Do you think that Google discriminates against certain sites in certain niches? …I do and I am going to try to show you why I believe it is happening.
You might not be aware of that but your site could be hit by Google’s editorial discrimination and that could be a reason why your Page Rank is low, or why your site is not getting anywhere in serps despite your best efforts to follow their Webmaster guidelines.
The way it works is that Google rater will classify your site according to the specific rules he has been given and it will affect your Google PR and performance in serps. Maybe it doesn’t happen exactly this way but probably something similar takes place.
The problem is that it’s not a penalty. It’s an invisible classification that you are not aware of. You could have thousands of links and mentions around the web but your Google Page Rank will not move no matter what you do.
If you think it’s happening to your site or blog and you file a reconsideration request, Google will flat out lie and say that there is no manual action taken against your URL even though you have already been classified as an affiliate or low quality site.
Because of that classification your Google Page Rank will never get above 3 (4 at best). Sometimes they serve these invisible penalties if you don’t follow their guidelines but because you have a big following and saturation it’s preventing them from admitting that manual action was taken.
For example, Barry Schwartz from SeRoundTable.com sells links from his sidebar. Not like I am trying to out him here or anything. He has written about it many times before and so did many other bloggers.
He was hit with a PR drop – from 6 to 4 and then he hovered at 3 for quite some time. Respect for Barry for not giving in and sticking to his guns, but if it was a smaller site doing it nobody would probably hear from them again.
But interesting thing happened recently. Google updated SeRoundTable’s page rank and now it shows at 6. So even though Barry still sells dofollow links from his site the manual action was lifted. I find it very interesting.
I bet Google made sure those links are not passing Page Rank to his sponsors but they gave in and reinstated Barry’s true Page Rank. (Update: I didn’t notice when writing this post that Barry posted an update on this and stated that he nofollowed the links…hmm)
I wonder if he actually got an email in his Webmaster Tools account that his site was violating Google’s guidelines when they hit him with the PR drop the first time. I am going to assume he didn’t but I could be wrong.
Let me give you another example. The site I am about to talk about might make you roll your eyes at, but I am asking you to not discriminate and look at the numbers.
Ok, so check out EmpowerNetwork.com 🙂 (I am not affiliated with them by the way, and won’t be).
It’s a biz opp right? But their numbers are impressive to say the least. They have tens of thousands of links and show up in top 200 sites on Alexa, but yet their Page Rank is only 4 (was only 3 not too long ago)
First of all, I checked how many pages they have indexed in Google.
At the time I checked it had 1,740,000 pages indexed. Then I went to Alexa.com and checked out their stats and how many links are reported there that point to their domain name.
Their traffic stats are impressive I must say and according to Alexa there are 44,290 sites linking in. I also would like you to pay attention to the number of positive reviews there.
How does a site in top 200 on Alexa with so many backlinks and good reviews has a Google Page Rank 4? Clearly some manual PR adjustment is taking place on Google’s side.
I also checked their backlink profile through MajesticSEO tool and here is what I got:
Explain to me, how their Page Rank is so low? It would be nice if someone like Barry Schwartz or Danny Sullivan explained that but I am guessing that won’t happen because it’s not just numbers that are being factored in here. Something else is taking place that we are not seeing 😛
Is Google discriminating against sites like Empower Network? Are there other niches that Google discriminates against also?
Another example is my site. I used to have PR5 believe it or not back in 2006 or 2007 (don’t remember the exact year).
One day I noticed a huge drop from PR5 to PR2. It wasn’t cool, but what interests me is how in the hell I have only PR3 with more content on the site and more links than I did previously when it was PR5?
I have never sold links from this blog like Barry did on SERoundTable. Did my blog get classified as an “affiliate site” even though majority of my posts are not promotional?
Does Google discriminate against affiliate blogs?
I did get the unnatural link penalty last year but it did NOT affect my Google Page Rank and the penalty was revoked early this year.
I then decided to file another reconsideration request to see what Google will say this time. Previously they would clearly state that they keep seeing unnatural links, but now they reply that no manual action is found.
So Google, are those ranking issues related to your new “discrimination policy” and you simply cannot publically state that?
Funny thing, I found this tool today that is supposed to give you the “real page rank” value and checked my domain with it.
According to their calculation my real PR is 5 (just like it was previously before it dropped!)
Obviously something is just not right. If it was just a penalty my real PR would come back after so many years but it seems like there is something else going on behind the scenes. It seems like someone over at Google just simply rated my PR manually. Is that possible?
I then checked EmpowerNetwork.com with the same tool and got this:
Looks like their real PR should be 8 if there was no manual intervention from Google.
What do you think? Does Google now discriminate against some sites?