Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
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Monday, July 07, 2008

PageRank, nofollows, ads and SEO

There's a lot going on right now about Google PageRank, SEO and poker blogs getting penalized for having a bunch of links on our sites that don't use nofollows.

Nat Arem was the first that I saw mention this phenomenon in this post, and when I bounced around, I noticed that I had also been bombed in a similar fashion. Seems my PageRank had dropped from a 5 or 6 to a 3 almost overnight, and when searching the web for "pokerstage," this little site was almost impossible to find.

This weekend the twitter was all abuzz with chatter about this happening to almost our entire community, and I don't really know what to do about it. It seems like several of my advertisers are considered by Google to be linkspammers, and my PageRank and search engine results are being bombed because of it. I feel like these folks paid for a legitimate ad on my little corner of the web, and I put up the HTML code that they gave me.

Unfortunately, said code does not include the nofollows that Google wants, so now I have to figure out whether to abide by Google's T&C and put in a bunch of nofollows, which may piss off some of my advertisers, or to leave the ads alone and watch my traffic nosedive, which will piss off my advertisers.

After reading more about it (or really, reading the same thing on Google's page a couple of times) I think I get it. PageRank is based on the quality of incoming links. By putting a nofollow into the link, the site that is linked doesn't get the PageRank boost, but your site doesn't get considered a linkspammer and your PageRank doesn't get hurt. It seems like Google has decided that some of my advertisers are buying links to manipulate the system, and need to be punished for that. Since I'm providing the link without a nofollow, I'm getting punished as well, because I am part of manipulating the system. Basically, Google has decided to take a shot at poker sites, and those of us who are advertising for them are getting some of the backlash as well. If I've mis-stated any of that, please let me know.

Yes, in the long run I did not start this blog, nor do I continue this blog, for my advertisers. But they are on board for the ride with me and I need to pay attention to that fact. So I'm curious as to what some of you guys are out there planning. I think my first step is to contact my advertisers and let them know that I will need to add nofollows into the code for their ads, and then see what the reaction is.

If anyone has already contacted any of their advertisers and has a reaction, I'd love to know what the response was.


BadBlood said...

I haven't changed a thing, and probably won't. I did apply for reconsideration from Google, but again, I did so without changing any links.

I'll let you know what the response from them is, if any.

Shelly said...

ditto badblood. I requested reconsideration based on the fact that I provide regularly updated, unique and relevant content. I did not change any of my links.

With an awful page rank and the inability to find my site through Google, though, advertising on the site will become less attractive to advertisers, and I'm guessing they'll likely pull out.

It looks to me like we lose our advertisers either way - add the nofollows = bad for advertisers. No traffic = bad for advertisers.

Google is really getting their way with this. I'm a bit upset that Google can effectively decide who is allowed to advertise on the internet. It's a little too Big Brother for my taste.

Anonymous said...

It will take a while for Google to trust you again.

Advertisers will NEVER use you again so you don't have to worry about them. Just take the adverts down.

The link buyers will not be back for their money. Put on the nofollow if it makes you feel better but there is no point having them up as 'followed links' because it is not benefitting the advertisers and IS hurting you.