Well there has been a flurry of blog activity complaining of Google's draconian "slap" of prominent sites such as the SFGate, CopyBlogger, Washington Post, Forbes & many many more. As Page Rank levels have dropped 1 or in some cases 2 levels.
Now Page Rank is the relative importance of a Page and was really what launched Google. Link popularity was nothing new as it was a prime part of the Inktomi Technology that Yahoo owned, but Larry Page took it a step further.
Common misunderstanding: Page Rank is often misconstrued to mean your Search Rank, or position in the engines. It is named after Google Co founder Larry Page. and is why many call Search Position,: Search Engine Results Page or SERPS to mark out the difference)
He used the metaphor of Scientific Citation to measure how important a page should rise in prominence. In the scientific community, the more that other papers cite or reference your paper, the more important your work is.
He thought this a great methodology for a search algorithm.
Now, jump back 4 years or so and everyone was pimping PR. You could buy Page Rank links from brokers. A site named SEO King was the first to formally sell Page Rank. This brought hell fire from Google as that site suffered what might be considered the first Google Slap.
So the spin went into high gear, especially as PR seemingly became less important.
I was told by the easily swayed that PR was dead.And then about a year later we saw a down shift in almost everyone's PR values.
It wasn't long before we saw more link brokers pop up into the mix again. Major sites started selling links and the Google spinsters and sympathizers warn against such deviancy. You see, Google does not like this manipulation of their machinery. And most importantly they do not get paid when you are high in the SERPS. Google gets paid only when your pages are high in their AdWords SERPS.
Let's review the major drivers of SEO for Google.
- On Page: mostly the Title tag
- Off Page:Page Rank, Anchor Text
- And as time has gone on, Age of your page, the link age and age of the originating link page.
Now, in between there are a ton of minutia that might help. But I prefer cannons to pea shooters.
Google Fights Back
So Google has over time raised or lowered the dials of these main drivers. This has been their defense against manipulation. Their only other defense has been SPIN. Confuse the online community so much that no one knows what to do.That is why you may have heard that PR is dead.
Let me ask you this. If Page Rank is based on linking of pages that link to pages ad infinitum. Then isn't the PR bound to adjust down as the world of pages grow?
I have seen my own PR lower on this site. Yet, my traffic has remained relatively the same.
Now, it is interesting to note that the only unbiased glimpse into the Google machinery is what Larry Page revealed at Stanford prior to any responsibility to his stock holders.
Today, Google is no longer the seemingly altruistic little company that Larry Page helped start. It is beholden to Stock holders that expect a return. And for all its glory, PR is not directly profitable to Google. Adwords is profitable to Google.
Defending Your Weakness
I was once told by a hypnotist/persuasion master that the easiest way to change someone's beliefs is to notice what someone most vigorously defends. It is their weakest point. I think this a useful metaphor that translates into sports, war and certainly business.
Why PR Matters
- Google has attacked and controlled the conversation in this ongoing battle of PR. But why go thru this work if it doesn't matter? Furthermore, many in the know have uninstalled the Google Bar as it was felt Google has been feeding false results. To some this was further evidence of PR's demise.
The Bar at best has shown PR from 4 months back. And if you use the link:url.com command to see a sites back links it has always been off. Historically, It had only shown sites with PR 4 or better. Then I guess about two years ago or so, it was just complete nonsense. Not worth the finger energy to query it in Google.
That is why Yahoo's tool has been the only reliable back link measurement over time.
Again, why have it if it is a waste of time? Is it to obfuscate the results? Is it to make it harder for you to do link and PR research?
- Why Carry Anything About Page Rank on the Google Site except as an ode to history?
PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at considerably more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; for example, it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important." Using these and other factors, Google provides its views on pages' relative importance.
Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don't match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines dozens of aspects of the page's content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it's a good match for your query.
So PR still matters. Some might say that the dial has been turned down. I would say that there are just more dials. Specifically, AGE.
The original Stanford Paper on Page rank