"To the moon, Alice" -- Jackie Gleason (Ralph Kramden, The Honeymooners)
The BlogOSphere has been buzzing the last couple of days since everybody discovered that the Googly-Bear decided to update it's PageRank algorithm (there had been hints for weeks before, to be sure -e.g., Danny Sullivan, Oct. 7). Ah, "poor little me", huh?
Legions of very big blogging-related sites and commercial ventures -- Washingtonpost.com, Forbes.com, Engadget.com and SFGate.com noticed a downgrading in their PageRank. Some sites went up in PageRank. Our eggheadcafe.com site went from 5 to 6. One of my newest "playground sites", blogmetafinder.com, went from zero to a PageRank 3. This UnBlog remains unchanged, for now, at PR 5.
Most experts agree that the key determinant was the practice of "buying links" such as text link ads and the like. Apparently, Google just decided to close up this last little loophole, and they did it with ample warning too. Now, this is "big" - you may not grok it right away, but it's going to change the entire complexion of the web, and pretty quick, too. Hopefully, for the better...
As we all know, a whole industry has spawned with the goal of helping website operators obtain the highest rankings for certain keywords in search engines, and milk the most out of their AdSense accounts. Unfortunately, many of these SEO practices fall into the blue or black-hat SEO category, that's the one that got the Googly-Bear very upset.
And, you don't wanna upset the Googly-Bear, because it's a very, very big one. And when it gets mad, a whole lotta things can change overnight, yes?
Here's the "thing": If I've got a web site that's got a PageRank "7" and it's because I've got a bunch of backlinks from spammy or questionable sites that sell links, what I really have is a PageRank 7 that' s ready to go down the toilet overnight. If those spammy or questionable sites get demoted, my PageRank that's depending on them goes straight into the potty.
There will always be the crowd that doesn't want to put in legitimate effort for gain - the people that focus on how to "game the system", get DiggBoss points, manipulate PageRank, whatever.
Bottom line: Do things the old fashioned way. Don't buy or sell links. Put real content on your site or blog. Promote yourself ethically along the published Webmaster guidelines. And you won't be crying in your beer. If your venture got demoted in PageRank, better do some serious soul-searching, because it's more than likely the problem sits between your keyboard and your chair.
It will be interesting to see what happens in the next 2 to 3 weeks as lawyers start jockeying around this ambulance... Congress, of course, will need to get involved...
In Other News
Welcome to $100 oil and $4.00 gas, which I predicted a year and a half ago. If you take the time to look at the historical Oil vs. Inflation chart (which is a couple of years old) it is easy to see that inflation tracks oil prices pretty closely. Pencil in $100 oil, and you get the picture. And the Fed can't do crap about it because our economy is already in shambles and the only trick they've got is to raise the Discount Rate. With the mortgage / housing market down the crapper, there is no way they can do that. What do you get? An INFLATIONARY RECESSION. I give it about 6 months.