Major Sites Taking PageRank Hits

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So I woke up this morning, only to find that my two largest sites had dropped to a PageRank of 3 overnight! I quickly jumped on my favorite SEO forums, and saw hundreds of panicked posts about the same thing. Many claim that Google is on a witch hunt for people who are buying or selling paid links, and that they’ve even penalized big-named sites like Forbes, Engadget, ProBlogger.net, Washington Post, and countless other authority sites.

Many people who have been affected claim to have never bought or sold a link, yet they still suffered the consequences. There’s also the theory that Google was also singling out sites within a blog network that employed extensive cross-linking. I believe one of two things has happened:

1) Google has raised the bar on what it takes to achieve a high PR, and this is simply a readjustment across the board.
2) This is a bug in the PR algorithm, and it’ll be addressed now that Matt Cutts probably has 25K e-mails from upset and concerned webmasters.’

Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe Google is just trying to strong arm webmasters into complying with the requests. If that’s the case, it’s really unfortunate – After all, who are they to dictate the business model that we base our websites off of? Many of us cover the costs of our servers, staff, designers, etc, by selling advertising space. If you take away the ability for us to generate income, ultimately many of these sites will dissappear.

I’m really hoping that this is just a bug, and things will be restored quickly..


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