A New Way to Fake PageRank?

closeThis post was first published 1 year 8 months 27 days ago. It might make references to techniques or tactics which no longer work or which I no longer endorse so please proceed with caution.

Lately I’ve noticed a few sites coming up for sale and selling link with ridiculously high Google PageRank. Most recently this PR10 on Flippa (copy of that page here for when the auction ends).

Now obviously the PageRank of virginia11.info is fake. It has virtually no links, was only registered a few months ago and doesn’t rank for anything. But its interesting that this seems to be a different type of PageRank faking than I’ve seen before.

The domain passes all the fake PageRank checker tools I’ve tried it on and if you check its cache, it has been fully indexed by Google.

The usual method of faking toolbar PageRank is to simply 301 to a high PR domain, then once its Google PR has been updated cloak Googlebot to redirect and allow normal visitors to see the site. The problem with that is your site never actually shows in Google’s index so its easy to detect a PageRank scammer by simply running a cache:www.domain.com command in Google.

Here’s another example of a PR6 I found selling links on Fiverr which seems to be using the same method. Now with a PR6 its harder to tell if this is fake or not, a PR10 is massively obvious as there’s only a handful of sites on the internet that have them, but if you’re buying links with pagerank or using PR as a metric for your link research (for guest posting for example) you need to be aware that what you see in the toolbar may not be genuine.

How are they doing it?

I’m actually not 100% sure (if you know, please share in the comments). I think its still got to be using the 301 redirect method to obtain a high PR and then probably a different type of cloaking, possible targeting a different crawler so Google keeps a proper cache of the page.

How to detect it?

PageRank still works in much the same way it always has – you’re unlikely to ever get a higher PR than that of your highest PR link. So if a site is showing a PR6, check its backlinks and it should have at least a few PR6′s and probably at least 1 PR7 in its backlink profile.

Age can be a useful factor to look at as well. Although its possible for a 6 month old site to have a PR6, its very unlikely, it usually takes years for a site to get above PR5, even with high PR backlinks.

Lastly, use your common sense, if the site looks like this and shows virtually no backlinks, its probably not a genuine PR6

Have you seen any examples of this method of faking PageRank being used? Do you know how its being done? Please share in the comments if so.

 

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