Friday, October 26, 2007

SEO Mystery - Why is cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com PR0?

The NYTimes' City Room BlogThe NY Times has always had a powerful web site. Their PageRank has slipped recently from PR10 to PR8, but it's still safe to call them an authority site. A couple months ago when our friends Marcello Forte and Jenn Bristol of Animal Haven told us they were going to be guest bloggers for the NY Times I was excited about the possibility of links to their site from a strong site like nytimes.com.

Then I realized their posts weren't on the main site, but rather cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com. When I saw City Room site had a PageRank of zero I figured it must be a new site which didn't have PageRank the last time Google updated its public PageRank databases.

The odd part is that even though Google just did an update of their public PageRank databases, the City Room site is still PR0. But it's not like the site is ignored by Google - pages on the site are indexed. For example, a search on ["Marcello Forte" Emily] (Emily being one of the people Marcello responded to on the blog) does show pages from the City Room site in Google's index. The pages that are indexed are main pages (not individual posts), but it shows Google is crawling the site.

So the question then is how does a site with 81,000 inlinks, many of which are from the NY Times primary site, and pages in Google's index, only have a PR0 after a PageRank update? Could it be that nytimes.com has had it's ability to pass PageRank stripped? Google is on the war path when it comes to paid links and is doing that to some sites, but we're talking about links to another nytimes.com site, not paid links... But what about all the links from other sites (like ours)? They can't all have had their ability to pass PageRank stripped.

Needless to say I'll be watching the Page Rank of the City Room site pretty carefully. Who knows, maybe Google is still updating their databases and the site will get some PageRank shortly. We'll see...

[Editorial Note: Mystery solved by the people commenting over at SEOmoz... The latest update was only that - an update or refresh (of sites that already had PageRank). No new sites were given PageRank. The City Room site appears to be new, hence it still doesn't have PageRank.]

[Editorial Note (2): As of 10/28 the PageRank update is fully done and new sites like the City Room Blog have public PageRank. The City Room Blog site is now a PR7 site.]

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