Hi Erich ~
What you are noticing is that Google is factoring the quality of links
in its ratings, something it has always done, but which is much more
Andrew Goodman of Marketing VOX Search explained it in the April 13th
issue of Search this way,
"PageRank has always been a complex measure of
reputability based on the linking structure of
the web, not simple link popularity. By now it's
been tweaked and modified based on whatever
mathematical genius dozens of Stanford PhD's can
throw at the problem. And according to public
statements by Sergey Brin, PageRank is "one of
maybe 50 things we look at" in determining rank
[Note: You will have to sign up (subscribe) in order to read the
entire article, but it is free]
This isn't so much a "penalty" as it is no reward for what are
referred to as "spammy" links, that is links from link exchanges on
sites whose subject matter isn't related to your own, automated
reciprocal link signup pages, etc.
Mr. Goodman continues,
"Here's the thing. Spammy, automated-link-generation,
shortcut techniques *often work*. We all know this
because I see clients' competitors in #1 positions
using the worst horrid link schemes. They win...for
the short term ... at least we know that Google
tries to neutralize the impact of such things in
determining rankings ..."
In other words, the links that matter are ** relevant ** links to your
pages, not links on a list of 'links' or 'resources' which really
nothing more than a page full of links in an effort to increase
PageRank on Google.
You are right, Google is not listing any links to your site at all. An
easy way to check what Google determines as "links", while at the same
time finding any links to your site, is to search Google for your own
A search for www.work-at-home-dot.com on Google produces the following results,
"Work At Home Dot Com :: Home Based Business "TOP PICKS"
Home Jobs WORK AT HOME. OPPORTUNITY. JOB CENTER. *Erich
Winnecke Webmaster. Free Work at Home Jobs and Home
Based Business Opportunities. 2004 ...
"Google can show you the following information for this URL:
* Show Google's cache of
* Find web pages that are similar to
* Find web pages that link to
* Find web pages that contain the term
Clicking on "Find web pages that link to ..." produces 0 results:
While clicking on "Find web pages that contain the term ..." produces
"about 530" results.
A check of the first ten links on the results for "contain the term"
show that seven are "add a link" pages (considered a linking scheme or
the type of link that is no longer rewarded); one is an internal link
from your own site. This is no doubt the reason links aren't showing.
In order to be fair, I also checked links to your site using All The
Web. Here are the results there:
The number one link on All The Web is a "sponsored link" on the Power
Home Biz website. The rest are more of the same type of links. Google
has simply stopped rewarding these types of links, and instead
utilizes its PageRank technology as it was intended to be used, that
is rewarding ** relevant ** links, that is, links from relevant sites
contained within that site's content in a natural manner.
Has this happened across the board yet? Of course not. It takes time
to apply those algorithms to over 6 billion indexed pages.
Will we continue to see this happen? As a searcher, I hope so.
Google's responsibility is to bring the most relevant search results
to any search query. Utilizing a computer and mathmatics to do so can
give some webmasters ways to "trick" the search engine crawlers - but
only for a while. We see this now in all those link page links which
no longer count. This is what has happened to your own site.
Can it be fixed? Of course, but in order to do so, you are going to
have to obtain links from relevant sites within that site's content.
Paid ads on those sites or being included on a page with numerous
other links isn't going to count for much, and in time may even be
more severely penalized.
Surprisingly, sites which stay high in search engine results pages
(SERPs) are those with content and which don't rely on links to the
site in this manner. In fact, most of them don't even ask for links to
their site at all, the content is relevant and important enough by
itself that others naturally link to the site as a valuable resource.
Lastly, chasing links is like aiming at a moving target. It may help
for a while, but ultimately, if your site doesn't have relevant
content, you're going to be buried so low in search engine results you
might as not be listed at all.
Important Google Links For Your Reference
I have taken the liberty of including important links from Google's
site. This information will help you understand Google's goals and
responsibility to the web searcher (and not the webmaster or site
Webmasters who follow the guidelines and avoid Google's "Thou shalt
nots" usually have no problem getting listed and showing up under the
search terms they desire.
* Google Today (absolutely the best information you
can read about the "how and why" of Google's results
* How Do I Get My Site Listed on Google?
* My Web Pages Are Not Currently Listed (a good 'primer'
on how and why Google works so well)
* PageRank Information (covers both Google's PageRank and
* Webmaster Guidelines (contains both the dos and don'ts)
* Google Facts & Fiction (can you buy your way to a
high ranking in Google?)
* Search Engine Optimizers (some good advice on what to look
for if you're going to hire a Search Engine Optimizer)
* Frequently Asked Questions (pretty much what it says, but
definitely worth wading through)
* Remove Content from Google's Index (just in case you feel
a burning need to start all over again)
Other Sources of Information
There is also good information from many of the top search engine
optimization experts, such as
* Andrew Goodman, Moderator MarketingVOX Search
* Detlev Johnson, Search Engine Guide
* Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Watch
* Jill Whalen, High Rankings
* Shari Thurow, Web Pro News (and quoted all over the Internet)
who all have columns or newsletters to which you can subscribe and
keep abreast of the best way to use good content for better
positioning in search engine results.
Incidently, all of the above have recently commented on the change in
the algorithm to reduce just the type of links mentioned in the answer
to this question.
In addition to the above resources, Webmaster World -
http://www.webmasterworld.com/ - has discussion boards on most of the
search engines. While some of the discussions are anecdotal and/or
questions for information, there is usually enough discussion to keep
abreast of what seems to be happening.
There is an entire section devoted to Google at:
It never hurts to keep track of the discussions; but remember, trying
to optimize for search engines only is like trying to hit a moving
target. You'll notice among the more experienced contributors to the
discussions - plus the SEO experts listed above - that there really is
no substitute for content, ** relevant links ** and good HTML.
Search techniques ~
Besides those specific searches listed in the answer above, I relied
on resources and bookmarked information utilized on a daily basis.
Best of luck to you,
Google Answers Researcher
Clarification of Answer by
23 Apr 2004 13:08 PDT
Hi again Erich ~
If you were being penalized by Google, your site wouldn't appear at
all in Google's search results, even searching for the domain name. As
a rule, they will respond with an email explaining your site doesn't
meet its standards.
It's not surprising that your PageRank has dropped to 0 (at least it
isn't greyed out), and that would be consistent with the lack of links
TO your website.
At the very bottom of your landing page is the following text (with a link):
"Work at Home Dot Com - :: :Resources Page-
Click Here to have website considered"
Which links to this page:
The content on this page, such as:
"All These resource pages have been indexed by most
all the important search engines meaning that your
listing here will be helpful to your website's
"Our only requirement is that the page you place our
link is a resource page on your site... and that the
page you submit is a quality Home Business Oriented
website and have a minimum PR4 rating by Google #1.
Place our listing on your website."
There is no other way to interpret this than a linking scheme, which
Google has been penalizing.
Two very open statements about "helping" rankings will not help your
site at all. In fact, it is considered spam - and there's no way
around it, link schemes and spamming search engines is going to get
you placed extremely low in results.
It's time to think about how you list othersites, and then to provide
good information so other sites will link to yours because your
information is important, not to increase their ranking.
The same goes for the sites you link TO (and gathering them). It's
time to link to relevant information and not worry about their
PageRank, either. If the information they contain is relevant to your
site, they should be added without any thought to whether or not they
link to yours or what their PageRank is. Such overt references to
PageRank and increasing ranking, though, just shows a linking scheme,
and Google isn't going to reward that, no matter how relevant your
Put simply - such schemes worked for a while, they don't now.
In fact, although "penalty" may be a very strong word, sites engaging
in this practice are finding themselves ranked so low in search engine
results pages they might as well not be listed at all. There are too
many other sites listed which don't engage in linking schemes that can
be listed to continue to let this practice remain.
Hope this helps,
Clarification of Answer by
23 Apr 2004 19:12 PDT
Hi Erich ~
You don't need me to point out the obvious, that yours is a
competitive industry and unfortunately, there are a lot of scams
involved to dupe innocents in the "work at home" industry.
The best way to rank well in SERPs is to build trust. One way to do
that is to ensure the opportunities you offer are legitimate offers.
Another way is to offer information and resources in the way of
articles and other pertinent information to help your site's visitor
make smart choices. The more information you can offer to help your
visitors, the more natural linking will occur. That's a natural.
People will naturally link to any "good" information or resource - and
not the other kind.
If I were in your shoes, I'd make sure my site was top notch. There
are so many sites with basically the same "opportunities" as your
page, and the only difference is that the link has their tracking
I'd personally check out and ensure that every opportunity was
legitimate, I'd give warnings about those that are less than
legitimate (after all, the Government does it!), and I'd make it a
matter of personal integrity that any opportunity I offered was
It might take some time, because there are no "overnight success
stories", but by the time you've earned the reputation, you will be
earning more as the ultimate guru than any commission you might gain
by referrals or any other way.
And right now? I'd write firstname.lastname@example.org, ask them if you have been
penalized, tell them you have seen the errors of your ways and ask
them to re-include you in their directory. Please note: As of right
now, you are not penalized in the manner of being deleted from the
directory, but it doesn't hurt to ask and mention the changes there.
I would also resubmit the site using Google's Add:URL page here,
Neither of those will hurt, although they may not help, either. But it
doesn't hurt to try.
The other way (what I would do) will just take more time, but will
work, because if you became the ultimate expert of legitimate work at
home opportunities, no search engine would dare miss including your
Hope this helps,