PageRank, the Svengali of the internet
Here is a quick overview of PageRank.
PageRank is a system developed and created by the founders of Google to qualify the importance of a page on the Internet. The name PageRank is a trademark of Google. The PageRank process has been patented (U.S. Patent 6,285,999 ). The patent is not assigned to Google but to Stanford University.
Here is Google’s explaination of PageRank. Basically the more links that point to a page the better, and if those pages that point are important themselves then that’s better still. Each link is like a vote for that page and some page votes have more weight than others. Google uses this information in its formula to display results from search queries. The higher your page rank, the more change you have of that page coming up for a particular search.
The problem arose after Google released its toolbar that allowed people to see what the PageRank of their webpages were. Now you could clearly see how popular a page was and almost overnight created a black market for ‘PageRank.’ If a site with a high PageRank linked to your page, then you were going to see and increase in rankings on your search results, which is a most valuable thing. People were paying large amounts of money just to get links for these high PageRank sites. Google took exception to this kind of profiteering and decided to act on it, the main way was to punish websites that sold their PageRank power by simply decreasing that site’s PageRank, leaving them nothing to sell.
It is actually now part of the Google webmaster guidelines:
“However, some SEOs and webmasters engage in the practice of buying and selling links that pass PageRank, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results.”
On top of that it seems that the Google has now slowed the updating of it’s PageRank bar, so that it is hard for you to gague the true page rank of your site and pages also damping the trade in PageRank as your never quite sure what your paying for.”