Google Changed My Pagerank & How You Can Rank Better

Google changed my pagerank in a flash many years ago back in 2014. What would you have done? You awake one morning and checked your email to find a penalty greeting from Google.  Oh no, you think. What is your new pagerank? You checked your pagerank that was rated a #3 last night and it’s now down to a zero this morning.

Where did you start? You may have wanted to cry, shout or even kick something. You were in the Google penalty box!

However in 2022 you would not know your pagerank score. Google did away with pagerank years ago but still uses it as an SEO measurement according to Hubspot. It’s like your grandmother’s old secret sauce recipe, no one knows exactly what is in it.

How and Why Google Changed My Pagerank – The Penalty

Google changed my pagerank

Today you may find a warning in your Google Analytics or in your Google search console.  They still send out emails when you have anything that is not correct.

Google did away with pagerank years ago but still uses it as an SEO measurement. #SEO Click To Tweet

What To Do?

Or you may think “This could make a good blog post and a test example for others.”  That was my thought after the surprise and then not so surprised as I had been reading how sites like Wikipedia changed all their links to nofollow.

So the first thing I did was install a new plugin called WP External Links to add the nofollow attribution to all. I waited 24 hours and checked that it is working properly before submitting a reconsideration request to Google.

Here is an example of a newer alert today from the Google Search Console:

pagerank alert from Google
This is an email I received a few months ago from the Google search console.

At least these new alerts give you something you can do and why an issue is affected on your blog or website. You can hit the fix button to go right to your dashboard to begin making the adjustment.

5 Steps to Check Why Your Pagerank May Be Down From a Google Penalty

  1. Check Your DoFollow Attributes – This seems to be the biggest recent cause of why Google changed my pagerank in a flash – You can visit Ahrefs for free to see all your site’s backlinks.
  2. Scan Your Website via WordFence – This suggestion came from my techie Mayura and he reminded me to do a WordFence scan. Mayura also went on to help with the reconsideration request process. (You can read the follow up post from the answer received from Google). FYI: Wordfence is a WordPress plugin.
  3. Check Your Visits Count – Did your views drop dramatically? If so it may be other SEO issues besides follow or nofollow links. Mine did not. The visits remained in the normal 3,500-6,000 per day range. This was not a reason Google changed my pagerank instantly. You can now do this with SiteKit – another WordPress plugin to make your life easier.
  4. Check Your Domain Authority – You can check it via my new favorite place for DA:  Ahrefs domain authority checker. I recommend you keep a chart so you can check it monthly.
  5. Check For Spammy Comments Do you check all your new comments? Do you look up their blogs and see if they are legitimate before approving new comments? I’m went back over old comments and deleted any that appeared spammy. I believe this could have been one of the reasons Google changed my pagerank overnight back in 2014.
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Newer SEO tips to help your blog or website rank better.

What Are Unnatural Outbound Links?

I did not have any links for sale or link schemes. So what else would cause a Google Penalty like this to happen and why did Google changed my pagerank overnight?

  • Sponsored Posts – If you do sponsored posts, as I have here on occasion, be sure to make those links all nofollow and label sponsored or at least in your footer area.
  • Guest Posts – Do you have guest posts on your site with outbound links? Be sure to make those nofollow too. I did have contributor posts here that could have been the cause for Google to send me a penalty in 2014.
  • Comments – Followed links with keyword rich anchor text could be another cause which is why I made my comments nofollow for now. Today they are back to do-follow with no issues.

What Else Is Google Doing To SEO of Late?

If you are a blogger like me you may be busy writing content, sharing others content, spreading your content out and not paying attention to every Google update. Today SEO is more about the EAT principle:

  • Expertise
  • Authoritativeness
  • Truthworthiness

By showing the above characteristics on your blog you can rank better in the search engines whether on mobile or desktop. Providing helpful content to your readers can make a big difference not only to your readers but to the Google Gods.


Your Turn On MyPagerank Today

I’d love to know if you’ve received an email from Google about unnatural outbound links as well over the years. Are you glad we can no longer see the pagerank score that Google had back in 2014 when this blog post was first written? I’d love to hear from you about your pagerank or site’s SEO in the comment section below.

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  • Hi Lisa,
    Thank you for sharing this post with me.
    But i still i still have question, I am really sorry but i just want to know that for what links or comments should i go for, dofollow or nofollow. And is it better for me to make links of blog nofollow?

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Robin, when you link to others blogs etc only use do follow for those that are relevant to your blog and / or that you trust. The others that are NOT relevant to your blog’s niche etc should be marked nofollow.

  • Atish Ranjan says:

    Sad to read this Lisa but same thing happened with me for my blog I immediately made the links nofollow and filed a reconsideration request to Google. within 2 weeks I got a mesaage that the penalty has been revoked and my site’s page rank went back to normal. 🙂

    I wish you had taken the steps required.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Atish, I did take the steps and am awaiting their response again. So stay tuned for a follow up post again on this one. Thanks for coming by and sharing your story too Atish.

  • […] I’ll go into why I think this is crazy below, but some highly respectable people have been driven by Google’s seemingly random penalties to actually use these tools.  Lisa of Inspire to Thrive  explains why she installed the WP External Links Plugin: […]

  • Kostas says:

    In terms of guest posts, as long as they are genuine posts on a relevant topic (and from a relevant site) it should not be necessary to remove links. I personally think it is ridiculous that a site can be penalised for things outwith our control (such as who links to us). I hope you get things straightened out.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Kostas, welcome to Inspire to Thrive. I know, I can’t agree more, why punish those with incoming links out of their control? Google has become a control freak. I still believe in guest posts too, with or without follow or nofollow links. Thanks for coming by and for your input. I will be doing another followup when I hear back, stay tuned!

  • Ivan says:


    Sorry to hear that. But unfortunately, that’s a common outcome for us who accept guest posts (and sponsored posts) on our blogs. Have you tried nofollowing the links and submit a reconsideration request?

    My blogs were hit. I fix things up and 50% of them got the manual penalty revoked :/

    My best advice: If you have to accept guest post/sponsored post, be sure the requests come from someone who DON’T want to do it for PageRank-sake. So nofollowing links is a logical step to do.

    HOWEVER, I always have a reservation on what basis we should nofollow link. What about the links we WANT it to be there, paid or not? I would link out to your quality posts. I DON’T think that’s fair to nofollow the link; I WANT the link to pass value to your post because, well, I WANT to!

    The case against guest posting is ridiculous, IMO.

    Another advice of mine: Stop relying on Google for traffic/exposure. There are plenty other sites you CAN get traffic from: Social media sites, Bing, etc.

    My 2 cents 🙂

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Ivan, excellent points. I agree, I wish I could give more dofollow links, it makes no sense but who are we to argue with Google? Thankfully my traffic has not stopped or even slowed down. As you mentioned, there are so many ways today in which we can get traffic, between social sites and blog networks, etc. And Bing is good too. They do account for almost 20% of search traffic. So I say we Bing It more! Thanks for your 2 cents Ivan and welcome to Inspire to Thrive!

  • Scott says:

    Hi Lisa,
    I saw the write up on Social Times about your situation. I’d recommend looking into your sidebar comment widget. Those links are dofollow even through the comments at the bottom of your posts are nofollow. I think that might be the source of your unnatural outbound links.


  • Rohit Sharma says:

    Hi Lisa,

    This is indeed very frightening cause if that’s happen’s to you then What will Google do to us 😯

    Your post has all the research elements and even the embedded tweets that just show the proof of your work what you are saying. So don’t know about anyone else but I completely agrees with you.
    Thanks again Lisa for this lovely article

  • […] up one morning recently and found that she’d been penalized by Google and, as a result, her PageRank went from 3 to 0 overnight. “I did not have any links for sale or link schemes. So what else would cause a […]

  • Hi Lisa,

    Sorry I’m late to this one, and sorry you lost your page rank.

    However, I have to tell you the truth. I had it happen to me and I didn’t care. Page rank means nothing unless you’re accepting advertising on your site. They didn’t delist you from their search engine, which would mean a heck of a lot more, and if people are searching for something that you might have written on, your blog still comes up. For instance, I did a search on INSPIRE TO THRIVE GOOGLE PAGE RANK and this articles comes up as the #1 article, which of course it should.

    They kept page rank from me for 2 years before one day giving it back to me, and it was all because of an article they obviously never read. The thing is I didn’t remove the article to get page rank back; I removed it because it was getting way too many hits and traffic because of the topic and was skewing my statistics, and that just couldn’t continue. See, I do things for my own reasons, not for anyone else’s, and I figure that things will be what they’ll be and I’ll just have to find new ways, if I care, to overcome certain things here and there.

    So, don’t worry about it. Just do your thing and all will be fine. I also never changed any links to nofollow; as Adrienne just wrote on her blog, Google finds that unnatural as well, thinking people are trying to sculpt page rank. Can’t win for trying. 🙂

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Mitch, it’s never TOO late to stop by and comment here. Interesting, I’m thinking it does mean less and less as time goes by. Thanks for checking that it came up in search too. I think you are right, best to do things that seem right to us and not just to please the Google gods every day and then watch it all change the following day. You are right, we can’t win for trying with Google. Let’s remember to Bing it Mitch. Have a great day and weekend ahead.

  • Uday Ghulaxe says:

    Thanks for sharing such a great post mam
    Yes I know google will charge penalty to many blogs like techtricksworld of atish.
    And this is so unbelevable google has chaged and its very strict now

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Uday, you are welcome. I hope you find it helpful and can avoid the Google penalty as well. It’s amazing to learn how many have received the same one too. Have a great new week there!

    • Atish Ranjan says:

      Yes it did happen but now penalty got removed and all went back to normal! I was upset but once I did take the required action and filed reconsideration, I was sure that it will be revoked and it did.

  • Patricia Weber says:

    😆 Seems you and I were each bullied (that’s how I feel anyway) by Google! I’m doing a series on my blog of how it happened, my own actions and guess what – you and I both know Mayura! He was terrific and the world needs to know.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Patricia, wow, interesting! I will have to check out your series, thanks for coming by and letting me know too Patricia. I hope you have a good day and a great weeekend ahead. Mayura is the best! I’ve known him about 4 years now, he was one of the first bloggers I met online.

  • Akaahan Terungwa says:

    Sorry to hear about your challenge, Lisa. Its my earnest wish that things turn out positive and you have a better post detailing exactly how you achieved the feat.

    WP External Links is what I use on all my sites. In addition, I make sure that Comment Luv does not send out do follow links I don’t approve.

    The best will surely come to you. Its my belief that you’d be restored.


    • Lisa says:

      Hi Akaahan, thank you. Good to know you are using it too. How long have you been using it for? Thanks for your input and have a great day.

  • Steven Wilson says:

    Hi Lisa,

    This is so unfortunate. I can say that since I have been coming here, I have noticed nothing but white hat techniques. You don’t deserve this! Google has dropped the ball for sure.

    I don’t mind having do follow links on my site after commenting enough etc but situations like this make me think its not the best idea. This also makes it harder to get those all important backlinks as well.

    I will keep an eye out on the update on this situation. I hope everything works out and quickly.

    Take care!

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Steven, thanks. I know it’s really a no win situation. Is it really helping the internet by Google encouraging all nofollow links? Or are they looking to make more money thinking we will all buy Google ads to get traffic? And why are they spending time on little bloggers and little business websites? Not sure what they are trying to accomplish with all this. Thankfully we have more ways to get traffic to our sites and not just Google. I’m using Bing more and more now 🙂 Thanks for coming by Steven and have a great day.

  • Ray says:

    It is bummer that Google can penalize a website with little explanation. If that is an exact screen shot of what they sent you it’s fairly vague.

    I know of another site that this just happened to at nearly the same time as yours. I don’t know what kind of message they got if any from Google though.

    It sounds like you have some work ahead of you trying to figure it out. Hopefully, it don’t give you too many headaches. JK!

    If you do happen to figure it out or narrow it down to something in particular I wouldn’t mind seeing an update on the process of what you may have done, and how the reconsideration request process worked out.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Ray, I know but at least I got some indication. When I did the retail sites traffic would just stop for no reason and then I would make changes and months later it would come back. I surely will do a follow up post on this one and let everyone know how it all pans out. I hope you don’t have to go through this Ray. I can’t believe Google spends time on such little folks too. Have a great rest of the week Ray.

  • Mark says:

    Wow Lisa!

    This is some very scary stuff! First off, it looks like through no fault of your own!

    As if there’s not enough to already concerned with! Now this! maybe it’s time for the definitive guide entitled: 15 Little Known Hazards To Internet Marketing (That You Definitely Have To Be Aware Of!)

    If you don’t blog enough Google and the other major search engines pretty ignore you!

    If you blog too much, this could happen! Unbelievable! Thanks for sharing!

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Mark, I know huh? We just can’t win with Google anymore or if we do NOT for long. Thankfully we have many other methods to reach people today other than just google. I started using Bing again for my search – why give them everything right? That guide sounds interesting Mark, is it one of yours? Thanks for coming by and have a great day.

  • Oh my gosh Lisa!

    I cannot believe this happened to you! You are the most ethical blogger in town. This really gets my feathers up girl.

    I listen to Matt and he talks like a politician. I can never get an “absolute” message from that guy. Google seems to be going nuts. Sometimes I just want to throw my hands up in the air and say…well you know!

    I play by the rules, but when it comes to Google, the rules change all the time and it is just insane! This is why I’m setting up my own private membership site for my clients.

    Now that may go down too, but I feel a little more safe to have all my clients in one place. Plus have all their information …just in case anything goes wrong.

    ((deep breath)) For me, I’ll just cross my fingers and keep on doing the best I can. If this happened to you, it can happen to anyone.

    So sorry about this!

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Donna, my feathers only got a little ruffled. LOL, I love that, he is like a politician! So true in more ways than one. We never know what will be next Donna. Glad I started my email list too. But the good thing is it did NOT affect my traffic or my domain authority and it’s almost been a week. Time will tell. Thanks for coming by Donna and have a great rest of the week.

  • Peter Kanayo says:

    Lisa, I really appreciate you took time to share your experience this sure going to help others who may suffer from google penalty know what to do next.
    I think Google has just told us that no follow policy is the way to go. Thanks so much once again. Hope to see you recover your ranking and am sure you are going to give us a feedback

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks Peter, I figured it was a suggestion not a definate – now I know right? and I do hope others will learn from this one. Thanks for coming by and have a great rest of the week there.

  • Ashvini says:

    Hi Lisa,

    I get quite angry when I see instances of Google behaving like internet police. I believe now all the hurt is happening to random bloggers. I believe that Google is not at all serious in helping small website owners. I think we need to find a way to get out of clutches of Googlepolice.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Ashvini, I know and feel the same. It’s so hard for small businesses and bloggers to make any money online with Google doing stuff like this all the time now. I say let’s Bing it when we search and ignore the giant monster. They may just want to make all the money themselves from Google ads and such. I hope we are wrong Ashivini. I hadn’t finished getting back to you on the plugin- I had a bug the past few days and slept a lot more than I usually do. I hope to get it down by the end of the weekend. Thanks again for your help with your awesome plugin ShareJuice.

  • Sudipto says:

    Hey Lisa,
    This is a sad news. I think GOD also have no idea what Google is going to do next. First, penalized Guest posting and then penelized many blog, Google making very difficult to blogging these days. Thanks for sharing your experience and also tips to avoid these penalty.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Sudipto, well, it’s not the end of the world and I am glad I can share with others so they may avoid it 🙂 They are sure making it difficult for us little bloggers and website owners. I really feel for those making a living online today. You are welcome and I hope you don’t have to deal with anything like this in the near future either. Have a great rest of the week.

    • Peter Kanayo says:

      Sudipito, I think what Google is actually doing is that they want a situation where you offer a guest post that people are forced to visit your site.
      Brian Dean is sure to tell you that guest post is super useful when done right. For example his post in Jon MORROW BLOG was certain to drive more people to his site. This goes to show that google is looking at you offer such kind of content that prompt people to visit you-not just for the authority

  • Hey Lisa,

    Sorry that all of this is happening to you. I know how it can be devastating. I’m just finding out about how dofollow can be harmful for your site, as well as other things. Right now, I’m slowly going through my site to check to see what posts I can get rid of and what links I have to make them nofollow. I tell you it’s a pain in the ass, but it’s important to me to get it done! I hope everything works out and keep us posted about the plugin you installed.

    Have a great week!

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Sherman, you got that right- it surely is a pain! But I used a nofollow plugin so it made it easier and then switched the CommentLuv to nofollow for now as well. I do mention that plugin in this post with a link I believe. Let me know if you need more info Sherman. I surely plan on a follow up to this post. Thanks for coming by and have a great week as well Sherman.

  • Samir says:

    Another bad news 😐 Well 3 of my PR3 blogs and a PR4 blog has been changed to PR0. And I really don’t care about those blogs as they are just meant for experiment purpose or I was playing with backlinks thing.

    But I feel really bad that your blog’s PR has been penalized. I hope you’ll get some good news soon.


    • Lisa says:

      Hi Samir, thank you. Did that happen recently to you as well? Intersting how people start to tell their stories once you tell yours, isn’t it? I hope yours go back up too.

  • Thomas says:

    Hi Lisa

    I am sorry to hear that Google don’t love you anymore. My own blog is still a PR3 blog, but I was hit very bad by the Google Penguin 2.0 update last summer. Overnight I lost more than 50% of my traffic and I had still not been able to recover from it. I lot of people are saying that Google Pagerank doesn’t matter anymore, but I am not sure that we should totally ignore it. Your story has for sure made me think about my own blog and what I can to to avoid a similar experience myself in the future.

    I do have a question for you Lisa. Does your drop in Pagerank have had any impact on your overall traffic so far?

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Thomas, thanks, wow, losing 50% traffic is surely a lot. I hope you found other ways to generate traffic as Google is not the only game in town. I agree we cannot totally ignore Pagerank yet. My traffic did NOT drop yet at all. It actually went up with this post. I will be keeping an eye on it and doing a followup as well. Thanks for coming by Thomas and for your info on this topic too. Have a great day.

      • Thomas says:

        Well, it might be a bit too soon to make any conclusion, but if you have not seen any drop in traffic yet, it seems like the people saying PageRank does not have much impact anymore might be right. When my blog went from unranked and jumped to a PR3 blog back in 2011, my traffic was boosted right away. A lot might have changed since then. Even that I lost almost half my traffic last summer my blog is still ranked as a PR3 blog.

        • Lisa says:

          HI Thomas, interesting – Your stats and how pagerank may not be what it once was. I’m starting to think that too. Time will surely tell. I will be doing a follow up in the coming weeks on it all. The traffic stats, if I receive a letter back from the reconsideration request, etc. Thanks for your input and have a great day Thomas.

  • Chitraparna Sinha says:

    Sad to hear this, Lisa.

    My blog,, got penalised too as I was using for sponsored posts. The PR went from 2 to 0 but gladly, the traffic didn’t hit. Alexa, PA, DA are all same.

    Like you, I made all external links, sponsored or otherwise, nofollow and placed a reconsideration request.

    Sometimes I fee that we depend on Google too much but there isn’t anything one can do about it.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Chitraparna, I had just them too and that is probably one of the reasons along with the Comments being all dofollow. Did you receive an answer back from Google yet Chitraparna? We can do something, use Bing all the time instead of Google for our search and not give all the power to Google. Thanks for sharing your story too here and have a great day. Love to know how you will make out as well since we are in the same boat.

  • Cendrine Marrouat says:

    Hello Lisa,

    Wow, that was brutal! I’m shocked that your blog lost so much PR overnight.

    Google is changing the deal all the time, which makes it hard for people like us to follow and stay in the know. I may not write for search engines (my readers are human beings after all), but it’s getting a little stressful at times. lol

    Let’s just thank spammers for ruining everything…

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Cendrine, I know, I thought the same thing, why 3 to 0 and not 3 to 2? Like Corina said “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch”, those spammers ruin it for all of us. At least my traffic didn’t suffer – or my domain authority, just Google’s Pagerank which to many is becoming less important these days. Time will tell. Thanks for coming by Cendrine and have a great day.

  • Ryan Biddulph says:

    Sorry to hear this Lisa!

    Google is becoming uber picky. I’ve detached more from PR these days because G is fickle. I cater to my audience and focus on social to Google Proof myself 😉

    Thanks for the tips!

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Ryan, I know huh? They were rumors that the PR would go away too. At least my traffic hasn’t suffered, it was actually higher yesterday from this post. I LOVE that “Google proof myself”. You got me thinking Ryan 🙂 You are welcome for the tips and have a great day.

  • Corina Ramos says:

    Hi there Lisa,

    I’m sorry about that penalty girl…Google is just so picky nowadays. I know a couple other bloggers who had this occur to them too and I think it was unjustified too. But on the flip side, I can imagine how many people are trying to “cheat the system” to get to the top, it’s like they say, one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.

    I feel like I’ve missed a lot while I was offline but it seems like the commenting and the backlinks associated with them is a real hot topic right now.

    It makes me kind of nervous because I’m doing more sponsored posts now but I do make sure the links aren’t spammy. Not that it would make a difference when Google has the final say. Who gave them the power anyway?? LOL

    I did have the WP External Links plugin but the sponsored posts are do-follow and I don’t know how to mess with the in the dreaded HTML so I removed it. Looks like I need to fix this ASAP.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us and for sharing how we can avoid penalties.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Corina, you got that right – One bad apple spoils the whole bunch. That’s exactly how it happens. I would try to make those links nofollow to be safe Corina. You can add this to them Your anchor text here. You are welcome and nice to see you back, I hope your hubs is doing much better. I can’t imagine what you have been through these past few weeks Corina.

  • Hi Lisa, Well doesn’t that just suck? I’m thinking this is going to happen to all of us eventually. You and Jens are just the leaders whom Google is picking on first. I have plenty of CommentLuv comments that lead to unrelated sites. My target audience isn’t really techies (though plenty of techies read The Wonder of Tech). I get comments from a variety of people and allow Do Follow on CommentLuv after a certain number of comments.

    Question: how do you make a link no follow?

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Carolyn, yes but at least my traffic was not effected, it was actually up yesterday 🙂 a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>Your anchor text here./a is how to do it with html (inside the brackets). I installed a plugin for it WP External Links to make them all nofollow. It was quicker and easier to go that route. I hope that helps Carolyn, have a great day.

      • That’s a great idea to use a plugin so you don’t have to go through and change all of the code manually. Perhaps a follow up article on WP External Links would help your readers avoid the dreaded Google Penalty? I’m hoping that your follow up article includes the great news that Google has reinstated your previous Page Rank! 🙂

  • Sicorra says:

    Sorry to hear this happened to you.

    The same thing happened to me on March 24th, as well as a large group of others. I filed an appeal and my PR was put back up to a 3 within 2 days. A the time that it happened there was lots of chit chat on Twitter about it, and all of Google’s scare tactics. Everyone despises Google but at the same time they dominate the Internet, unfortunately. For people doing sponsored posts, if they change the link in the post to nofollow then they will not get paid for the post. The whole point of a sponsored post is to get a dofollow link back.

    And, you can leave your usual contributor posts with links as dofollow, as that is not what google is really penalizing people for.

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks Sicorra, that’s good to hear how quick you heard back. Thanks for sharing that here. I guess Google doesn’t want us to make any money huh? They really want to be the only ones making it? Makes me think more “Let’s Just Bing It!” . I did have some sponsored ones – I believe it was that and the comments too probably. Time will tell. It’s amazing they pick on small guys and not the big directories that are junk type websites. Glad to hear your story Sicorra and have a wonderful day ahead.

  • Hi Lisa,

    What Google is doing these days is really crazy. That makes me think and want to check all my links at least for my 15-30 last posts and mark everything as no follow. That’s really not fair when you’re penalized, not being the bad guy. Google went from everything goes a few years back to – you can’t do anything anymore – type behavior.

    It’s so scary and a bit confusing for me that I don’t even know what type of links are OK anymore. Like in my today’s post I linked to my facebook pages, is that bad? Please, let me know 🙂

    Have a great week!

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Sylviane, It sure is crazy. Makes me think we should use Bing all the time. If you linked to your own Facebook page I would think that should be okay. But it would NOT hurt to make it nofollow either. I probably would do that now myself. I’d rather be safe than sorry and I think. If you see Matt’s quote here near bottom of post it says nofollow links CANNOT hurt your site….Thanks for your input Sylviane and have a great day.

  • Bren says:

    I couldn’t believe it when you told me Lisa! That so stinks! Bad Google! Don’t they have anything better to do than troll our sites? Yuk! Sorry you got spanked but hopefully you’ll get your ranks back. Google just makes it more difficult every day to be a blogger, especially a hobby blogger. Phooey. 🙁

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Bren, I know huh, picking on little guys? Funny thing – my traffic was up quite a bit yesterday. So it’s just their own Google Pagerank that was hit. That Pagerank was rumored to go away last year, I haven’t heard anymore if it will or not. Time will tell. Thanks Bren and have a great day today!

  • Priya says:

    Google really going crazy these days. I came across many good blogs losing their PR since Jan 2014 and not even one recovered yet. Google now focuses on all the blogs associated with Guest blogging networks and penalizes them in no time. I even doubt if we suddenly make all the links to NoFollow then I’m afraid if it alerts Google.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Priya, welcome to Inspire to Thrive. I’ve heard of some since then too but since this post came out I’m getting emails, tweets, etc from many who have had it happen too. It will be interesting at the least to see what happens and if and when they answer my reconsideration request. Thanks for coming by and have a good day Priya.

  • Adrienne says:

    Hey Lisa,

    I hate that this happened to you and I use to complain when they would knock my page rank down. Last year it went from a three to a two and that hasn’t changed. I had thought it was because my hosting service changed my link path without me knowing it when I changed hosting companies. Google wasn’t indexing my pages. If they just had another recent update I wasn’t affected and my page rank didn’t change either.

    A couple years ago I spent the entire weekend going back through my blog posts to make sure I had nofollow attributes on any affiliate links I might have had in my early blogging days and removing all spammy comments. After I cleaned up my blog I remember using Fruition and getting a very high score with that service.

    Now you know I have guest posts on my blog and they are dofollow links. But I don’t have all dofollow links on some of the links I’ve shared in my posts. It depends on the site so I make that decision at that time. I am way more cautious though with my comments and have been for over a year now. When Andy created the Anti Backlink plugin I set it sometime last year to where they have to comment 10 times before I’ll give them link juice and then and only then I’ll make that decision whether or not I’ll even give it to them. If they aren’t in my niche I will make it a nofollow link. I’ve been very careful about that for a good while now and I must be doing something right because I haven’t been penalized. Not to say that I won’t ever but if you can be then I guess I could too.

    I know that Gail Gardner of Grow Map got hit hard last year too and I don’t think she’s recovered from it. I hate that this happens to legitimate bloggers and I also hate how Matt is so iffy with a lot of what he shared. No wonder we all get so pissed when something like this happens because it’s hard to prevent it when they are running us around in darn circles. I’m really starting to hate Google more and more if I must be honest. I’ve always had that love/hate relationship with them. They have some great products but I don’t like how they’re controlling the internet.

    I hope you recover Lisa and I’m so sorry this happened to you. You’re one of the good guys darn it!


    • Lisa says:

      Hi Adrienne, at least they were gentle with you from a 3 to 2, but 3 to 0 instantly? Really? Funny thing my traffic was up yesterday – I just checked. So it hasn’t hurt Domain Authority or traffic – just Google’s Pagerank which was rumored to go away. Time will tell. We should start using Bing more and more Adrienne. I was thinking that last night as I was googling something and I get rewards from Bing so I must start making Bing a habit. Why give Google more traffic and klout right? I remember doing the retail sites 2 years ago and traffic suddenly stopped and no warning was given. It was a nightmare for about 3 -6 months. At least I got an email and reason for what they did this time. I hope this post will help others out and warn them before they get a similiar email from Google. Thanks for your input Adrienne and have a great day.

      • Adrienne says:

        Hey Lisa,

        I’ve never gotten a nasty note from Google telling me that anything was wrong. That’s why I was ticked when I got bumped down and I didn’t even know why. I can’t fix what I don’t know is broken so give me some darn heads up. Why don’t they send us an email and let us know why so if it’s fixable we can. You only get one when they do something like they did to you.

        Google’s PR has been rumored to go away for awhile now so I’m not holding my breath. So was Feedburner remember and it’s still going strong.

        You know I never got my site set up with Bing since the last time I had told you it wouldn’t acknowledge that I had the code on my site. When I can find the time I might give that a go again and see what I can’t get set up with them. I hate that we all have to depend on Google so much but everyone just thinks they’re the king. Maybe so but people are really getting ticked off at them even more now.

        I’m sorry you’re having to deal with it and hope it can get resolved. I know that Gail hasn’t gotten hers resolved yet.


        • Lisa says:

          Hi Adrienne, oh yes, I had that happen with the retail sites and it wasn’t easy getting back up but after 4 months I was able to. Oh yes Feedburner too, those rumors! I agree, tired of having to depend on Google, there are so many other ways we can get traffic today. Thanks Adrienne for coming back on this one. Have a wonderful Wednesday.

  • Ravi Chahar says:

    Hi Lisa,

    It is really hard to believe. How can the rank of any blog diminish up to that extent. I mean just in a day the fluctuation is to a normal stuff to listen. We try so hard to make our blog better but due to some broken outbound links or may be spams our blog can approach towards disaster. Don’t know how to react over it? Actually I have seen many blogs going up and down but didn’t notice any blog which had faced this much dramatic change.

    It is always considered that bloggers need to check their inbound or outbound links once in a week. I hope this can help a lot. At least we can have the proper idea about our blog. There are many backlink checkers from which we can check the backlinks. May be we find many broken backlinks but if we check them in an short interval of time then it will be easy to fix them.
    Sorry to hear about your blog. Hope you will get your ranking soon.


    • Lisa says:

      Hi Ravi, I know, I thought why 3 to 0, why not 3 to 2? Crazy indeed. A little overreaction from Google on a little blog. I’ve heard others too from 5 to 0 etc. I do check for the broken links daily here. I have a backlink plugin as well. Thanks for your input and for coming by on this one Ravi. Have a great day!

  • Nirmala says:

    Sad to know about Google’s Penalty on your blog Lisa 😳

    So, to please Google and drive traffic from it, we need to follow their rules, right? I don’t think so that it would fine to give nofollow links for quality guest posts from well- known bloggers.

    Anyway, thanks for writing this alert post for the bloggers to give nofollow links to paid posts and comments, i hope many bloggers could be benefited with your experience.

    I’ve decided to stop accepting the paid posts with dofollow links to protect my blog from penalty and already my comments are nofollow.

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks Nirmala. It’s a little crazy huh with all the nofollow links? I don’t think it’s right but that’s what Google wants and who are we to argue with them right? You are welcome and good choice for you to make those paid posts with nofollow links. All mine are nofollow right now. I will be doing a follow-up once I hear back on the reconsideration request. Thanks for sharing this one too Nirmala and have yourself a great day there.

  • Hi Lisa,
    This is a sad news,
    Hope Google will set this right.
    A timely alert to all.
    Thanks for sharing this.
    Hope you will get back to the
    real position very shortly.
    Best Regards
    ~ Philip

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Philip, thank you. I’m not really upset over it. It’s a great lesson. Next time Matt Cutts suggests things with his “possible” and “maybe” I’ll make changes instead of waiting to see if it’s set in stone. I guess nothing is really set in stone anymore with SEO. At least it gave me something to really write about and help others before they get hit right? Thanks for your input and have a great day.

      • Hi Lisa,
        Thanks again fro the feedback.
        Nice to know that you are not much worried about it, but still its an upsetting one. 🙁
        Anyways, hope things will improve and Google will do something about it.
        Yes, indeed this made you to write such an informative and educative piece for all of us 🙂
        And a great alert to many of your fellow writers!
        May you have a wonderful week ahead

        • Lisa says:

          Hi Philip, you are welcome. I do hope it helps others out and that they don’t receive a similiar email from Google. Thanks for coming by and have yourself a great day and weekend ahead!

  • Susan Silver says:

    Google has been making some really big changes. Check out the SEO blogs. You may not have been the only hit. When there is an update to the algorithm this can reek havoc on websites. There have also been penalties recently to those who participated in guest blogging networks.

    Unfortunately, Google has completely changed they way they handle search. I wanted to write an updated SEO post, but I am not sure what the best advice is.

    • Lisa says:

      Susan, that’s all I read is SEO blogs, lol. I knew it could happen but it wasn’t a sure thing so I hadn’t done the changes yet until it did happen. Oops too late. Next time Matt Cutts suggests things I’ll make the changes even if he says the “maybe” and “could be” routine. They sure have made a lot of changes and more so recently fast and furious. We can’t even blink an eye anymore Susan without changes being done. Thanks for coming by Susan and have a great rest of the week there.

  • eDee says:

    Did Google just update again? Or are they just hitting people randomly now?
    Don’t be to heart broken – PR Rank is meaningless now. I know it’s a blow, I’d probably cry, but honestly, PR Rank is worthless, it can easily be faked and sponsors are beginning to catch on.
    (posted this to your Tribber post, but figure I’ll never see that again lol)

    • Lisa says:

      Hi eDee, they must have from what I’ve reaad. I’m not that upset as you say PR is not as meaningful as it once was. As long as traffic is good and comments continue to come it’s not a big change. Time will surely tell. Thanks for coming by eDee and have a great day.!

  • Tim Bonner says:

    When your email arrived in my inbox I could hardly believe it Lisa!

    I remember when Jens got a Google penalty a few weeks ago I was flabbergasted as well.

    My comments have been nofollow for a long time now Lisa just because of the problem with what can happen with those outbound links.

    I do have quite a few guest posts now though with outbound dofollow links. Safe to say, I’ll be changing all of those to nofollow right after I’ve submitted this comment!

    I really hope that Google put you back to PR3 quickly Lisa as you definitely don’t deserve that penalty.

    Thank you for the heads up and it’s good to see you making good use out of it by treating it as a learning experience for us all.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Tim, I didn’t realize Jens had received one too. It must be about those dofollow comments and outbound links. I bet more and more blogs will be hit too. Crazy how they pick on little people and not those big directories and other tpye of money making sites that don’t follow guidelines. You are welcome Tim and I will surely have a follow up when I get word either way. Have a great day there!

  • […] How google changed my Pagerank from 3 to 0 overnight by not having the nofollow attribute on my website, would you go and change your follow attributes now?  […]

  • Enstine Muki says:

    I’m sorry this happened to you Lisa. Google is forcing everyone on the Internet to dance to their tune. This is rather horrible.

    Well, they have worked their fingers out to own the greatest share of the Internet search so they can draw the lines for everyone else to follow

    Yes, nofollow is the solution for now. All my links are nofollow and some of my advertisers even asked for their links to be so.

    I’m waiting to hear what follows Lisa

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you Enstine. I know, they are imposing so many new rules and changes it can make our heads spin for sure! Thanks for sharing you are doing the same Enstine. I will be doing a follow up post once I hear back and track more of the traffic and such for weeks to come. Have yourself a great new week there Enstine.

  • Ileane says:

    Hi Lisa,

    So sorry to hear about the penalty!

    At least they contacted you and let you know why your site was penalized. My traffic took a hit last year but I still have no idea why it happened. My page rank is about the same and I know that my content is even better but still the search traffic is low compared to the way it was before.

    Hope you get the penalty lifted soon. Good luck with the reconsideration my dear.

    Have a great week ahead in spite of it all.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Ileane, thank you. Great point – that they let me know about it. Years ago when I did the retail sites, traffic would drop like a rock without any explanation. I had to read up on the latest updates and try to figure it out myself. Traffic would come back months later after spending a lot of time figuring it out and implmenting changes. It’s crazy how fast they keep making changes with the algorithm, isn’t it? I’m not too worried as DA remains the same and traffic appears to be same since the email. I will know more this week I’m sure and once I get communication back from them. Watch for the follow up post on this one. Nice to see you back here Ileane and have a great week. Enjoy the nicer weather, I know I’m headed out for a walk shortly here.

    • Ileane, I am in the same boat as you. My Google traffic took a big hit last year and has not recovered. I am now focusing on building back traffic from other sources but still no clue as to why I was hit so hard.

      • Lisa says:

        Carolyn, I think it’s worse when you have no idea WHY you were hit. That happened to me a few years ago with the retail sites, no reason, traffic stopped. At that time it was Pinterest that saved me with traffic. I’m glad at least this time I was notified with a reason.

        • Yes, you’re right, Lisa, it’s frustrating now knowing why we were hit. But on the other hand, not knowing means we are freed from trying to jump through Google’s hoops. If we can’t see the hoops we can’t try to jump through them!

          Pinterest and StumbleUpon have been taking up the Google slack. And, believe it or not, Bing is growing strong. Yesterday I had more traffic from Bing than Twitter! Go Bing!

          • Lisa says:

            Hi Carolyn, how true that is. Hard to jump through invisible hoops. That’s great about Bing. I found Stumble Upon to be a huge bounce rate for me so I don’t use it often. I’ve also found Kingged to be a new source of traffic for me as well here. Thanks for your input Carolyn and have a great day.

        • I joined Kingged last month but haven’t taken the time to figure it out yet. It wasn’t immediately apparent how it worked.

          Believe it or not, my bounce rate for Stumble Upon isn’t bad. The traffic is amazing though!

          • Lisa says:

            Hi Carolyn, oh Kingged is like BlogEngage to me. Doesn’t take long to figure out how to work it. Interesting on your StumbleUpon bounce rate, thanks for coming back to expound on that one.

  • Jon Rhodes says:

    Just wondering Lisa, did the Page Rank drop affect your search engine positioning? If not, then it’s not so bad really.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Jon, Welcome to Inspire to Thrive. I believe not. I have had the same amount of traffic and comments. My Domain Authority remained the same. So far so good. This week’s traffic and Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools should tell more of the story. Be sure to see a follow up in the coming weeks. Thanks for coming by Jon and have a great new week.

      • Jon Rhodes says:

        Yeh will keep my eye on it Lisa. If your visitor rate is the same, then that’s great! I have to add a bit of waffle at the end of this comment as it said my last answer was too short!

  • Hi Lisa,

    This is truly unbelievable! If it can happen to you, it can happen to any one of us and for no fault of ours!

    Yes, you need to be SO careful about the dofollow links, though I feel it might be some comments that perhaps were given DoFollow in this case. I think in your post about commenting, you did mention that you give DoFollow after 3 comments, so perhaps you can change those settings to increase it to a dofollow, but after a while, just as I’ve done. I think nofollow links in the comments do no harm as compared.

    Trust Maura to come to the rescue, he is such a great friend and help, isn’t he? Yes, you’ve to be sure to give nofollow in your sponsored posts, and guest posts should be linked up well enough too, though depends who is the author and if you call them by invitation, then those links should be safe.

    Thanks for sharing and reminding all of us to be careful too. Hoping and praying it all becomes alright, and it would once you chalk out things and report them.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Harleena, yes, it sure can happen to anyone. You think you are doing folks a favor with the dofollow links but instead end up hurting yourself. I really don’t agree with Google on it, as I believe dofollow should be allowed in most cases. But who am I to argue with them right? Mayura is a great friend and amazing tech whiz. You are welcome Harleena, I figured I could share this story so others will not get the penalty letter in their email anytime soon. Thanks for your input, prayers and have a wonderful new week!

    • Akaahan Terungwa says:


      Lisa has been a diligent blogger for all the time I have been here. While she has a great heart, it’s proving to be her undoing…I would simply suggest the nofollow on comments (as she has already figured out) against the dofollow after some certain number of comments.

      Well, for the do follow tag being attributed to guest entries that are trusted, its quite a welcomed idea.

      In conclusion however, Google is too big to have as an enemy!


      • I agree with you there, Terungwa, and I hope this technique works, though it’s something most of us do and Google shouldn’t be penalizing us just for giving dofollow links.

        Thanks 🙂

        • Akaahan Terungwa says:

          I agree with your reasoning, Harleena. However, it’s a pretty great idea to face the situation ‘as it is’ rather than debating ‘as it should’. Don’t you agree?


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