Tag Archive | "Google"

Beware of the Google Panda When Buying Websites

Google Panda update
Most of us have heard and may have even been affected by Google’s changes in it’s algorithm. The latest update, called Panda, has been out for awhile. We’ve seen the demist of blog networks like Build My Rank and others that just post links to the network for themselves and their customer’s backlinking efforts. Well, those links could now hurt your site instead of help it rise in the serps.

This means, that in order to do due diligence when buying a website, you now have to take into consideration what kind of SEO has been done to the site. Things like checking backlinks, site load time, unique and fresh content, anchor text links, and much more. You’d be well advised to read this (a href=”http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/253550/keep_your_website_off_of_googles_naughty_list.html” target=”blank”>PC World article to get up to speed on the latest Google algorithm changes.

This will give you a good list of things to watch out for when buying sites. It’s no secret that when a site is on the decline in traffic or revenue, that many sellers will opt to dump the sites in Flippa or elsewhere as quickly as they can unload it for as much as they can get for it. A site that was once successful may now be a site that is doomed. It’s traffic and revenue could already be in decline and it may also be running the risk of getting deindexed by Google. How sorry would that be to buy a site only to have it deindexed in a short period of time or to buy a site that was making good revenue and will soon be making nothing?

Due diligence
has to go beyond just checking the stats that are listed on a website auction. You now have to check historical data such as backlinks … how many there are and where are they? Are they just blasted onto blog networks with spun content or thousands of social bookmarking sites with the same anchor text? Other things you have to check for that Google will now penalize sites for are:

  • Keyword stuffing
  • Anchor text heavy links
  • Slow load times
  • Building links on link farms
  • Too many ads and too many ads above the fold
  • Autoblogging: Lack of unique content
  • Stale content: site not updated frequently

There are of course many more Google changes and only Google knows most of them, but the above are some to be aware of and watch for when buying a website. Not checking could be a costly mistake.

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Fake PageRank Scams: Buyer Beware

fake pagerank

PageRank: Wikipedia: Principles of PageRank

A PageRank results from a mathematical algorithm based on the graph, the webgraph, created by all World Wide Web pages as nodes and hyperlinks as edges, taking into consideration authority hubs such as cnn.com or usa.gov. The rank value indicates an importance of a particular page. A hyperlink to a page counts as a vote of support. The PageRank of a page is defined recursively and depends on the number and PageRank metric of all pages that link to it (“incoming links”). A page that is linked to by many pages with high PageRank receives a high rank itself. If there are no links to a web page there is no support for that page.

There are a lot of forums and domain selling sites that are offering high PageRank domains for sale, but are they really high PageRank? There is a loophole in Google’s algorithm that scammers can game to make it appear that any domain has a high PageRank. These scammers simply redirect the domain with a 301 redirect to a high PageRank site and the redirected domain will pick up PageRank of the site that it is redirected to. There are numerous ways to do this. Some use cloaking to redirect it only when a Googlebot visits the site and some simply use a 301 redirect.

They then remove the redirect just prior to putting it up for sale. The unsuspecting buyer purchases a domain that he thinks has high PageRank and will give him a boost in the serps. The scammer could also be faking the PageRank in order to sell links on “high PageRank” sites.

Digitial Point forums has a domain selling section of their marketplace with quite a few “high PageRank” domains for sale. Take for example, this one: betsafesverige.com on this page http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=2375739. I ran this one through a rank checker at http://www.rankchecker.com. See in the screenshot below that it says the PageRank is valid. However, there are ZERO backlinks to the site in any of the search engines, the Alexa rating is very high, it’s not listed in DMOZ, and it has only one parked page listed in Google. The person who buys this domain will have a ZERO PageRank on their hands by the next time Google’s PageRank changes.


Here’s another interesting Digital Point forums scammer selling a fake PageRank domain, http://www.coolestaudiobooks.com/ at this listing: http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=2373472. Take a look at the blog below with one post, Hello World.

fake pagerank

This little gem allegedly has a PageRank 6. All that and ZERO backlinks anywhere, one Hello World post, Alexa rating through the roof, not listed in DMOZ or Yahoo. It’s not rocket science. If this site is really a PageRank 6, then PageRank is truly meaningless. Checked it at a PageRank Checker here, and you can see it says the PageRank is valid. Another interesting thing about this domain, when you search for the domain in Google using site:coolestaudiobooks.com, and then click on the Cache, you get a 404 Not Found error. Previously, one way to tell if a domain had fake PageRank was to check the Google cache and the cache would be the real site with the PageRank that the domain had been redirected to. That can’t be relied on as a way to check for fake PageRank, since this one has no cache and the one above this one is showing the correct domain in the cache. I can only assume that these scammers have found a way to get around the Google cache thing.

Fake PageRank

There are a ton more for sale on Digital Point that are highly suspicious. Exercise extreme caution when buying a domain from there with PageRank or anywhere else for that matter. Before I was aware of the fake PageRank scams out there, I bought one on Flippa that was fake and the PageRank rapidly disappeared after I bought the domain.

Before buying a domain that allegedly has PageRank, check it here and use whatever your favorite tools are to check for backlinks. If, like the site above, it has one Hello World post in a blog, and no backlinks, I would advise you not to buy that domain. If it has just one parked page and no backlinks, same thing. PageRank is assigned to pages, not domains and if that domain has no real pages (just a parked page or Hello World post), common sense will tell you that the PageRank is fake.

How Important is PageRank?

PageRank played a much larger role when Google was first launched than it does today. When Google was launched, there were just a few dozen ranking factors that were considered in Google’s algorithm, so each one carried more weight than they do today. Today there are over 200 ranking factors considered when ranking websites, so each ranking factors carries a lot less weight than they did previously.

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Google Profits from Piracy

I was sending out some DMCA notices for something that belongs to me that was being uploaded to filesharing and BlackHat sites … you know the drill. Typical low life pirate crap. I came across several sites that were promoting pirated products and running Adsense at the same time. I know that Google has a link to report Adsense abuse and spam in their index, so I used that and reported at least 20 sites that were promoting pirated products and running Adsense.

You know what their response was? In spite of sending a DMCA with the infringing page listed and the product name listed, etc., they issued a response saying they didn’t see any infringement and therefore would not be suspending the Adsense account of the [pirate].

All the hoopla over the big, bad Panda update and how Google wants only relevant results and “quality content” and blah blah blah.

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