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How to fake PageRank and how to find websites with faked PR

Although most professional search engine optimizers agree that the green PageRank display has little to do with the actual performance of a website in Google and other search engines, many webmasters still focus on websites with a high PageRank when it comes to link building and website promotion.

How to fake the PageRank of a website

The PageRank of a web page can be faked with a combination of a 301 redirect and cloaking. It works like this:

  • When a search engine spiders visits a web page URL, the server redirects the spider to a web page with high PageRank.

  • Google assigns the high PageRank to the page with the redirection because it thinks that the pages are identical.

  • When a human web surfer visits the web page URL, the server does not redirect the surfer. That means that the web surfer sees the web page of the faker and the Google toolbar displays the PageRank of the redirected URL:

Fake PR

To web surfers, it looks as if the web page has a very high PageRank although it hasn't. Note that this method doesn't increase the rankings of the page in any way. It just influences the PageRank display in Google's toolbar.

Google doesn't like cloaking at all so you risk the rankings of your website if you use the method above.

How to check if a website has a faked PageRank

If you think that a web page might have a faked PageRank then you can do the following simple check:

  • Search Google for "" (without the quotation marks, replace with the domain that you want to check).

  • If there are no results or if the returned URLs don't match the original URL then it's likely that the PageRank has been faked. If Google returns only one URL for the query and if the URL is the same as the checked URL then the PageRank is okay.

What about the PageRank of your own website?

The green pixels in Google's toolbar are not important. It's important that your website has high rankings for keywords that convert to sales. Website promotion is about getting leads and sales. It's not about getting green pixels.

Don't focus on the PageRank display in Google's toolbar but try to get good rankings for keywords that are relevant to your website. High rankings for relevant keywords that convert to sales are much better than having a lot of green pixels.

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August 2007 search engine articles