Why did my web site's PageRank drop?

Posted in SEO by Jon Payne

Well, there's the 700 billion dollar question! Whatever happened to the $1m question is what I'm wondering.. Anyway let me tell you why the Google PageRank to your home page dropped today, of all days.

It's not a simple answer so you have got some reading to do....
First of all, do you know what PageRank is? If you do, don't bother with the next four paragraphs and avoid this somewhat half assed explanation.
PageRank is a numeric value that represents how important a page is on the web. Google figures that when one page links to another page, it is effectively casting a vote for the other page. The more votes that are cast for a page, the more important the page must be. Also, the importance of the page that is casting the vote determines how important the vote itself is. Google calculates a page's importance from the votes cast for it. How important each vote is is taken into account when a page's PageRank is calculated.
PageRank is Google's way of deciding a page's importance. It matters because it is one of the factors that determines a page's ranking in the search results. It isn't the only factor that Google uses to rank pages, but it is an important one.
However, while all links are equal, some are more equal than others.
For instance, Google filters out links from known link farms. Some links can cause a site to be penalized by Google. They rightly figure that webmasters cannot control which sites link to their sites, but they can control which sites they link out to. For this reason, links into a site cannot harm the site, but links from a site can be harmful if they link to penalized sites. So be careful which sites you link to. If a site has PageRank of 0 (zero), it is usually a penalty, and it would be unwise to link to it.
There's more detail in this post about PageRank.
The most important thing to note is that PageRank is not the be all and end all of your web site's ranking in Google's results pages, but often PageRank is better if it's higher for your web site.
The second most important thing to note is that PageRank is named after its creator Larry Page, who's dad used to be the Professor of AI at MSU, so you can guess Larry has an idea or two about computers. It turns out that Larry thought that academia wasn't for him and went on to become a reasonably successful entrepreneur and set up a little search engine, of which you may have heard.
I guess though, the information you're after is 'not all that bollocks', as my nephew would say as I slump into this post match bottle, but something a little more concrete.. Why do you have a lower PageRank than yesterday? That's what you want to know... Right?
OK, so your web site's home page has a lower PageRank today (27th September 2008) than yesterday (26th September, if I'm not very much misinformed). Is that a bad thing?
Possibly, yes it is. BUT, if your website shares useful information to your chosen demographic, then probably not, to be honest. I'd love you to get in touch so we could work together on SEO for your web site, but sadly for me, if you're reading this, you're probably doing enough to keep your site's listings high in the results pages without having to pay my (very) reasonable fees for my (absolutely) fantastic service. So read on to see why your PageRank may have dropped...
Google is notoriously cagey about revealing the algorithms it uses to calculate PageRank and the positions of web sites in its search engine results pages (SERPs), so this is nothing more than speculation I'm afraid, but I've been fiddling about with the internet and real buyers and sellers for the last 12 years, so if you haven't got this experience, I'd go with what I say as 9 times out of 10 and reading this blog will save you money.
As far as I can tell, in this last revision of the PageRank index, Google continued its process of assigning more importance to sub pages within websites as opposed simply designating the most importance to the homepage.
For example if you had a site that sold fruit and a page that was dedicated to navel oranges you'd probably find that your home page had dropped by a factor of 1 in the last week and the page about navel oranges had increased by the same factor. This is only a problem if your home page advertises all your products and services you offer but, your website has few sub pages. In most cases, your subpages will appear higher for more specific search terms, while your index page remains as a good performer as it always was for all the other products and services you offer.
If you just want to chat through your options, contact Jon Payne, the lead consultant at Noisy Little Monkey
If your PageRank has stayed the same for the last 12 moths, you'd better get in touch with the SEO Consultants.
Buenos Noches mes Amigos!
Jon Payne
Jon Payne

Founder and Technical Director of Noisy Little Monkey, Jon blogs about SEO and digital marketing strategy.

Meet Jon Payne

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