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Q: Mysterious Google PageRank Zero ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Mysterious Google PageRank Zero
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: dryheat-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 06 Apr 2003 10:22 PDT
Expires: 06 May 2003 10:22 PDT
Question ID: 186836
I manage our software company web site. I originally submitted our
site for search engine listing in early January. We appeared in Google
in February with a PageRank of 4 and high placement in the results
pages. I worked to make our web site relevant with on-page content and
appropriate use of keywords. I did not use any bad or even
questionable techniques for high ranking, only on-page content
optimization and submission through the Microsoft bCentral Submit-It

What I need: The reason or reasons why this happened or could have
happened and what I can do to correct it.

What I do not need: General recommendations on search engine
optimization. I consider my knowledge of search engine optimization
well above-average for someone not working in the SEO business.

Web site: 

Targeted search terms: pizza software, pizza pos software, pizzeria
pos software
Subject: Re: Mysterious Google PageRank Zero
Answered By: sgtcory-ga on 06 Apr 2003 14:27 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello dryheat,

Thanks for the very thorough question. I won't add any fluff to this
answer ;-)

We Researchers are an independent branch of Google. We are not
associated with the search department, and can not guarantee listings.
(Not even SEO's can do this) I have in the past however, answered
several questions related to the Google index, and I am sure I have
found the cause in your case. I have near a 100% success rate of
helping webmasters. To put your mind at ease about my qualifications
in this area, I own my own Linux server, and run several websites that
are all included in the Google index, most with a PageRank of 5 or
higher. You can click on my name above to see past answers I have

"What I do not need: General recommendations on search engine
optimization. I consider my knowledge of search engine optimization
well above-average for someone not working in the SEO business...."

I prefer to stay away from the term SEO. As you will read at the end
of my answer - Google gives credit where credit is due. All of the
answers are at the Google site, and most SEO 'professionals' try to
find work arounds from what already works rather well. This is what
'throws webmasters for a loop'.

Q. The reason why this happened...and what I can do to correct it?

As of right now, your site is showing zero (0) links pointing to it.

Google PageRank works on a systematic linking network. Sites that are
relevant to yours link to you, and in turn your site gets a higher
rating. It is definitely a little more complex than this, but
expanding your relevant link network will surely increase your
ranking. This rank will always fluctuate with regard to many factors,
including the PageRank of sites linking to yours.

Google information page (See #2) Why has my PageRank changed?
"You may want to check and see if the number of other sites linking to
your URL has changed. This is the single biggest factor in determining
what sites are indexed by Google, as we find most pages when our
robots crawl the web and jump from page to page via hyperlinks...."

To find out what sites in the Google index link to yours you can type
the following in the Google search box:

As you can see by the results, there are currently no sites linking to
yours. This is why your PageRank is low. There may have been sites
that linked to your site before, but they :

- no longer exist.(In the Google index. There may still be sites
- have lost PageRank themselves.
- may have missed an index. (due to site errors or other reasons)

You can read more about Google PageRank, and how linking with relevant
sites is very important here:

Google PageRank Technology Overview

Here are some sites that I recommend asking for a free link on, to
help boost your current listing : (software)

Here is a directory that costs money to submit to. I can tell by the
professional design of your site, and price you are willing to pay for
this answer, you are very serious about overall business exposure. The
following site exposes your company to users on such sites as Yahoo,
Hoovers and Inc. It also has a very modest PageRank, and is
complementary to your needs, vice a competitor.

Knowledge Storm (They have a restaurant software section)

Your site is also not in the DMOZ index. This is important, because
Google stores a local copy of this index, and updates it regularly. If
your site is in the DMOZ index, it will then be included in the Google
Directory. This link is important in overall factoring for PageRank.
Here are two categories I suggest you try submitting your site to. You
should only submit to one, so it's up to you to decide where you
better fit:

Hospitality Software

Point of Sale Systems - Hospitality

It may take weeks to get your site added. Once it is included, and
Google grabs the new release of the database, your PageRank factoring
will be affected. Not one person can tell you how it increases the
PageRank (as far as algorithm calculations), as Google likes to keep
this a secret. It does have an important effect.

In closing, the Google information for webmasters says it best:

"Webmasters who spend their energies upholding the spirit of the basic
principles listed above will provide a much better user experience and
subsequently enjoy better ranking than those who spend their time
looking for loopholes they can exploit."

I have been abiding by these regulations since my first inclusion, and
enjoyed much success with my relevant listings.

You just need more links out there, on related websites. I wish you
the same success!

Search Strategy Used:
No search strategy was used in to assist with this answer. Most
information provided was from personal knowledge and past experience.

Thanks for the great question. If you feel any portion of this answer
is unclear, please ask for clarification. I will do everything I can
to assist you further.

Best Regards,

Clarification of Answer by sgtcory-ga on 06 Apr 2003 17:44 PDT
Hello dryheat,

It's also been brought to my attention about the common misconception
of Google PR0(zero). (Stuff you read at SEO sites about being banned,
which have no evidence of such a claim. We do however have a written
claim from Google, that webmasters who do the right thing will always
"enjoy better ranking than those who spend their time looking for
loopholes they can exploit."

Sites with a PR0 do exist, and most are not banned. I have had them on
several occasions, as have hundreds of other webmasters, including
some at the famed

Considering the facts, my answer rings correct:

- You did not partcipate in any scams or link exchanges (evident)
- Your site has had a previous high ranking
- There are no sites linking to yours
- You are an honest webmaster, who's made no attempt at cloaking
- Google has your site in it's index. Here is a local site search :

Search for the word test test


I hope this clarifies the answer a little. When I jumped on to answer
the question, I was fully aware that I could not offer a 100%
guarantee, and under the impression you already knew that as an
experienced webmaster. The answer is however, all based on facts
available at :-)

Thanks again,


Request for Answer Clarification by dryheat-ga on 07 Apr 2003 15:44 PDT
Thank you for the answer! I suppose I read the search engine news too
frequently and I'm worried about our PageRank vanishing so
mysteriously. As I expected, I am likely looking very hard to find the
forest but my view is blocked by the trees. I don't look for shortcuts
or easy ways of building our web presence overnight, so banning by
Google is very unlikely.

I would like clarification on two points in your answer:

First, your referenced potential sources for inbound links. I know
about chef2chef, but all the others are new to me. I have not seen
these URLs on backward link searches from the Google toolbar. Where
did you find them? Are there better ways than Google backward links to
find the sites that are linking to our competitors?

Second, our DMOZ listing. I did our DMOZ submission in January with my
initial search engine work. I have tried for two weeks to resubmit to
DMOZ but apparently their server is overloaded. I was successful last
Friday. Are you aware of unexpected listing delays or resource
problems at DMOZ that would delay our listing?

And one easy closing question: Are you aware of any dirty tricks our
competitors could play on us to hurt our search engine ranking?

Clarification of Answer by sgtcory-ga on 07 Apr 2003 17:17 PDT
Hello dryheat,

Thanks for the clarification requests! I am here to help as much as I
can, so here you go:

Q. Where did you find them? (Sites that you may want to link up with)

I wasn't looking for competitors links or linking partners. I did a
few smaller searches (that I should have listed) to search for
complimentary/compatible sites:

pizza business

pizza business software

I could have dug deeper, however I was content to use sites that were
listed within the first few pages. You could skim these search results
at your leisure and see what other sites are up to par with your
business requirements with respect to linking. I always look for well
worded, and concise sites with a relevant theme. Of course I always
take a glance at PR, as I simply wouldn't want sites that were
irrelevant or 'abusing the system' to be associated with my hard work.

I inadvertantly added the Chef2Chef site, as robertskelton pointed out
- your site is already listed there. In short, I wasn't really
concerned about your competitors links as of yet. I was concentrating
more on where to get inbound links for your business, that meet a
matching criteria.

Q. Are there better ways than Google backward links ... competitors?

When used in conjunction with Google, Alltheweb provides a fairly
accurate resource for backwards links. The second link is a report
that is a little bit older, but you can cleary see that Alltheweb is
now *probably* the closest competitor that Google has, and is also a
good source of targeted traffic.

Your backward links at Alltheweb

Search Engine Showdown

Q.Are you aware of unexpected listing delays...would delay our

Yes. DMOZ has many categories that don't have editors. Since most
webmasters understand the importance of being listed here, one can
guess at how many sites are waiting to be listed.

There are literally thousands of sites that also use live DMOZ data
through server socket, and other grabbing methods. This seriously bogs
it down, and I have rarely seen an optimal day. It goes down
frequently, and is often overloaded with requests. This is not to say
this is not a great resource, because it is. Sites like Google do not
use live data, rather an import into their own database.

On the DMOZ site it states :
"Once your site is listed in the ODP, it may take up to 2 weeks or
more for your site to appear..."

This wait time is more in the range of 2 weeks to 2 months, and I
think the DMOZ site will state this upon a successful submission. I
know when I had 2 of my former sites listed with them, it took 2

Q. Are you aware of any dirty tricks ... us to hurt our search engine

Maybe on other search engines. Since PR is fundamentally a reflection
of your inbound links, your Google listing is determined more by this
and 99 other factors ;-)

They could however trick you into doing things that may not be a good
idea. An example would be:

Another Pizza Software site telling you they have found the ultimate
way to get more traffic, and then asking you to add a free for all
links page to your site. Since Google is *more than likely* aware of
many of the FFA linking scams that exist, your site may be associated
in some fashion. I know - it's a stretch ;-)

Short of that, I stick by what is printed at the Google site :
"There is almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or
have your site removed from our index. Your rank and your inclusion
are dependent on factors under your control as a webmaster, including
content choices and site design."

Thanks again for the request. If I can still be of further assistance,
please do not hesitate to ask. I look forward to helping -


Note :
I wanted to note the great comments by robertskelton. He approached me
about your question, as he also answers many questions in this area.
Our opinions vary little on issues with concern to PageRank, but he
and I agreed that your inbound links lack the PR to show up as linking
to you. Most sites with a PR lower than 4 will not show up as linking
to you when you utilize the backwards link tool. (Some do show up
sometimes, just adding to the proof that one would need to link with
higher PR sites that compliment the theme of said site.)

He visits WebmasterWorld quite often, and admittedly it has some great
ideas. You just have to look for the posts by some of the senior
members that have had sites around for some time, as many of the post
are irrelevant.

dryheat-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thorough answer, extremely willing to supply all the information I
asked for in my original and clarification questions. I recommend this
researcher and Google Answers highly.

Subject: Re: Mysterious Google PageRank Zero
From: robertskelton-ga on 06 Apr 2003 18:31 PDT
Often when a new page gets picked up by the Freshbot first, before
appearing in the index proper, it gets a good PageRank. You can tell
if the initial listing was due to the Freshbot, because:

1) It appears sometime between major Google index updates
2) It has a date in the listing, of when it was last visited

When the next major update occurs, and the page is part of the index
proper, it should get a more accurate PageRank. Sometimes it takes
until the following update.

There are two pages which Google knows are linking to your site:

Google may have determined that because these are just link pages,
they are not of any worth. The focus on quality incoming links seems
to have intensified in recent months.

I suggest following sgtcory-ga's advice and get some good incoming
links, especially from Open Directory.

Google Answers Researcher

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