(Poker) Less Relevant than Before?

by , May 20, 2007 | 5:33 am

I think I’m flummoxed. I mean sure, SEO is so 2006 … but Pokerati’s traffic has been growing, our content has been improving, other blogs continue to find reason to link us up, and we’re ready to bust nuts at the super-big frickin’ WSOP! Yet in the eyes of almighty Google, we are less than we once were — as Pokerati’s “page rank” has dropped from 5 to 4.

This may not mean much to most of you, but it’s kind of a bummer to poker web geeks, especially those of us who just finished reading Search Engine Optimization For Dummies. You see, we have long been a 5 here at Pokerati, and frankly, kinda felt like we should be a 6 … or at least wanted to become one because all my friends were 6s. But Big Brother Google must have recently recalibrated its algorithm or something, because their page ranks have dropped, too. Check it out:

Pauly dropped from 6 to 5
PokerProf — from 6 to 4 (LasVegasVegas dropped from 7 to 5)
Bill Rini — from 6 to 5
The Fat Guy — from 6 to 5
Iggy — from 7 to 5
PokerBlog (run by the SEO team at PartyPoker) — from 6 to 4
Wicked Chops — from 5 to 4
PokerWorks — from 6 to 5
CardPlayer — from 7 to 6
Bluff — from 6 to 5
worldseriesofpoker.com — from 7 to 6
PokerStars Blog — hanging tight at 6
Up for Poker — hanging tight at 5
The Poker Biz — from 4 to 3

(Poker Blogs) Less Relevant than Before?
(Blogs) Less Relevant than Before?

UPDATE: Bigger Deal (a new collaborative blog featuring Anthony Holden, Al Alvarez, and others … and apparently an SEO-minded venture connected to PokerStars) — coming out of the gate at 0

UPDATE UPDATE: Google Page Rank is “dead” … at least according to this guy (currently a PR 7) in 2003.

18 Comments to “(Poker) Less Relevant than Before?”

  1. PokerProf

    Good take on this:

  2. son of sue


  3. DanM

    sorry zach, i sometimes forget you exist. thebatfaces.com dropped from a 3 to a 2.

  4. DanM

    by the way, with that said … somebody apparently thinks the batfaces have value.

  5. son of sue

    Go Batfaces!

  6. Sommer

    That’s “batfaces.com”. TheBatfaces.com is clearly worth several dollars more.
    Dan, (as you know) I’m no search engine optimizationologist, but I’ve seen more than one article recently talking about what type of behavior gets your pagerank short stacked, and unfortunately you (and other poker sites) are right smack in the pain. The two most cited reasons I’ve seen are
    a) having your associated keywords and links on pages with [other] known spam stuffs – if google sees links to you on sites with links to known spam, you get penalized.
    b) non-unique content. if you use syndicated content or you *get syndicated by others*, google penalizes you for redundancy. Wheel-house.

    Since poker blogs are basically a giant circle jerk of content pimping, affiliate programs, and meta-auto-blogs it’s bound to get crushed.

  7. DanM

    ***if google sees links to you on sites with links to known spam, you get penalized.***

    Ahh, friends in low places … we all know how that goes. But how then do the likes of Slashdot (PR 9) steer clear?

    Websites are hard.

    ALT HED: “Fuggit. Crack’em.”

  8. DanM

    An email from David Yehaskel:

    Has nothing to do with poker. Sites across the board went through the same thing.

  9. Fresh Princess

    What is the criteria?

  10. DanM

    It’s a complicated secret proprietary algorithm. People pay big bucks trying to decode it, but if they get too close they are zapped by one of those satellites in the sky used for Google Earth.

  11. Falstaff

    Yup – dropped from a 5 to a 4 on mine, too.

  12. DanM

    Shamus dropped, too, from a 4 to a 3. Such a shame as he was climbing. But then again, maybe not … I tend to think that those who rely on quality content to build a loyal readership won’t feel the pain of getting lesser search engine traffic from those not really searching for poker stuff.

    Of course another possibility is that poker simply isn’t being searched for as much as it was in 2006, when it was right up there with Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton for the most searched phrases on the internet.

  13. drizztdj

    Ouch, I dropped from a 6 to a 4 as well.

  14. DanM

    wow drizz, you must really be sucking it up!

  15. Hungerfan

    Search engines are rigged. Working on my site with proof. I will make the domain be googleconspiracy.com

    If you have enough money you can get anywhere on the list.


  16. Kendall

    My site went from PR 4 to 3…It seems most sites in every industry took a small PR hit. It looks like google has decided to make PR tougher then before.

  17. David Yehaskel

    ***if google sees links to you on sites with links to known spam, you get penalized.***

    This isn’t true at all. Consider how easy it would be for me to knock my competitor out (and vice versa). All I would need to do is set up SomeStupidSite.com and link to sites with a bad reputation (not really spam) and to my competitor. Google would be out of business if that were the case.

    As for the “if you have enough money you can get anywhere on the list” speculation, that too is untrue. If it is true, I would love to have that address. I worked for a company that had an investor with a close relationship to a guy high up in Google (he was on the board, if that was the next question), and it do us diddly shit. You can’t just make a site come up high without messing with the entire index.

    The content on this site is fine. If it is syndicated somewhere else, Google knows that and correctly attributes the original. The content on Pokerati is completely original, even if the same poker news were on other sites – the outbound links are almost irrelevant, it’s the content that matters.

    Dan, you are correct in speculating that poker is searched for (slightly) less often than last year, but that doesn’t have an effect on your PR. And by the way, poker is more popular than both Lindsay and Paris (on average).

    I work with at least a dozen sites that all went through the same thing. I wouldn’t worry about Toolbar PR as much as rankings and, more importantly, search engine referrers and traffic. And anyway, the toolbar PR isn’t really the “real” PR that Google updates internally on a constant basis. The PR you see is an just an approximation that Google displays.

    Where did Pokerati rank last week for “texas hold em blog”? Right now, you’re number 4. The top result is a PR5, #2 is a PR6, #3 is a PR2, and Pokerati is a PR4 – just another indication that it’s not all about PR.

    Get some sleep. It will be ok.

  18. DanM

    Thank you David. I love you.