Paid links can reduce Google PR. Removal of paid links followed by a reinclusion request can get PR back to what it should be - all within 7 days!.

Case Study - SLAMXHYPE

I recently consulted with SLAMXHYPE for SEO of their men’s fashion website. Part of the SEO question was why their Google PR was so low. With thousands of incoming links, their Google PR was only PR3. I considered their PR should have been a PR5-6.

I noted there were sitewide footer links to 24+ other websites in a COMPLEX Media Network. The links were not proper search phrase links, but links with the domain name/business name in them. These links were NOT paid links, but merely links to others in their network of websites. However, we considered they LOOKED like paid links to Google.

It has been known since 2007 that having “paid links” on your website can lead to a “paid links” penalty shown by a reduction in the homepage Google PR of your website by 2 or 3 points. “Official: Selling paid links can hurt your pagerank or rankings on Google”

So we submitted a reconsideration request on 27 Jan 2010, got an increase from PR3 to PR5 on about the 3 Feb 2010 when the webmaster tools “We’ve processed your reconsideration request” message came through.” = 7 days!!!

This is the first time that I have seen such a prompt response with an actual change being able to be seen on Google. Most reconsideration requests I have sent have seemingly been ignored, or have been possibly too hard for Google to fix. Even when we have received processed request notifications, I have not seen changes on Google.

I was most impressed by Google’s prompt response. Thanks Google.

It was a very real reinforcement that the Paid Links Penalty still exists.

The Yellow/Finda/Wises group of websites is one group that springs to mind. Their websites of Yellow, Finda, Wises, Menus, Sella, Grownups, and Guide to Auckland… all have links in the header to their other websites. But not 24+ links like the SLAMXHYPE site had.

Despite the whole of site links between the websites, I do not consider the websites have been penalised. for instance was a PR4 before being part of the group. Now it is a PR7. No reduction in PR there.

So PR can be reduced by whole of site links between websites, but it is certainly not the case in all examples.

It could be due to the links being at the top of the html? So more like navigation links rather than paid links? And not as many of them as the SLAMXHYPE website.

Whole of site links like the Finda group of websites is still a concern, and I would personally recommend such websites to have only one page per website specifically promoting such website partners. Given the SLAMXHYPE example, I consider it too much a risk.

What are your experiences with whole of site footer links?