informed re: web anonymity you may be traceable even when blogging under a pseudonym. I began blogging under a pseudonym and built a reputation under this one which is not a unique one. I did that at a time when I felt that was important but that time passed. All that being said, that subject is not on target as the topic of this post. I recommend reading:
          Blogging: Real Name or Pseudonym?
          How to Become a Better Blogger 2: Online Privacy
          I recommend reading the following:
          Separating Blog You from You You: Online Boundaries
          Web Anonymity 101 - Digital Breadcrumbs as an introduction;
          Web Anonymity 102 – A Case Study of how easy it is to find information about a person online;
          Web Anonymity 103 – Online Privacy on steps to protect your online identity;
          How to Blog Safely (About Work or Anything Else).

    • I am not an expert and have never claimed to be one. I have no SEO issues because I practice common sense and listen to what Google tells us. SEO is not confusing if one is a straight shooter who can practice discernment and steer away from employing any desperate tactics aimed to increase traffic and/or PageRank.

      What makes me almost crazy is when I help answering question in the WordPress.com support forums, where I volunteer and see bloggers are not clued into using the Google Webmaster Center documentation. Instead they appear to rely on other blogger, some of whom have dodgy links to low quality sites on their blogs and who have bad blogging habits in general.

      What sends me up right the wall is when I see any of my followers have failed to read and act on what they read here and on the Webmaster Center site. These backlink schemes are all to be avoided like one avoids getting the flu or worse illnesses.

      • I did the free webmaster academy from Google a while back and use the webmaster tools like religion. Once they came out with Authorship getting in with “plus” was a must. I like the fact that the WP template have a spot for verification, just wish the .com had more meta info flexiblilty!

        • Google authorship is influential and becoming more-so but it is not a must. I don’t have a Google+ profile and it has had zero effect on either of my two blog’ page ranking or appearance in the SERPs. I don’t have a Facebook account either so that’s myth number 2 dealt with. :)

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