I honestly thought the internet was moving past this, but I guess I'm wrong. Wendy Piersall blogs this week about web site owners who refuse to link out to any site with a low Google PageRank. Apart from the silliness of trying to hoard your link power for yourself, Wendy points out that a site's current PageRank isn't reflective of it's future PageRank. Everyone has to start somewhere, right?

Wendy writes:

Can I just state the obvious here :: sites without a current page rank will eventually get ranked. So let's not be so dang short-sighted about our SEO goals here, people. URGH. What is a PR0 link today can be a PR6 link in 6-9 months.

I couldn't agree more!

Wendy's site is a great example. She's only been around for a little more than a year, but her blog is quickly becoming one of the top destinations for online entrepreneurs. My Google toolbar rates her site as a PageRank 5, but I'd argue that number is in no way reflective of the value of Wendy's site. Having spent time there myself, I know that her readers are highly engaged and quite passionate. I fully expect Wendy's value (in Google's eyes) to eventually catch up to the value her readers have given her.

The same goes for any other site.

Every site on the web started off as new. They all had to earn their stripes and work their way up the rankings.

Now, you can be stingy with your outgoing links and link only to sites you feel are "popular." Or, you can be smart with you links and use them as online currency to build a solid resource for your readers and goodwill with the sites you link to.

Which do you think makes more sense?

October 5, 2007

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.


Great to see this topic coming up. Goodwill really is a nice way to look at things. You write about/link to what you feel has value, and everyone wins.

It's particularly odd to worry about the PR0 right now. Google hasn't updated since April! I keep wondering what the heck my PR will be if Google ever gets around to updating.

It's probably wise to avoid negotiated reciprocal link exchanges with loads of PR0 blogs. But that's mostly because you need to be careful about negotiated reciprocal link exchanges!

Thanks Jennifer! I'll also add that I didn't get a page rank until I was 6 months old - then I went from PR0 to PR4. And with the stink Google has raised lately about paid links, I wonder if the last PR update was indeed the "LAST"!

While I see the point she's trying to make... pr0 sites are pr0 for a reason... Either they are new or they are of poor quality.

I'll link to a site if I think it's great - but when it's new you can never be sure of what will happen with it in the future... it could have one great article and then go to crap/stop updating/404 - of course you can always go back and de-link but who has time to do that?

I've had 3 retail websites since 2005. I've traded links all along and worked really hard to get increased page rank and was up to a 4 on all of them even though my traffic was really low (less than 50 hits a day). When Google changed it's math, my sites went down to a PR2 on all 3 sites and I literally cried. I started reading all this press about not trading links with 0 or 1 PR and was so confused because I so much appreciated those folks that traded with me when I had PR at less than zero. I had always tried to be selective to only those sites within my theme, but I then started being far more restrictive in my agreements. I gotta tell ya, it's hard to know who to believe these days. I have a full-time job besides my 3 wesbsites so any minor success I get is celebrated. I've started a keyword analysis all over again on my one site, and have purchased and read copywriters guides and other recommended reading by Jill Whalen (so glad I found her info by the way). I've now increased my traffic by 30-40 hits per day (don't laugh, you don't know how much of an accomplishment that is to someone as small as me..), and it's slowly climbing. You all just keep weighing in and putting out all of this good information. There are little guys out here that think that your words are golden.

Wingnut, I fail to understand why you think you'd have to go back and delink to a site that didn't eventually rise above a PR0?

A good piece of content is a good piece of content no matter where it resides. If you are honestly deciding who you link to based on the amount of green in that little bar...you need to start rethinking your linking strategy.

You're a human being. You are more than capable of deciding the value and quality of a piece of content without relying on Google's often inaccurate assessment.

good article. I am always confused on how the ranking and popularity numbers always messed up and down like crazy when it has increasing web traffic..

Considering that Google is closing in on 6 months since their last update of page rank in the Google Tool Bar (which is the page rank we mere mortals can actually see), any page rank you're seeing when you check a site's PR is closing in on being 6 months *out of date*.

I have sites that still show a PR of 4, but the amount of daily traffic being sent to them by Google has doubled or even tripled.

Google claims they update quarterly (on average). Their previous longest time between updates was 4 months. So should we read anything into the fact that, as of today, they've exceeded their prior longest gap by 6 weeks and they're being oddly quiet about it.

Search Engine Guide > Jennifer Laycock > You! With the Link! Quit Being so Darn Stingy!