11 Mar 2016

Ad Blocking, The Death of Page Rank, and More: Weekly Forum Update

seochat-wmw-cre8asite-threadwatch-roundupFour pack ads, the death of toolbar Page Rank, search analytics data finally catching up, and a whole slew of ad blocking news… it’s been a busy week!

Our communities have been discussing every one of these developments and more.

And I’m here to deliver those discussions to you! Many of them are still quite active, so I hope you’ll join in if you feel the spirit move you!

Opera for Desktop Gets Native Ad Blocking

No plugins or addons required – desktop Opera comes built in with ad blocking that “makes site loading, on average, 45% faster.”

According to an update on WebmasterWorld, the feature begins turned off and will ask if you want it turned on for specific sites as you visit them. Sounds great, right? Well, it actually has some built in exceptions that you might not expect. And there could be some privacy issues involved as well.

New York Times Experiments With Ways to Fight Ad Blocking

Everyone’s favorite online news source, Forbes, is already withholding access to people with ad blockers…unless they add Forbes to a whitelist. The New York Times website seems to be on the path to doing something similar.

New pop-ups are asking people with ad blockers to either whitelist the site or subscribe. A spokeswoman said that

“Our goal is to inform users of the harm of ad blocking and to encourage the whitelisting of [our website].”

WebmasterWorld user martinibuster says, “I applaud the NYTimes for what they’re doing and hope they take it all the way,” but also agrees with criticism from fellow user toidi.

Toidi adds that the NY Times website is not always a pleasant experience to navigate and that

“If they truly consider their content to be valuable then first they need to start treating their content as valuable.”

PageRank is Dead – Long Live PageRank

PageRank has been and will continue to be used internally at Google. For a long time, Google’s toolbar has been displaying an ancient PR score that hasn’t been updated in years. Soon, that number will vanish too. PageRank, even obsolete numbers, will no longer be visible to the public.

Besides this discussion on WebmasterWorld, a story on Threadwatch has a great article by Danny Sullivan about PageRank where he shares some history about the score and ponders whether its removal from the public eye will make any difference in the culture of link buying. Give it a read!

Judge Orders Google to Hand Over Fake Reviewers’ Contact Details

Four punks posted fake reviews for a nursery in Amsterdam and now, in the trial, a judge is asking Google to provide their contact information. This might not be all about the fake reviews, though.

User tangor writes “…from what little is revealed about this particular case there are other legal tenets involved… Usually, in cases of actual criminal activity, ISPs and carriers can be compelled to divulge the requested information.”

The harsh punishment that is probably coming to the fake reviewers will be cheered in some circles – but will such a situation become more common, or is this an outlier?

Google Search Analytics Delay Is Fixed!

Been experiencing delays in your analytics data? According to Google and the observation of users on WebmasterWorld, that data should be all caught up now!

Report your experiences in this thread and help us all build a bigger picture of the recovery!

How Will Google’s Four Ads Above the Fold Impact Your Bottom Line?

Here’s an article from our blog, written by Ann Smarty and the IMN reporting team! Sidebar ads are gone now and four ads dominate everything above the fold in SERPs these days. What will the results be? Probably not as catastrophic as you’d first expect.

“Consider that the overall number of ads is now going to go DOWN, with just 4 top ads and 3 at the bottom… The CPCs are going to rise across the board,” writes Smarty.

And there’s more to be happy about. For another perspective, check out the monthly AdSense Earnings thread on WebmasterWorld where users are sharing observations based on their experiences. User RedBar reports wild results:

“This is one seriously crazy month, yesterday my earnings were 267.8% of my daily average so far.”

And that’s only two days after a serious drop in traffic. It seems like the changes are causing chaos so far, but they’re sure to crystallize as time moves forward. Get the scoop on WebmasterWorld!

How Much Do You Have to Spend on PPC Before You Can Analyze It?

SEO Chat user Doodled has an absolutely fantastic, must-read post about PPC here.

It begins, “I hear a great many people complain that PPC ‘doesn’t work’ but in 99% of cases it is just not being used right.”

Doodled has a history of providing sharp insight into the PPC world on our forums, and as the post continues it proves that this time is no different. If you want some practical advice about how to structure your PPC for proper analysis, this is a good place to start learning – and asking questions!

Blog Scraping Judo

A blogger scraping your content is always a bad thing, right? Well…not if you can use their energy to your advantage! That’s what this SEO Chat thread from ryandiscord is all about. Ann Smarty has good advice about what to do when a scraper attacks:

“Whether you become their actual contributor or not, what they have now will remain duplicate content. So first thing’s first…reach out to them and ask to give the original source its due credit.”

Sometimes, if an agreement can be worked out and everything can be sourced and cited properly, partnerships can bloom in the most unlikely of places.

Google Analytics Filters Referral Spam From Reports Automatically

Referral spam has always been a real pain. The junk traffic screws up your reports, and separating the wheat from the chaff eats up valuable time and money in your schedule. Thankfully, GA reports will be automatically filtering out referral spam in the future.

Your old reports will still show it, but from February 2016 forward you should notice the change. This also means that if you saw a drop in traffic this month, it could be because of this update. Get the details on Threadwatch!

Do You Design For Local Businesses And Run Into Issues?

Since Kim Krause-Berg began working with local businesses, she says that she’s learned a few things.

“The first one is that there is a tremendous amount of education required first. There is so much incorrect information out there and it comes as a real reality shock when I present what web design and ownership actually is.”

Budgets are another big hurdle. Cre8asiteforums user Nny777 writes that

“We have particular problems with clients who think that they can pay us for a few months, get into the top five and then stop paying.”

This thread is also a great resource for imaging the other perspective too – take a look at the great posts from Black_Knight and earlpearl!


  1. MyHub March 15, 2016 at 4:02 AM

    So, Google will finally stop making the Pagerank visible to the public? That’s definitely interesting. Is your source trustworthy? Are there any other links confirming this statement?

    1. Mark Roberts March 17, 2016 at 3:18 PM


      The WebmasterWorld discussion was based on this story in Search Engine Land: http://searchengineland.com/google-has-confirmed-they-are-removing-toolbar-pagerank-244230

      Another news source, The SEM Post, has a similar story: http://www.thesempost.com/google-removing-pagerank-from-toolbar/ Give this one a read because they dive into each specific element of the story – Google still uses PR internally, they’re just removing it from the toolbar…which effectively removes it from public view. Google has stated that “…this update does not change anything for webmasters or SEOs in how their sites show up in search.”

      Danny Sullivan’s excellent “obituary” for public page rank can be found here: http://searchengineland.com/rip-google-pagerank-retrospective-244286

      Hope that helps! Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

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