In roughly the past few weeks, Google has upgraded its indexing system to Google Caffeine and has one again become best search engine out there. Yes, even better than Bing. In addition to being faster and more accurate, Google is no longer easily manipulated by “black hat” SEO techniques. Anybody who bought incoming links from what are called high PR or Page Rank sites and connected them to relevant keywords on their homepage, depending on industry, could rank very highly for some pretty competitive search terms. In online marketing lingo, the improvement in s.e. rankings are referred to as “increase in SERP rankings” or some variation thereof. “SERP” stands for “search engine results page.”
Before Google Caffeine, the search engine used to determine its website rankings or SERP rankings for a particular search by the quality of “inbound links”. The higher ranked these links were and the more of them a site had, the better your search engine results would be. Makes sense, right? If the search engine ranked a site highly (see below for examples) and that particular site was vouching you were what you claimed to be, then, in most cases you were. Obviously, this did not turn out to be the case and Google needed to make a switch.
Google was basing the importance of these inbound links based on what is referred to as Google Page Rank. You can quickly look up the page rank “checker” if you would like to see examples. Page Rank or PR is ranked on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best. As one could imagine, there are not many 10s out there; the primary 10s are your Googles, etc. To a certain extent, link relevancy and Alexa had something to do with it, but the s.e. seemed to be manipulated by the same sites it ranked highly. To back track a second, link relevancy is how relevant a site to your industry was linking to you.
For instance, if you run a drycleaners in Dallas, any list with some Google authority (how much Google perceives google scraper that a website knows about a topic), would be considered a relevant inbound or incoming link. About a month and a half ago, a high PR (maybe 6) software site could make your rankings jump. This is no longer the case.
Sites with a high PR or Page Rank began selling text link ads to anybody and everybody. However, Google was giving out high Page Ranks to sites based on the sites they had linking into them. A lot of it started with a DMOZ link. DMOZ is an acronym for a website called “Open Directory Project” which is a very exclusive directory of websites, to say the least. I can only imagine the amount of submissions this site gets.
If you managed to get listed on DMOZ, Google would boost your PR as well jump your rankings in the SERPs. I’m sure there are other benefits to being included in this directory, though I have not studied the effects in too much depth.
So, if your site had a link from DMOZ it essentially was on steroids. It could pass this Page Rank from site to site. This would have a trickle effect. For instance, if you were in DMOZ, chances are you had a very solid PR, maybe a 7. Then, the included party would link to another site they own, and pass this Page Rank which may give you a PR 6. Through each website the passing of this ranking would become less and less potent, though the owner was left with one heck of an end-trail.
Then, the site owner would go to what is called a link broker and begin slapping irrelevant text ads on their site. Link brokers are no different than stock brokers or real estate brokers. They serve as the intermediary between a website owner and the party which would like to buy links. Prices on these links would vary, and could get into the $1,000s per month. There was and still is a direct relationship between the PR of and price paid for a website link.