Top 7 Ways to Detect & Avoid High PageRank Domain Fraud
By Jerry West
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If you buy expired domains to leverage Google PageRank or if you purchase links in hopes of increasing your ranking in Google you must know about a tactic which has been around for years ... fraudulent PageRank.
Here are seven tips to help you avoid getting ripped off:
- The first thing to do is to just go to the site directly and see if the PageRank is the same as advertised. Sometimes the con artist gets lazy and doesn't realize a Google Toolbar update happened and their "PR5" site is actually displaying "PR0".
- While you are there look at the site. Is the domain online? Is the site still live or is there a "placeholder" page? If it is a placeholder, the domain is probably dead and worthless.
- Look at the site's history. When was the domain registered? To whom? Where is it hosted? Is it on its own IP or is it sharing with hundreds or thousands of other domains? What was the site before? You can use DomainTools.com and Archive.org as resources.
- Is the site listed in the Google index? Just because it has PageRank, doesn't mean it is still listed, so check. The best way to do this is to check the Google Cache. Do a query in Google for - cache:domain.com (home page check) cache:domain.com/subpage.html (sub page check). Please note that if there are no results that come up, the site could not allow Google to cache the site. If that is the case, use the site: command instead. I like using the "cache" command first as that allows me to see the most recently indexed page and what it looked like. If it is different than what is currently displayed, that could be a red flag.
- Verify the PageRank is legit with Yahoo! Site Explorer (siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com). Yahoo! updates their link counts daily, whereas Google's link counts are weeks or months old. If the link count at Yahoo! is weak, fraud is likely.
- There are lots of "PageRank Predictors" out there which can assist in the process. iWebTool has a good one.
- If you still aren't sure, call the domain owner. Legit ones almost always have contact information listed and are happy to discuss the domain with you over the phone. Con artists are less likely to do so ... but don't think just because they answer the phone that they are legit. Some con artists believe that if they get you on the phone they can sell you more garbage.
Trust your instincts.
Article written by Jerry West, SEO Analyst for Web Marketing Now, an SEO Testing and Research agency. He is the author of the SEO Revolution, a paid membership site for webmasters and SEOs to get access to his testing information from over 500 domains and he is faculty member of StomperNet, the leading eCommerce online instructional community.
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Article Submitted On: February 11, 2008