|Does the knowledge of PR reduce it's relevance|
I'm a little aprehensive about starting this thread, not least 'cos I assume it's been round a few times before, but do people think, as I do, that the fact that people are gaining a greater understanding of how PR works mean that the structure of the web is significantly changing?
Like all these things - meta tags, link analysis, keyword density etc - the search engines would work best if people were honest, but since there's frequently money involved people tend to push the limits as far as they can..
Reading the threads on this wonderful forum it seems people are sometimes more interested in increasing their PR than providing good quality content, that in theory should encourage the linking that would increase their PR naturally..
To my mind the first to loose out, if indeed the structure of the web is shifting, will be Google's PR algo itself since it's going to loose relevance if people try and manipulate it..
.. anyway, wasn't meant to be a disertation so I'll stop, but would love to know what all you lot think..
"Google distorting the shape of the web?"
Thought it had been round b4 ;) sorry...
You should read the "Foundation" series by Issac Asimov.
It's based around a "plan" that is developed to bring order back to the galaxy after a galatic empire falls.
One of the basic premises beind the plan is that your basic Joe Bloggs on the street doesnt know about it.
The sheer fact that someone knows that a plan exists makes it useless - as it was based on natural growth and reactions.
It's like laboratory tests in the fields of psychology or sociology can only gain little information - the fact that the participants are aware of their situation means that they don't act naturally.
So, basically this is all a long winded way of saying, yes, I agree, the knowledge of PR reduces the relevance.
I dont think the finger can be pointed at Google though, as we are all as much to blame as they are. :)
|I dont think the finger can be pointed at Google though, as we are all as much to blame as they are |
Precisely. Google doesn't make the web, they just index it. So if anyone is destroying the web, it's webmasters like you and me and our obsessions with rankings ;)
|it seems people are sometimes more interested in increasing their PR than providing good quality content, that in theory should encourage the linking that would increase their PR naturally.. |
Aside from your rather harsh title for this thread, the statement above is more to the point. "People" (webmasters and SEO specialists) are often eager to inflate PR by any means posible. High PR can and does translate to sales. Hence the practice of buying and selling links from high PR sites.
PR has been/is one of the driving forces of Google's success but I doubt that the developers of the system/algorythm could have forseen the extent to which people will go to trade this commodity.
Google is very much aware of the situation and has taken steps to curtail the practice of buying/selling PR. However, all PPC and PFI programmes strike at the heart of "natural PR".
I am convinced that the monthly "tweaks" to the Google algorythm are often attempts to salvage what they can of the PR system. In light of PPC and PFI, I believe that PR (in its purest form) is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
What it will (or has already been) replaced with is anyone's guess. It is unfortunately human nature to try to beat the system. This human condition will ensure that Google techs will always enjoy steady employment. :)
|Aside from your rather harsh title for this thread |
Oops.. I didn't mean to point the finger at Google 'the company', or SB/LP for their algo, hence the little 'g' in the title .. [blush ;)] .. I'm with y'all on this, people's desire to beat the system is to blame not Google itself..
The difference though, perhaps, is that with abuse of meta-tags and keyword density people were playing with their own sites whereas with PageRank people are playing with the structure of the web as a whole..
|You should read the "Foundation" series by Issac Asimov. |
- I'll certainly look it out... I completely agree with the premis that as soon as people know about 'plans' they loose some of their ability to influence. It's seems we all do for that matter ;)
There could be an argument that the 'distortion of the web' is a natural progression as commercialisation of internet resources continue and the gap between free and paid content widens.
Just as people's shopping habits are influenced by advertisers and marketers, the paths we take clicking through the web are becoming more and more influenced by SEOs and webmasters. The only way to prevent this from happening would be to eliminate the desire to make one website more popular than another, which is clearly impossible.
Good post Liane and interesting thread yetanotheruser.
I agree very much with "the build good content" argument. Promotion is always important but however hard we work at it nothing will ever have the credibility of "word of mouth" or "direct personal recommendation by a respected source".
It appears email spammers will sadly never learn that we filter information value according to who provides it to us :-) perhaps they choose to ignore it, as I do them!
The online business models I am coming most to respect and admire seem to me to be the products of "original thinking", if that is possible in these information overload times, at least of an original application of good ideas from other walks of life. The ones I am most impressed with do not follow the crowd (which simple PR building I would say probably does).
IMO PR is just one end of the spectrum. The 'distortion' process really started once search engines began 'ranking' (read 'judging') pages.
Once your site is placed in a list which places one site over another, human interference begins. It comes down to having an outside judgement of your site compared to others. If it wasn't PR it would be alexa ranking, visitor reviews, traffic levels, and all these have their own influence too. Perhaps PR has a greater influence than many other factors, but the principle is the same throughout.
The way Google works has certainly influenced the link structure of the web.
We should not forget though that Google's PR is nothing but a souped up version of the good old link popularity. When engines started taking linkpop into consideration website owners started to get/create links.
And even before that, people were linkhunting, only that links back then menat mostly direct traffic, instead of indirect traffic via higer rankings in search engines.
So in the overall scheme of things Google's PR doesn't influence the links structure of the web more than previous traffic acquisition methods did.
The web is extremely flexible and changes permanently. The web doesn't need Google, Google needs the web.
Would Google get shut down today, the web would adapt to new players in a snap.
Google has the problem here, not the web. The underlying fundamental believe of Google's founders is the web can be correctly portrayed by a basic mathematical formula. Factors change, but the formula is static.
That approach has been immensly successfull. It was a great improvement over simple linkpop.
But along with the everchanging web Google will have to overcome that formula at one point, or somebody else will do it for them.
Google is probably your best ‘guide’ in the maze that the web is, so it certainly influences webmasters in the way they build their websites. If your site is Google-friendly (which usually involves a high PR), you will certainly be found in the maze. If you’re unfriendly with Google, the chances of very low traffic are high.
|The web is extremely flexible and changes permanently. The web doesn't need Google, Google needs the web. |
Would Google get shut down today, the web would adapt to new players in a snap.
I agree with this. Although it may be very hard for any private company in the world to challenge Google in the web search field, a little help from the US government might do the job. Here [wired.com] is an interesting opinion written in Wired about the TIA program, it says that the Total Information Awareness will boost new web search technologies that will confine Google to the stone age. I don’t really know how this program will affect, in the daily life, tha way US citizens live, but if better search technologies come from the TIA, welcome!
<note>This is yet another confirmation that the real technology breakthroughs, the ones that are applied to daily life, come form the military</note>
Google and the PR problem is a bit like a cat chasing their own tail.
The basic assumption of links being given out following topics and recommendations get's undermined exactly by the importance linking has with Google.
So that is what we all agree on, as it is pretty obvious.
Only I don't see the web having a problem with that, but Google, as it tends to undermine the usefulness of their algo.
for a discussion on the interesting concept of TIA go here, please:
I have often asked the same question. But what really amazes me, is that Google provides the very tools that enable webmasters to manipulate their own PR. They provide the Google toolbar, so that webmasters can determine which sites to obtain links from; and they provide a list of backlinks, so that webmasters can spy on their competetors and try to obtain the same backlinks as they.
I get so frustrated after my newly obtained links show up in my backlinks list, then my competetors do link:www.mysite.com and eventually obtain the same ones.
Anyways...high PR may always be easy to obtain, as long as Google provides these tools.
I don't agree with the title of this thread, but I do agree with the sub-title:
|Does the knowledge of PR reduce it's relevance |
As crobb305 pointed out, Google provides information about a site's PR in the form of the toolbar, the directory PR bar, and the "link:" search command. If Google did not provide such indications or 'hints' about a site's PageRank, would Google's search results be more relevant than they are today?
|I get so frustrated after my newly obtained links show up in my backlinks list, then my competetors do link:www.mysite.com and eventually obtain the same ones. |
Do you propose that only links of LESS than PR4 show up in link:? ;)
Keep in mind that link: searches are very useful to normal visitors too. What's the best way to find out similar sites to those you like? And it isn't the 'similar pages' link ;)
You can logically reason that anything you do that is with the sole intention of increasing search engine positioning is a bad thing.
1) [webmaster] ---->---- builds web page for ---->---- [user]
2) [google] ------->---- finds web pages for ---->---- [user]
Therefore, to find the best pages for [user], [google] develops algorithms based on the techniques used by [webmaster] in case (1).
Enter SEO, and you now have
3) [webmaster] ---->---- builds web page for ---->---- [google]
It is therefore impossible for [google] to base it's algorithm in the interests of [user] when [webmaster] is more interested in [google] than [user].
Or something like that!
Why is it a bad thing?
Because if you kill [google] by designing websites for [google] and not [user] then ultimately nobody will be able to find your website.
<<Because if you kill [google] by designing websites for [google] and not [user] then ultimately nobody will be able to find your website.>>
If [google] were the only way in the world that people find websites, that logic would be valid. Fortunately, it's not.
Yes - the conclusion is a bit of a sweeping generalisation, but it makes the point.
I think added to the mix of the problem is that SEO can be temporarily profitable at the expense of any long term view / requirement.
PR strikes me much as a kind of "knowledge of good an evil" in the Garden of Eden.
Innocence may well be a better thing - the very knowedge is a plague. ;-)
MY PR just dropped for a very strongly and ethically optimized site in a category with NO competition - and my traffic is increasing exponentially at the moment, due to two separate items of interest on the site. There's just no way to make this site more relevant and significant in it's teeny weeny niche...and yet the PR drops. Go figure.
>PR strikes me much as a kind of "knowledge of good an evil" in the Garden of Eden
lol, nice comparison. I guess that's what describes the original idea best. Only that was at the peaceful gardens of a university, not in the world of cheap flights, magic pills and other get rich quick schemes.
>I don't agree with the title of this thread, but I do agree with the sub-title:
Does the knowledge of PR reduce it's relevance
Good idea, changed the title.
|lol, nice comparison. I guess that's what describes the original idea best. Only that was at the peaceful gardens of a university, not in the world of cheap flights, magic pills and other get rich quick schemes. |
That's what cracks me up about the obsession with PR. It's like all the webmasters of the those schemes are crammed into a dirty tenement downtown, and the faucets leak, the walls are paper thin, and there is the constant din of complaining.
Since I don't hawk said wares, I feel like I'm living on a country estate. Google is that expansive folks. Really!
|Good idea, changed the title. |
[blush] - it was early, I had a sore head.. thanks ;)
dmorison - I like your assesment - in many ways that's what I was driving at this morning.. That [webmaster] is designing for [google] is distorting the "shape" of the web such that google's algo, designed to understand and use the "shape" of the web will end up loosing out..
What worries me most is the increasing attitude of "I won't link to you because your page has less PR than mine"..
I'm as guilty as the next person I suppose, and only yesterday had to question a client wanting to put "Useful Links" on the front page of a new site since it was going to mean him passing out over half his incoming PR.. It was appropriate for them to be there though, so either my client looses out, or his users do.. not great IMHO.. (hence the thread)
I think I said earlier, so forgive me for repeating slightly, but unlike most other SEO, optimisation for PR affects the web as a whole - perhaps it's entire philosophy, where other SEO used to only affect those sites being O'ed... . .
off on one again soz ;)
> So in the overall scheme of things Google's PR doesn't influence the links structure of the web more than previous traffic acquisition methods did.
I think you meant in terms of link popularity, but could we not use the same reasoning with swapping links for traffic? For example:
> What worries me most is the increasing attitude of "I won't link to you because your page has less PR than mine"..
I think that the same attitude was prevalent before to some extent. "I won't link to you because your page has less visitors than mine". People wanted to swap links with pages that had more surfers; people wanted to buy links from pages that had many surfers. Now, it's the random surfer.
IMO, the reason for link map distortion due to PR is that PR is not context sensitive. Once that's fixed, things will be different.
Exactly Ciml. Links have been bartered in one way or another even before and apart from search engines.
Just another challenge, I'm afraid. How easy would it be to put up a page/slightly change a page/insert a paragraph perfectly embedding a link?
Nonetheless, theming is the concept everybody is talking about for years now. In another thread it has been stated that Google has not changed their algo for what- one year, two years?
Once the PR concept gave them a huge advantage over the competition. It meant superior relevancy, and it meant great branding.
Today only the branding is left.
"What worries me most is the increasing attitude of "I won't link to you because your page has less PR than mine".. "
Yes, but more troublesome to me is the demand for a link on the front page of my site with carefully worded anchor text in return for a link buried on the receiving site. Screw 'em!
I put links on my sites that I believe are helpful or relevant to my visitors. I put them in places that reflect that usefulness or relevance, and I give them anchor text (usually in line) that is relevant to the content on the page. The other sites then serve to supplement information on my site.
When I request links, it is with the same philosphy in mind. I regularly suggest the exact words in a paragraph on a page to the webmaster, pointing out that my site will supplement their information.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to consumate such arrangements. That is the distortion of the web.
|The Subtle Knife|
Well just look at this thread:
Sudden drop in PR4 to PR<1 or 0?
So, in a Quantum Mechanics type of looking at the world,
I've increased my knowledge of PR, and my PR is now going down?
> How easy would it be to put up a page/slightly change a page/insert a paragraph perfectly embedding a link?
Very easy, but if PageRank could be calculated for each search phrase then the page would need to get its PageRank from relevant pages, and so on. This is completely impractical IMO, but with clever folk like Krishna Bharat working at Google they may be able to find a cost efficient 'multi-click theming' approach.
It would presumably be impossible to subvert a fully contextual link map, but it would be much harder than with PR so knowledge might not reduce relevance as much.