Faking Page Rank: How Unethical Text Link Sellers are Preying on Advertisers.
We try to rank things in order to manage the complex universe around us. We try to get that 4.0 GPA, the highest ranked university and want our favorite team to rank best. The Page Rank designed by Larry Page of Google is a rank assigned to each of the pages that are indexed by Google. This page rank is calculated(http://www.sem-faq.com/improve-google-pagerank.php) using the “Backrub algorithm” and is often considered to be a proxy for Google’s search ordering. In other words, a high Page Rank(PR) page will rank higher on Google(all other factors being the same).
There is a vast and growing market for text links. A lot of highly ranked sites think of outgoing links as a way of monetizing their site (supply) and businesses that need visitor/search engine exposure buy the links(demand). While the purists may look askance at such a market, supply and demand is what the market makes.
Even the Garden of Eden had a serpent, and one would be surprised if all was as it seems in the text link market. Indeed scams abound, ranging from “no follow tags”, pages removed from navigation, or included in robots.txt file. But, there is a scam that gets almost everyone, except the truly paranoid. This scam is “Fake page ranks” or URL jacking.
The mechanics for spoofing the page is extremely simple and the results are awe inspiring. Using this technique, one can get any page rank they wanted…even PR-10. So, the burning question of how to do it? All one has to do is to obtain a throw away domain and do a 301 redirect in your .htaccess file on it to a page with PR. You want PR-5 ( http://www.ixs.net) to make it more credible, or with your boundless ambition, you want a PR-10 page…the choice is yours. Let’s assume that you chose the latter…and you can point to Google.com itself and inherit it’s PR-10. After Google PR update happens, you can detect Google bot and selectively forward it to Google.com itself. Everyone else gets to see your site and its fancy PR-10 rank.
So far so good. You have done nothing illegal, immoral, unethical etc. Things can go downhill from here though, if you attempt to sell the domain, or sell links from this website based on it’s PR—sheer fraud, in other words.
The webmaster who plays with 301 redirects is actually losing out in the end. His rankings will not rank higher…in fact the site won’t even get cached by Google.
For kicks we did a case study and picked up a domain from expiring domains that purported to be a PR-7. We chose a subject near and dear to our collective hearts(NOT!)…Michael Jackson. We gave this Micahel Jackson tribute site, http://www.mjpromotions.com kind of a snazzy look, quickly wrote some content for it.
We also wrote a tool which allows you to check to demonstrate that the page rank is completely fake. http://www.sem-faq.com/fake-pagerank-checker.php .
Acquiring domains or website or even purchasing links is a risky process, fraught with all kinds of frauds. During the process of due diligence, we propose that you consider a Fake PR Checker as a tool to avoid getting conned by URL Jackers.
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