Turning a Negative Into a Positive

This latest round of Google PageRank downgrade has a bunch of webmasters tied up in a knot. On the surface, it sounds like a very bad thing and TechCrunch is even reporting that some sites will go under because of it. My feeling is that any site that goes under because of a downgrade in PageRank deserves to go under.

Situations Are What You Make Them

Any negative can be turned into a positive. Remember the first time Google slapped me? Many blogs were predicting the end of John Chow (some were even happy about it). Instead, my traffic went higher than ever because of all those blogs writing about the end of John Chow. In other words, those blogs more than replace the traffic that Google took away. Ironic, huh?

Every situation has two sides. Yes Google slapped a bunch of sites yesterday, including mine, and guess what? My traffic went up from all the buzz – people were checking out the sites being slapped. Also, I received enough new backlinks that I’ve moved into the 44th position on Technorati. The overall impact isn’t as great as the first Google slap because instead of just effecting me, it effected 1000’s of sites. In the long run, all these extra backlinks will be a positive and make Google irrelevant to my marketing strategy.

You Are The Only One That Matters

The truth of the matter is, Google doesn’t matter. The only one that matter is you and how you respond to a situation. When I was hit by the first Google slap, I had a choice: bend over backward and let Google dictate how things are done or be a evil pest and tell everyone they don’t matter. I decided to be a pest because it generates more buzz than falling in line. However, the main point is the decision was mine, not Google’s.

How Much Does a PageRank Downgrade Cost Me?

Traffic wise, a PR downgrade doesn’t cost me anything. I’ve noticed no decrease in search engine traffic so far and even if it does go down, it doesn’t matter. Google accounts for only 2% of total traffic and losing it all wouldn’t make much of a dent in the numbers.

I doubt it will affect my ability to sell links either, nor will it affect pricing that much. The last time I was at PR4, Text Link Ads sold my links for $200 per month. They increased the price to $240 when I went to PR6. Google’s mistake is thinking that every advertisers buys link for PageRank only. They don’t. Right now, PageRank is pretty much irrelevant. Want proof? Here you go.

Google PageRank: 5
RSS readers: 132

Google PageRank: 4
RSS readers: 34,538

The only thing Google has done is make link sellers come up with a new pricing system that won’t include PageRank. And with that, I have removed PageRank stat from my advertise page.

83 thoughts on “Turning a Negative Into a Positive”

  1. Ed Lau says:

    LOL! I love how you used Stephen as an example.

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      Haha, I thought that was pretty funny too. Poor Stephen. 😆

    2. Michael says:

      Same, I though it very quite funny too. But I do hope Stephen will be a little more RSS subscribers in the future. I will!

      1. Mike says:

        Who is stephen fung anyway?

  2. Stephen says:

    Yeah! Me too! Free link! 😆

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      A free link for being the “bad” example. Classic.

      1. ckacey says:

        and a free mention on http://www.john chow.com… 😀

    2. Michael says:

      But it is a special thing to get link by John

      1. With the audience and traffic John receives…what do you think, it is a special thing or no? 😛

    1. NIck says:

      I’d have to agree… I’d lose 75% of my traffic without google. Then I’d probably only be getting 150 per day instead of 700 unique visitors… Click for Nick… Why Not?

      1. David says:

        Same here, although I haven’t been the most active recently, I still get most of my traffic from Google

      2. I think that’s about the average percentage for most small/medium websites. Only maybe the top 1% in any market can afford to live without Google, John is has enough backlinks sucking in traffic for it not to matter, plenty of other websites would disappear.

  3. Screw PageRank. Subscribers are a better measurement of value.

    1. Down with Google! LOL

      1. Mike says:

        I’m really starting to hate google more and more as each day goes by.

  4. You make some great points, John. We think that there is too much noise in the blogosphere about PR. Then again, it seems to be the hot topic right now, but enough already!

    RSS subscriptions and number of readers is what is important! The heck with your page rank (says someone who hasn’t even ranked yet! 😀 ).

    You don’t need Google anymore. And does PR have anything to do with where you come up in an organic Google search anyhow?

  5. Jake says:

    We will roll with the punches. I am a bit ticked since I got hit on a site that doesn’t sell links. The only advertising is through YPN. The hits are down about 20% so far, but it will make it. It just stinks since it is a great earner.

    It is also a site that depends heavily on search results due to the type of site.

    Oh well other sites that do sell links kept their rankings. So my online earnings will keep rolling in just fine.

    Google sure lost in the battle. All bloggers should now unite and start using and recommending another search engine for now. I don’t care which one… how baout Yahoo they are getting much more relevant anyway.

  6. Shaun Carter says:

    I think Google made this move to make Page Rank completely useless. I really don’t see how anyone can take PR seriously anymore given the example John provided above. Link sales will most likely be done based on page traffic and CTR here forward.

    I have quite a few backlinks to my blog that are dofollow and yet Google doesn’t show more than a fraction of them. My blog gets hundreds of uniques daily and yet it is still a PR0.

    1. “Link sales will most likely be done based on page traffic and CTR here forward.”
      That’s what I look for now. CTR is the more important of the 2. 😉

  7. Court says:

    First of all John, let me just say that this is one of the best posts you’re ever written. People’s success will only be determined by their own attitudes. I got hit too, and that sucks but it will not affect my progress, in fact yesterday was my site’s biggest day ever.

    I do, however, think that people need to be more careful if they need to continue to get Google traffic. For some smaller blogs, they rely on it. This means to me that they should start coming up with other sources for traffic and they should also be somewhat careful with Google’s policies until they get there.

    Your blog was already sensationally popular before you got the first slap. I think that people should keep their options open in the beginning – at least until they get their traffic base. I think what you did when Google slapped you the first time was genius, but those people who have tiny blogs that rely on the small amounts of Google traffic they get to grow should be more careful.

  8. warzone says:

    I get what you mean, PageRank has had no relevance to the search engine results. I wish to wait till 2008 when the world will see googles new search marketing engine algorithm. People are gonna get BOMBED outta this world.

  9. James Wilcox says:

    A year ago I didn’t even know what PageRank was and I wish I still didn’t know. I think PR and Alexa and any other site tracking stat machine can’t replace true traffic. I don’t rely on any of these mechanisms to begin with…I just write what i write and let the traffic come on its own.

  10. goldfries says:

    Google PR is overrated in the first place.

    You could just have many friends and many links and get high PR even if you have lousy content.

  11. Does this mean Google has released the new page rankings?

  12. whydowork says:

    As much as I hate the passion with which most follow PR, I don’t think its something we can just all of a sudden say doesn’t matter anymore.

    It was (and still is) the foundation of one of the largest companies on the planet. It’s still a very important factor in judging quality on the web.

    For those interested, you can still read Sergei and Larry’s paper on the Stanford site:

  13. Good for you John as I know we can always count on you to lead us to the right dirrection for making money online. Thanks for the great post.

  14. 77 says:

    Saying a site deserves to go under is too much. I hope there is no one out there dependent on the added income their site may provide. Who knows, maybe some guy on disability with a family to feed, mortgage to pay, etc…

  15. Domtan says:

    There’s something more deeper than just selling ad links. Many bloggers have stated that they don’t sell ad links, yet they’ve been penalized too. So either Google is dropping PageRanks at random. Or there’s more to it than just selling ad links. Only Google knows.

  16. Wow, that is awesome to hear John. Go JChow! The root of evil that cannot be stopped! even by Google. 👿 👿 👿

    1. Do you think one day John will stop his evilness?

  17. Daniel says:

    What happened to good old views per month? Isnt it more relevant how many see (click) your ad/link then how cool the site is that shows it?

    Id rather buy a space that gives me
    $1.000 in business than $10k in ‘props’

  18. chtanxw says:

    Why people so care about their PR? For ads. bargaining? For fame? For Google donation? … Just ignore this irrelevant thing! Concentrate on your own contents and concentrate on your businesses (selling or selling links)! Your efforts will be reflected in the future.

  19. simon says:

    Totally agree wih every situation has two sides. My blog (adsense-tw.com) is banned by Google because the domain using Google Trade Mark. Without Google AdSense, I sell my ad spots directly. I didn’t expect to sell any of the ad spots but I do sell some of the spots. Moreover, I write more paid review and make more money than before. Without Google AdSense, I still can make money online. That is how I turn a negative into a positive!

    1. My compliments. This is absolutely motivating talk. I hope that a lot of people read your comment.

  20. Justin says:

    John I couldn’t agree with you more on this issue. I wrote an article similar on my blog. Basically PR is really irrelevant. Social networking is what its all about. By the way, when will you let me do an interview with you?

  21. There are all kinds of ways to determine how much to pay for advertising, and when it comes down to it, PageRank is definitely not one of the best ones. If someone wants to purchase advertising then here’s what I recommend for them: Look at the site’s RSS subscriber count, the traffic amounts, and the number of comments the site’s articles receive. After looking at those, you can start glancing over the less reliable methods of finding out how “great” a site is and check out the Alexa, Technorati, etc.

    Google is stupid and needs to get their act together. Let’s boycott Google. 😀 (Like that’d ever work in the least bit).

  22. great008 says:

    John, you have a great site. Hopefully the big G has something positive planned to offset all the negative changes lately. As always, keep up the good work JC!!

  23. webduck says:

    In the great scheme of things, did any of you think that in your lifetime you would be even discussing your blog’s PR? I began blogging on Typepad knowing that I had to pay for it each month, with no thought or knowledge of PR. By the time I began my second blog iPentimento, I had made enough to pay for a year of my own WordPress blog. What I haven’t gained in $$ I have gained in knowledge and experience.

    My blog Pentimento dropped from a PR4 to a 3, but all it meant was that PayPerPost opps will be less lucrative. Ah gee! I don’t blog for income though, and if someone is doing that, then they have to know there are risks.

    Quality posts will always be more relevant, and pay off more monetarily, than having your PR determined by the Google Gestapo.

    1. Well said. All those who do not blog for money are rotfl!

  24. I like your take on this situation….too bad many don’t have the same attitude as you do.

  25. Site going under? Screw that and get on with things.

  26. Jeremy says:

    If you are looking for an amazing ad program go to “widgetbucks.modulehoster.com”.

    If you use this link you can get pay per click ads and you start with a balance of $25!

  27. lyricsreg says:

    PR may not matter for you John, but it makes a lot of difference to me. I rely on search engine thaffic

  28. Google aims at dominating its market position by making blogs and websites dependent on its services. I think the authorities should make concerted efforts at encouraging rival companies to have a similar ranking scheme basically to promote fairplay….otherwise Google will continue playing with the figures 😆

    1. No need for any authorities. The market place will take care of this.

  29. Jack says:

    I think the only people who care about PR at all are those who making money by taking advantage of naive people who will pay more for a link based on an amost meaningless number. We care about $$$, which comes from actual traffic, not PR. I have PR0 sites that make more than PR6 sites, and I have sites with few links that make money.

  30. Mike says:

    Well done John, keep up the good work.

  31. That is the most stimulating blog that I have seen in the recent past. I too think that a lot of noise is being made on a matter of no consequence. I suspect that it is a matter of pride on the PR number rather than any practical reason.

    I also expect google to come out with a statement shortly. All this negativity must be getting to them!

  32. Wayne Liew says:

    I don’t think that the Google Page Rank downgrade has hit you very hard. I can see more links are being sold now, even after the downgrade. People want your readers, not your Page Rank I guess…

  33. warzone says:

    For John Chow its easy because of the traffic he gets. But for those people after making some decent amount of traffic and are still not there yet, its a hard way to get some links sold now. A lot of people have that thing in their head where pagerank makes you more relevant in results but I guess Google is trying to dispel that.

  34. Don’t feel bad John , Pagerank is FUBAR and I can prove it. The kid that runs phpbbhacks.com, I give him due respect of course BUT, all he has to do to get a PR5 site is link a domain to his network. Check this out, he doesn’t even DO ANYTHING with the sites but they get PR5 anyway. http://www.soulgaze.com/ is one example, PR5 baby but still says “Hello World, this is my blog” and WORSE is that there is no content AND 10 text-link-ads sold.

    50% of his sites are amazon affiliates running adsense, most PR6, not only that but he has one of those adsense accounts that let you alter the code to test new units that most of us can’t get. The top right section of his personal blog LOOKS like a menu, its all adsense WITHOUT the “ads by Google”.

    Please do a write up on this guy as an example and give Google what they deserve… a strong tap on the shoulder letting them know were watching them too. I GUARANTEE you’ll find 20 other unfair things, this kid is their poster boy of testing and carte blanche because he’s not 18 yet.

  35. limadang.com says:

    john, i knew it will never affect you in the first place..coz you are not doing any ppp or…others similar things accept selling ur text link and others banner ads 🙂 and always remember about your say, Readers first google come second hahahh thanks for the words!

  36. Moulinneuf says:

    Anyone got a list of the big sites going under because of this ?

  37. Dandruff says:

    It doesn’t matter how google behaves. Your blog has been one of the finest blog I have come across. I am sure come what may your readers won’t leave you.

  38. Awanish says:

    True, that PR is not going to affect John or may be others too. but think of PR, it is not something you want to throw away. There are lots of advertisers who still evaluate you on the basis of PR or give importance to PR.

  39. Shams says:

    John you are really strong and very confident. That’s great!!!

  40. ckacey says:

    Well said John. I’m new to blogging, but from all I’ve read about Google….I won’t plan on having them be a major part of my earnings, in the long run. It may take me longer but it will be worth it. While I’m using them 😈 to keep going, I’ll find other alternatives. If I wanted someone telling me what to do, I wouldn’t be attempting monetized blogging in the first place. Why don’ we all just go apply for a job at Google?
    If you ask me Google’s gotten “too big for their britches.” A collective “slap” wouldn’t hurt them either. Like John says leverage your revenue. Never put too many eggs in one basket.

  41. Francis Sim says:

    I am new to blogging for an audience as well but it looks like the Google downgrade actually helped you more than it hurt you.

  42. goldfries says:

    I think the only people who care about PR at all are those who making money by taking advantage of naive people who will pay more for a link based on an amost meaningless number. We care about $$$, which comes from actual traffic, not PR.Jack @ 2007-10-25 23:41:53

    Now THAT I agree! When you have good content or a decent reader base already, there’s nothing to worry about PR.

  43. Agreed, a very nice post John.

  44. I still think Google is very important, for you John too!
    Btw. reading the Agloco blog there is a comment by someone who use your name for a blog at:
    I hope it’s not you 😈
    But as he claims only 2000 members i’m quiet sure he is just using your name. i left a comment on the agloco blog (isn’t really a blog… just a place for spammers nowadays)


  45. One thing that Google can not take away is traffic that is already there from loyal readers. Linkbacks to interesting articles will continue to be posted on blogs and websites. Google sells advertizing but does not want others ot do so. Soon a class action suit for having monopoly will start. As long as you network you will have traffic.

    Just waiting for the new criteria people will use to decide what they are willing to pay for ads and links.

  46. appfunds says:

    That`s funny. I`ve got a blog in Polish and we share Page Rank 2/10. I started it in September. Do you need any advice ?

  47. johno says:

    I really don’t understand all this talk about ‘Google penalizing’ sites with lower page ranks. Google has simply changed the way in which it page ranks. If advertisers use that to determine how much they should pay for ad’s, then (as it appears completely useless as a guide–as shown in the example above), the they should be using something else; perhaps something more objective: quality of content, etc., rather than a number from Google.

    Good article, btw.

  48. Bujes says:

    I have better or same PR on all of my sites after PR update. But it doesn’t matter. My traffic and reneuve haven’t grown up.

  49. Lol dont be so harsh with Stephen, we all like his impreza!

  50. Alpesh Nakar says:

    Yep. My blog PR went south, but I ain’t gonna sit down 🙂

    John, I have been reading your blog last couple of weeks and enjoy every bit. Thanks.

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