BLOG BIZ: Debito.org’s Google Page Rank drops from 4 to Zero overnight. Unsure why

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Hi Blog. Just a bit of Blog Biz for today. A concerned Debito.org Reader wrote:

=========================================
On Jun 16, 2014, a Debito.org Reader wrote:

Debito, I could be in error, but it looks like your Google page rank has been reduced from 4 to 0. I would talk to someone who knows about this stuff and ask them what’s up. If I am correct, you should regard that as a serious issue.

It’s a mystery to me: I use a Safari on my mac. There’s a plug-in that gives you page rank, so I always see it when I visit a site:
http://any-tech.ws/page-rank/

I think yours has always been 4 or 5. Perhaps 5, which is *really* good for a site like yours. I don’t recall ever seeing another site’s ranking just suddenly disappear. It could just be a glitch. But I doubled checked this — and your page rank is not showing up anywhere:
http://checkpagerank.net/index.php

GooglePageRank070514

(Google Page Rank according to the above link as of July 5, 2014)

My best suggestion would be to check Google’s webmasters toolkit. If you don’t have an account, I would create one, it’s very helpful. Often they will tell you if there is a problem.

[NB:  I have done this.  The Google web masters toolkit has indicated after a scan that there is nothing problematic about this site, and thus offer no avenue for query or appeal to Google.]

Your page rank is an important factor in how well your site ranks in search engines. It’s not the *only* factor — but it’s the one most closely related to your web authority. If this *just* happened — you might not notice an immediate impact, but over time the traffic you receive from Google would begin to decline.

If you are the *only* person with a webpage about a particular topic, you’ll continue to rank in Google’s search engine. If you and 100 other sites are taking on the same topic, you’ll fall to the bottom of the list. You have a massive archive, so on many topics, *only* you have a page — you’ll get traffic on those pages. But on competitive topics, your traffic will fall off. Does that make sense?

Unless this is all a weird glitch. In which case maybe nothing will happen. You could just monitor it for a while …

Sincerely, a Debito.org Reader.

=========================================

I have, and I still don’t know weeks later what happened and what it all means.  I have also checked the page ranking of other sites (such as sites that do online stalking), and they are not zero, despite being nowhere near Debito.org’s external back links, referring domains, back links, or PR Quality.  Clearly something’s fishy.

Anyone out there know anything about this?  I would appreciate the feedback and advice.  Thanks.  Now back to the issues of human and civil rights and life in Japan that Debito.org has constantly and fearlessly covered for nearly two decades…  Dr. ARUDOU, Debito

9 comments on “BLOG BIZ: Debito.org’s Google Page Rank drops from 4 to Zero overnight. Unsure why

  • Edward J. Cunningham says:

    Nice to know that you have “fans” who work at Google or are really good hackers. Keep up the good work!

  • King of Punk says:

    Dear Dr. Arudou
    I checked various very well known and high traffic internet site, they all showed me a null pagerank !!!
    there is certainly something happening in Google house.

  • Loverilakkuma says:

    If I remember correctly, we had the DNS issue on debito.org in the past. And it seems like we may or may not see that coming in a not-so-distant future (Hope we won’t, but who knows?). Sometimes I find trouble accessing to the website, as I receive “Internal Server Error” message,” which is not very often, though. Wonder if ISP is still replacing HDD and that has something to do with Google’s data-mining system.

  • Debito, if it’s any consolation it appears others have suffered the same demise with a deathly drop in pr rank for no apparent reason. Based on your solid back links the next google bot visit will hopefully make amends.

  • Found this discussion by coincidence, and would like to comment that Google Page Ranks are totally arbitrary to observers with the sole exception to the dude who programmed the algorithm, or modified your page rank and website credentials manually (it happens all the time at Google).

    By the way, the sheer number of backlinks or referring domains, letting alone the PR factor, have little to do with the Page Rank. I know a site with barely 875 links, 34 referrals, and a weak PR factor that has 4 Page Rank (tuweiming.net). And another has 18m links, 30k referrals, and very strong PR and only a Page Rank of 3 (article.wn.com).

    It is impossible, I claim, for Debito to find out the true reasons why his page rank suddenly dropped to 0. So, all commentary is vague and speculative. It could be a contemporary system error, or a revenge act by a Google employee. Or an unfortunate clash of unrelated factors -a policy change at Google, or the domain host, or a dysfunctional webcrawler. Or even the fact that Debito understandably mirrors some external content (for example, from The Japan Times) here, which has a cooperation with The New York Times, which means that now JP ranks much higher in the world to the disadvantages of those who mirror its articles -who are now harsher punished.

    There is also much fodder for the conspiracy theorists. For example, in Germany, offensive or anti-foreign websites are frequently monitored and occasional blacklisted (after having been reported by vigilant users). Personal websites in particular are vulnerable to illwishing. They are always suspicious to governments, the public, and search engines (because they are the opposite of peer-review and third-party promotion: they are self-publishing). Hence, personal websites are extremely vulnerable to arbitrary punishments, distrust, and ups-and-downs by internet monopolies.

    For example, I noticed that Debito is quite an accomplished writer and public intellectual, I think, yet his Google Search results on his name do not exceed 25k hits. How is that possible? Any truck driver or waitress gets more hits, partly because they don’t do SEO or have a personal website, so Google cannot corner them for self-advertisement. I know from talks with celebrities and CEOs (who are obsessed with Google statistics, especially Americans) that the best way is to “outsource” one’s personal website. Or better, do not have a personal website at all (unless it is just a photo and some contact information, but no content!). Then, Google search results would show hundreds of thousands search hits again, in Debito’s case -I’m almost sure of it.

    Google weights in promotion against self-advertisement all the time. For example, if your own IP address is your website’s most prominent customer, Google would punish the Page Rank instantly. Anyways, a page rank of 0 is outrageous and could have devastating effect on his business and reputation if not corrected. Let’s hope that Google will show mercy.

    Good luck!

    — Thank you for your analysis!

  • Not withstanding all the above. If you type debito into google search engine…its no.1 website listed, and endless other referrals.
    Thus is it worth worrying about?

  • I do SEO for a living. We rarely if ever pay attention to PageRank (which is just an arbitrary ranking for some factors that Larry Page likes, rather than the actual “rank” of your page). We tend to pay attention to something called Domain Authority (MOZ.com is the place to go to look for this), plus where a site shows up for certain keywords in Google Search.

    I wonder what the “use case” or “user profile” might be of someone searching for something on Google, and then travelling to debito.org. I would have to say that these are going to be for some pretty niche immigration-related terms, plus some Japanese character strings. For news stories, debito.org has to compete against massively powerful media domains, which will always win.

    It would be interesting to take a look at Google Analytics to examine site traffic. Of course, keywords are masked these days by Google, but you can still very generally speaking determine which visitors arrive through organic means (by searching for something and clicking on a search result) versus referral traffic (people who travel to debito.org from another website, or from social media such as FB and Twitter).

    Since there does not seem to be an attempt to monetize the site, and since discussion hasn’t dropped off, and since Debito himself is active on the JT and social media, sending folks to the site, I would not really worry too much about SEO.

    Still, if it is a concern, Debito.org seems slow to load these days. Site architecture and site performance are “ranking factors” when determining Google Search rankings. Duplicate content/pages is another issue.

    — Thanks everyone for the feedback!

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