It was almost exactly one month ago that I discovered I was still passing PageRank despite being Googlesmacked for writing paid posts. A Google employee was quick to jump into the comments and inform me that I was completely wrong. I had neither the knowledge nor the resources to run a genuine experiment, but luckily Brian Combs of Apogee Search does and he did just that. You can read his results in his blog post: PayPerPost Blog Links Still Impact Google Rankings. Here’s the most salient points-
Clearly, the claims that PPP blogs have lost all ability to pass link juice have been definitively proven false.
However, the possibility that an actual penalty has been imposed still remains. The PPP sites pushed pages into Google at half the rate of Yahoo, while the Control Group pushed pages into Google and Yahoo at very similar rates. This suggests that Google may have lowered the actual PageRank for the pages. Whether this was to zero so that only the link juice from the page itself is passed (none of the link juice coming into the page would be passed) or to some other amount is unknown.
Alternatively, this differential rate may be due to Google’s attempts to reduce the influence of Google Bombs. The anchor texts for the PPP Group were actually somewhat more competitive than that for the Control Group. On average, the keywords in the PPP Group had 196 SERPs while the keywords in the Control Group had 129 SERPs on average, a difference of about one-third. If the efficacy of the Google Bomb filters is based upon the number of pages that rank for a keyword (as many believe), then this could account for much of the delta.
Now if we could only get advertisers to accept this reality and stop depending on Google’s outdated and ineffective ranking system.