Matt Cutts Confirms Fall In PageRank Due To Link Selling

By October 30, 20078 Comments

Google’s Webspam team leader, Matt Cutts, has just confirmed that the recent PageRank update has targeted websites that sell links without using the “nofollow” tag, in order to help other websites increase their inbound link counts on the Google search index.

In an email to Search Engine Journal editors, Matt Cutts said, “The partial update to visible PageRank that went out a few days ago was primarily regarding PageRank selling and the forward links of sites. So paid links that pass PageRank would affect our opinion of a site. Going forward, I expect that Google will be looking at additional sites that appear to be buying or selling PageRank.”

Sites affected by this update included Forbes, the Washington Post, Search Engine Roundtable and Search Engine Journal, all of whose PR fell to 4, SF Gate and Sun Times whose PR has fallen to 5 and TechCrunch and Engadget whose PR was reported to have fallen to 5 but is now back to 7.

Changes in the PageRank do not seem to have affected traffic to any of these sites though. This may change over time if Google decides to punish the sites for selling links. However, for now it seems that the PageRank update was only meant to remove their ability to sell high PR links by simply dropping that number.


  • Piotrek says:

    This site is interesting and very informative, nicely interface. Enjoyed browsing through the site. :):) I have a question, What do you think about I use free page rank on every webpage on my site. I think it is good tool 🙂

  • AccuraCast says:

    I don’t think that site does anything special. Why wouldn’t a user just use the regular Google PageRank indicator on their toolbar rather than going to your site??

  • Smita says:

    I knew of a company who had been into link farming and have seen their pagerank being decreased from 4 to zero. So I also confirm what Matts has said.

  • Abhijit says:

    I think Google has done a good job by dropping the page rank of sites who sell links in order to help other websites increase their inbound link counts on the Google search index. Link Building by natural methods is not as tough & not as costly as getting penalize by Google.

  • I didn’t experience any fall in PageRanks around the time of the October PR update by Google, but in late February 2008 I have seen many sites, including a few of my own that have experienced a drop in PageRank. I can confirm though that no links have been sold on any of these sites and I have not paid for any inbound links either. I can’t quite understand why the PR has fallen.

  • Leon says:

    none of our sites have experienced a drop in PR recently, and I can confirm that we have never bought or sold links.

  • James Bell says:

    Selling links for the purpose of page rank is pointless.