Google’s PageRank and Google’s Justice System

google.jpgGoogle doesn’t look kindly upon attempts to game its PageRank system. Google PageRank is the way Google determines what order to display search results. The higher a page’s rank is, the higher up the page appears in a search results list.


According to Google:

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 manipulation of results, which is why users have come to trust Google as a source of objective information untainted by paid placement.

What happens when a website tries to game Google’s PageRank system? Philipp Lenssen has an interesting post about one such case over at Google Blogoscoped:

From what it looks like, the German websites of car maker BMW have been kicked out of the Google index. at this time has a PageRank of 0. A search for BMW Germany, which only days ago yielded as a top result, now doesn’t show any sign of at all. Instead, – BMW’s international site – is on top for this search.

The reason for the ban is likely to be that the BMW websites have been caught employing a technique used by black-hat search engine optimizers: doorway pages. German and international bloggers last week were quick to spread the news.

As you may know, a doorway page is stuffed full of keywords that the site feels a need to be optimized for; however, as opposed to real pages, this doorway is only displayed to the Googlebot. Human visitors will be immediately redirected to another page upon visit. And that’s exactly what happened at, as reported Wednesday.

I wonder whether an offending website can ever get reinstated. Or is the penalty one of permanent banishment?

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6 Responses

  1. Jared says:

    [Y]our page may have been manually removed from our index if it didn’t conform with the quality standards necessary to assign accurate PageRank. We won’t comment on the individual reasons a page was removed, and we don’t offer an exhaustive list of practices that can cause removal. However, certain actions such as cloaking…or setting up pages/links with the sole purpose of fooling search engines may result in permanent removal from our index. You may want to review our Quality Guidelines for more guidance. If you think your site may fall into this category, you might try “cleaning up” the page and contacting us with a re-inclusion request. We don’t make any guarantees about if or when we’ll re-include your site. (emphasis added). From what I’ve read elsewhere on the net, once you’re pulled from the index it’s rather difficult to get re-included. However, it doesn’t appear to be a permanent ban, necessarily.

  2. Eric Goldman says:

    Websites can be reinstated. In some cases, a friendly call to Google does the trick. Otherwise, Google’s algorithms are generally forgiving, but it can take months to get fully indexed again. Eric.

  3. Bruce says:

    Search King rides again.

  4. On the flip side of this coin are websites that do not violate Goog TOS or guidelines yet get yanked way down by an algorithm tweak.

    When a site suddenly loses 60% or 70% of the traffic it had earned by merit, the Google Justice System has earned a few demerits.

  5. here you can know the system of Pagerank.

    This is written in Japanese, but it’s worthwhile to read through auto translate service like

    Intensive research and explanation about PageRank, which is one of the elemental technology of the most popular search engine Google.

    Chinese version is also available here.

  6. Frank says:

    I can send you details on the SearchKing case–I think the first litigated controversy on this.