The latest Google PageRank update has resulted in some popular blogs and news websites suddenly losing their PageRank. The PageRank penalization looks to be a reaction to websites that use link-building strategies that conflict with Google’s webmaster guidelines.
Google does not approve of the use of paid links to raise rank, but until the latest release, has yet to punish any websites that use them. Some of the websites that experienced a drop were the Washington Post and Forbes.com who both had a PageRank of 7.5, now both are on 5.
Not all of the websites that experienced a drop were using paid links. Some of the blogs that lost PageRank are a part of blog networks, which have plenty of internal links between sites. This is a legitimate linking technique, but can in the automated eyes of Google look like an inappropriate linking strategy. Google’s stance on link building communities is somewhat ambiguous,
“Don’t participate in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank”
It should be noted that there are a variety of different linking techniques, most of which Google accepts such as natural linking techniques, that use blog and directory links. The update looks to be Google vigorously enforcing its webmaster guidelines, which previously the misuse of, only resulted in sporadic punishment for a few websites.
The enforcement of the webmaster guidelines is happening, without any distinction being made between a website that blatantly manipulates the search algorithms, and those that use some paid links and appropriate link building strategies to deliver traffic.
In the case of some blogs losing PageRank, Google looks to have punished those who have used appropriate link building techniques. Controversy still reigns over the use of paid links, the latest response from Google is bound create even more.