Google Toolbar PageRank Drops Over January '09 Weekend

Jan 19, 2009 • 8:10 am | comments (10) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

Over the weekend, I noticed many reports from a wide array of search forums, where webmasters are noticing their PageRank scores drop in the Google Toolbar.

We have threads from WebmasterWorld, two from DigitalPoint Forums, and a Google Webmaster Help thread. All filled with complaints that their toolbar PageRank scores have dropped, many dropped to zero.

In addition, an update to the WebmasterWorld thread on the Google January 2009 changes was also noticed, where some are reporting shifts in the Google results. Here is one snippet from that thread that stands out to me:

Definitely a shift in whats in and whats out, i'm seeing some duplicate pages in the serp's indented duplicates at that, the first of these has a cache date of over a year and the indented results has a cache date of a few days.

Some of the pages that i witnessed drop out of there serp's on the 23rd Dec are suffering from this issue but not all, i'm assuming at the moment that this was the problem for those web pages, still seeing some funky page totals return for some very competitive search terms first page displaying 25 mil results return but if you dig deeper there are only 500 pages before the "omitted results" link comes up.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld, DigitalPoint Forums, and a Google Webmaster Help.

Previous story: Yahoo Search & January 2009 Search Updates?


Adam Singer

01/19/2009 03:21 pm

My site has been affected by this - went from a 5 to a 0 overnight. Didn't change anything on my site either ( I pinged Matt Cutts, hopefully they fix this. Not happy, hope it is just temporary. My site is *not* webspam.


01/19/2009 04:05 pm

Hi Barry, the thread that you linked to in the Webmaster Help forum is from early December. I don't think that's too relevant at the moment. :-) If you are having "issues" with your PageRank, it's probably best to post with your URL in the Webmaster Help forum at

Barry Schwartz

01/19/2009 04:12 pm

John, that thread is updated towards the end to discuss someone who saw that activity. I am sure there are new threads there about this now...


01/19/2009 04:43 pm

Sounds like Google has caught a cold or virus. Perhaps the Bird Flue?

Matt Cutts

01/19/2009 08:17 pm

I left some info at which I'll copy here: "We're pushing PageRank canonicalization updates (as opposed to PageRank values) much more regularly these days, so my first response in a situation like this is to say "Don't Panic," especially if your site hasn't been selling any links that pass PageRank. Normally new canonicalization maps are pushed a few days later and that will often resolve things. For example, a large retail website had a PageRank go from 7 to 0 recently, but it was because of a deep url/canonicalization issue with their home page. Within a few days, the system had selected the canonical url that most folks would expect and the PageRank came back without anything done by a Googler." That said, we have also been looking through paid link spam reports as well recently, and as always we continue to read through those reports.

Barry Schwartz

01/19/2009 08:56 pm

Exactly what I was looking for Matt. Thanks Enjoy DC!

Michael Martinez

01/19/2009 09:36 pm

And another non-event sweeps across the SEO discussion communities....

Adam Singer

01/20/2009 03:38 am

problem was with my site and not google, looks to be fixed...someone directed me here but i dont think it is the same issue i was having

Matt Cutts

01/20/2009 04:38 am

You bet, Barry. It's nice to be back in the D.C. area for a little bit. The swearing in tomorrow should be fun to watch, too.


01/21/2009 06:43 pm

Matt, I have a question I know you can answer. I notice one of my competitors has a lot of links to other site that they made.. Not mirrored sites but similare site selling the same things. They link back and forth from them. I thought that was a no no with google and that it would affect their ranking. However they post number one on google. So is that something I should be doing or others out there in web land. Thanks for taking the time to comment

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