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Fake PageRank 10 Website Featured on National TV


Narodna Biblioteka Screenshot

Google, you’ve done it again! The green bar craze does not stop, not even after the recent removal of PageRank from Google Webmasters Tools. This story is about a serious and ambitious project undertaken by the Serbian National Library that got carried away and in fact wrongly sidetracked by their new PageRank.

The website is http://nb.rs and it currently shows a Google PageRank value of 10 which is in fact an extraordinary thing as only a few websites in the world have such a high PageRank. Naturally the management of the library were thrilled to hear this and were honoured to be recognised for their hard work and efforts. The news got out quickly and a library representative ended up on national TV accompanied by a local eMarketing expert.

During this interview they even discuss ways to monetise on this newly occurred situation, quite openly mentioning that selling links from that website would be of high value to businesses in the developed countries around the world. After a quick investigation our link building expert from Serbia, Nebojsa Djukic discovered that their PageRank is in fact fake.

An amusing fact is that no one present in this show is really aware of this fact, although this is quite a common thing in the world of blackhat SEO. Jump To: An Honest Mistake? | What Would Have Happened?

Update & Feedback:

30 October 2009: As predicted by our expert SEO team, nb.rs is now a PageRank 8 like it should be.
22 October 2009:
Alen Djelic from www.srbiusvetu.org provides valuable feedback regarding this matter. Alen has advised us to check our research more thoroughly before making accusations of a hoax, as sites: www.miibeian.gov.cn and www.ipple.net also show same backlinks. We would like to take this opportunity to point out that in our article we do not claim that this is a hoax but in fact state that this is an innocent mistake. Where the show did go wrong was the public discussion on the ways to cash-in on the newly gained PageRank which is against Google’s rules. Link selling or buying can be reported to Google by any user and Google does take action against these sites. We feel we have protected the integrity of NB.rs website by preventing any such transactions taking place in the future.

Note: We also ask all readers to read our article entirely before providing their feedback.

21 October 2009:
Another SEO consultant reports the wrong PageRank: http://wwwyu.com/optimizacija/page-rank-optimizacija.htm
20 OCtober 2009:
Dejan SEO notices one of our clients has reported a PR6 on their PR0 website with a completely wrong set of backlinks that appear to belong to an italian website. It seems Google is having troubles with their data.

How to generate a fake PageRank?

  1. Take a site A and apply a 301 redirect towards site B using an apache directive in .htaccess file.
  2. In due time website A is recognised as a redirect and its PageRank value reflects the one of the site B.
  3. So in this case http://nb.rs at some point redirected to http://europeana.eu and Google recognised that.
  4. Remove redirect from A to B and the site A shows the PageRank value of the site B until the next PageRank update occurs.

How do we know the PageRank is fake?

There are several methods and tools which we will illustrate here:

Method 1:

In Google type in: info:www.nb.rs and you will see that Google returns the following:

Europeana – Homepage Multi-lingual online collection of millions of digitized items from European museums, libraries, archives and multi-media collections, with procedures for … www.europeana.eu/

Method 2:

In Google type in: link:http://www.nb.rs/ and pay attention to backlinks. If backlinks you are seeing do not link back to the site you think they should then, something is probably wrong. Now to be absolutely sure type in link:http://europeana.eu and compare with the previous results. (Tip: open the two in separate tabs so you can switch-compare). The backlink check shows the following for both websites:

# … une base de données – [ Translate this page ] accès à toutes les bases de données par titre; voir aussi “chercher par discipline”. les bouquets de périodiques y figurent pour information: vous avez … www2.unine.ch/bibliotheque/page22237.html – Cached – Similar # Home – ATHENA – Access to cultural heritage networks across Europe – [ Translate this page ] Az ATHENA európai projekt az eContentplus programnak egy úgynevezett „Jó Gyakorlat Hálózata” (Best Practice Network), melyet a MINERVA hálózat … www.athenaeurope.org/index.php?hu/1/home – Cached – Similar # Biblioteca Nationala a Romaniei – Regulament de funcţionare – [ Translate this page ] Documentele cu valoare de patrimoniu deţinute de bibliotecă sunt: carte manuscrisă, tipărituri vechi, străine şi româneşti, periodice vechi, … www.bibnat.ro/Regulament-de-functionare-s198-ro.htm – Cached – Similar # Actueel – VOWB – [ Translate this page ] Welkom op de websITE van VOWB vzw. VOWB vzw is het coördinerend orgaan inzake wetenschappelijk bibliotheekwerk in Vlaanderen. … www.vowb.be/ – Cached – Similar # Eesti Rahvusraamatukogu – [ Translate this page ] Kunstisaal 9. juuni 2008, print. | Kogu | Uudiskirjandus | Kuidas leida … : | kunstikirjandust | eesti ajakirjanduses ilmunud kunstiartikleid | … www.nlib.ee/1204 – Cached – Similar # Encyclopedia of Islam – Article Databases – Marriott Library, The … A – Z | library catalog | floor maps | hours. Search Library Website. Home · Research Tools · Services · Collections · Borrowing & Renewals … db3-sql.staff.library.utah.edu/…/EntryServlet?action…Alpha… – Cached – Similar # Coulisses de Bruxelles, UE: – [ Translate this page ] Je suis tombé par hasard sur le blog de Frédéric Lordon, “la pompe à phynance”, un économiste très à la mode en ce moment au sein de l’ultra gauche. … bruxelles.blogs.liberation.fr/coulisses/2008/11/index.html – Cached – Similar # Virtuelle Bibliothek: Europas Kultur im Internet – SWR … – [ Translate this page ] 20. Nov. 2008 … Europas kulturelle Vergangenheit bekommt eine digitale Zukunft. Mozart und die Magna Carta, der Mauerfall, Descartes, Dante und Vermeer … www.swr.de/international/de/-/id=233334/nid…/index.html – Similar # Europeana – Search results My Europeana · Communities · Partners · Timeline (beta) · Thought lab. Choose a language, Català (ca), Български (bul), Čeština (cze/cse), Dansk (dan) … www.europeana.eu/portal/brief-doc.html?query…qf… – Cached – Similar # Internet resources :Digital Humanities, Culture & Technology … 3 Aug 2009 … Internet resources for Digital Humanities, Culture and Technology. www.kcl.ac.uk/iss/ir/subject/humanities/digital/internet.html – Cached – Similar

In fact there are plenty of fake pagerank checker tools online if you don’t like the manual method.

An Honest Mistake?

It’s important to mention that the National Library of Serbia probably got this wrong PR value due to a pure accident, as their website is likely to have been redirected to europeana.eu while it was under constructions or other reason. We do not believe this was done as a deliberate hoax to collect money for naive link buyers. The PageRank of their site is according to our estimate still quite high – something like PR8, but certainly not 10.

What Would Have Happened?

If NB.rs website had decided to sell links their PR would not only reveal itself as PR8 or so but it would likely be penalised by Google for breaching the webmasters guidelines and their PageRank reduced to as low as PR4. Here is a video that demonstrates above described ways of checking for fake PageRank value:

Dan Petrovic is a well-known Australian SEO and a managing director of Dejan SEO. He has published numerous research articles in the field of search engine optimisation and online marketing. Dan's work is highly regarded by the world-wide SEO community and featured on some of the most reputable websites in the industry.

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