July 16, 2008
I've been a loyal reader of High Rankings Advisor for several years now and the one thing I've appreciated most is the way you've been completely honest with people who write in with questions seeking answers.
Well, I guess I'm one of those people because I would like to get your expert opinion on a question I have about Google's PageRank. Yes, I know you're not exactly the biggest fan of PageRank, but I thought I'd ask you anyway.
I recently signed up as an advertiser with [a blog review website] so I could purchase blog review postings for one of my clients. After enrolling, I purchased a PR5 blog review posting at the standard PR5 price of $40. Eventually my offer was picked up by a blogger, but the review posting only stayed on their PR5 home page for one day as the next day it was shifted from the front page of the blog to an archived page that had a PR0.
When I complained to a site representative that I had spent $40 for a link that should last more than one day, they reassured me that my client's website will get the full impact of the PR5 link even though the review posting was no longer on the front page.
Here's their representative's exact quote:
"Blogs are ranked as a whole, the post pages are not ranked in Google. So what counts is the home page not the post links."My question to you is: When evaluating the value of a given link, is the representative correct, or does Google consider the PR of the web page the link is actually on, not the PR of the home page of the website?
Yours on the 'Net,
It's a bit more complicated than what the rep. told you. Pages are most definitely not ranked by the home page's PageRank, as every page has its own PageRank. That said, PageRank *does* get passed throughout the website by the way the pages are all linked together.
For instance, if the page your link is on was linked from the main navigation of the website – i.e., every single page of that website linked to it – a whole lot of PageRank would pass to it. However, I doubt that your one review page on their website is linked to within their main navigation. More likely there's a section called "reviews" or something that is in the main navigation, and that main section page would most likely have a decent amount of PageRank. Then from the main reviews page, there is probably a list of reviews.
(Please note that I haven't checked out the particular site you're talking about, and am just making assumptions based on the way websites are generally put together.)
Now, depending on how many other review links there are on that page, and if your review is actually linked to from the main category page or not, your review page will of course gain some PageRank from that link. Then your review page will in turn pass some link popularity to the page of your actual site to which it links. (As an aside, please don't use the toolbar green graph to judge PageRank because it's only updated once in awhile...I'm talking about REAL PageRank...the kind only Google knows about.)
The thing is, because the review on their site is most likely linked to from only one link somewhere else on their site, it's not going to be given a whole heck of a lot of PageRank. This doesn't mean that it's not a good link, or that it doesn't pass some link juice to you, but it's highly unlikely that it is anywhere close to passing the toolbar PR equivalent of a PR5.
Still, no worries. A link is a link, and a $40 one-time fee isn't so bad for a link these days.
That said, there's something else you should know – Google is actively trying to discount any paid review links and not allow them to pass PageRank because they don't consider them a real vote for your site, but more of an advertisement. So if Google can in any way tell that the review and link to your site were paid for, then your site will get no PageRank or link juice passed to it. If the review site that your review is on is public about the fact that they take money for their reviews, chances are that Google knows this and is not passing PageRank to your site from the paid review link.
While many people are up in arms over this, it really does make sense that Google wants to count only actual votes for people's sites in their PageRank algorithm, not purchased votes. So if Google already knows that your review was paid for, then whether it is on a PR10, PR5 or PR0 page it will provide your site with the same amount of PageRank – exactly none!
Hope this helps!