Hello DMC ~
To answer your questions:
1. How often does Google update the "Backward Links"
Data and Page Rank?
There is no clear answer for "how often" this happens. "Subtle"
changes - that is, individual page or site changes, not overall
changes - happen on a regular basis.
There is also evidence on Webmaster World's discussion forum, albeit
anecdotal evidence, that there is a general "overall" page rank change
done periodically, but not on any kind of "timed" schedule.
The thread, "Google PR Update? New pages have PR this Saturday" is a
post by a particular webmaster (and regular contributer to Webmaster
World) who noticed an update on May 22nd,
"Just noticed that a bunch of new pages on my site
now have PR (on the toolbar). Sign of a upcoming
toolbar PR update, perhaps?"
Notice another poster, Mozart, indicate he cannot confirm it. There
was a previous flurry of updated PR about a month prior to that
(somewhere around April 21st).
As you can see, it can happen gradually or in some cases, a bunch of
sites are updated.
So the answer about "how often" is really impossible to answer. Google
knows, but Google isn't saying, so a good point of reference is either
Webmaster World (as noted above), or Jill Whalen's High Rankings
There are enough Google watchers to give some indication of when the
page ranks are updated, if they're not done as Google regularly crawls
2. Does Link Popularity actually raise "Page Rank" or is this just a
myth and it only raises your possible positions in Search Rankings?
Page Rank does not necessarily raise your position in search engine
results page (SERP) rankings. There are too many sites with good
relevant material not to make it to the top on SERP ranking,
regardless of the number of links to their site. When everything is
working as it should, this can be very much in evidence. Google, like
anyone else, is not perfect, and sometimes their tweak of their
algorithm may not produce the optimum results to a search query; but
as I said, when all is working as it should, the best (most relevant)
sites come to the top regardless of page rank.
Link popularity, on the other hand, does help with page rank. Here's
what Google says in its "Technology Overview",
"PageRank Technology: PageRank performs an objective
measurement of the importance of web pages by
solving an equation of more than 500 million
variables and 2 billion terms. Instead of counting
direct links, PageRank interprets a link from Page
A to Page B as a vote for Page B by Page A. PageRank
then assesses a page's importance by the number of
votes it receives.
PageRank also considers the importance of each page
that casts a vote, as votes from some pages are
considered to have greater value, thus giving the
linked page greater value. Important pages receive
a higher PageRank and appear at the top of the search
results. Google's technology uses the collective
intelligence of the web to determine a page's
importance. There is no human involvement or manipul-
ation of results, which is why users have come to
trust Google as a source of objective information
untainted by paid placement."
And, while not the be-all and end-all of information available about
link popularity, Jill Whalen's High Rankings site has a good article
on it here,
Note that she emphasizes Link Popularity has nothing to do with SERPs
ranking. What helps with SERPs ranking is relevance.
3. We have a couple other sites that do not appear anywhere
in Google's rankings. I fear they been blacklisted or banned
due to questionable "Black Hat" Tactics performed by a former
SEO company ...
This last question is harder to answer without knowing which specific
sites you are referring to.
There is no 'list' of sites which have or may have been banned from Google's index.
The best way to find out whether or not you are included in Google's
index is to put the URL in Google's search box. The results will tell
you whether or not you're included.
If you are not, the next question is whether or not you were included and removed.
If you suspect you were led astray by unscrupulous "Black Hat"
practitioners, Google recommends the following to find out if you were
indeed banned and how to fix it,
"If you think your site may fall into this category,
you might try 'cleaning up' the page and sending a
re-inclusion request to firstname.lastname@example.org. We do not
make any guarantees about if or when we will re-
include your site." [From "Other Reasons" your site
may not be listed in Google's index]
Google and Yahoo both removed WhenU recently for deceptive practices
(cloaking) ... although WhenU is blaming it on a third party. I am
sure neither Google nor Yahoo are impressed with that "third party"
excuse. WhenU should know better.
Some interesting articles on Google and Yahoo blocking WhenU:
- ClizkZ News, "WhenU Banished By Google, Yahoo!"
By Janis Mara | May 14, 2004
- CNet News, "Search engines delete adware company"
By Stefanie Olsen
I recommend admitting the error of your ways to Google, showing them
your "cleaned up" site and asking for reinstatement. If your site
contains relevant material, it is not an unreasonable request, and the
chances are good - provided you provide relevant material - that you
will be re-included.
As to how long it may take to be re-included, that is Google's choice.
It would be wise to remember that Google's responsibility to provide
the most relevant content in rsponse to a searcher's query. As a
website owner, it is your responsibility to make sure you meet the
guidelines google sets out.
Important Google Links For Your Reference
I am 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 owner).
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
* 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.
In addition, 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
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 Terms Used ~
- WhenU + Google
In addition to the above search, the answers provided were gleaned
from reliable information and resources I have bookmarked and use in
my day-to-day business.
Hope this helped,
Google Answers Researcher