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The Death of Pagerank
PR is more irrelevant than the Edsel
steveb

WebmasterWorld Senior Member steveb us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 2:27 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Inspired by this related thread about blogging links, [webmasterworld.com...] , and to make myself nauseous, I went just through the first five hundred results for my #1 one-word keyword search term.

A staggering NINETY-FOUR of those listings are all the same site! Different URLs, slightly different machine-generated gibberish words towards the top of the page, different page titles, but besides that, the sites are essentially identical. Each shows approximately 5000 pages indexed per domain... meaning this "site" is responsible for about 200,000+ pages of zero content in the Google index.

Okay, now what would you guess is the total PR of the index pages of these 90+ "sites"?

The only way PR matters at all is, among these 90 domains, the ones with a higher PR tend to rank higher than the others! The top/main/best domain in this group is a PR4 site, and it shows precisely two backlinks.

Google "abandoning pagerank" is the understatement of the year.

 

fathom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 3:02 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's never been any more important than any of the other 99 variables.

shrirch

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 3:10 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

I still think they're using some sort of ranking algorithm (yes, I think its PR) to schedule crawl frequency and depth. So.. it is relevant in terms of getting your new data in.

ogletree

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 3:13 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

PR still has more power than most things you can do. If you got the right title PR is still king except for maybe anchor text. Anchor Text and PR are still the heavy hitters. Just look at all the things WW comes up for.

Marcia

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 3:57 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>the ones with a higher PR tend to rank higher than the others!

How much PR is needed can depend on the market and the particular search term, but it looks like the easiest way to impose a bit of a penalty on a site is to turn the knobs just enough to devalue enough of its links so that the PR drops.

The site won't drop a whole lot, it'll drop just enough to where it's not totally blasted, but most of the traffic is essentially cut off. That way it's subtle and it'll pass without everyone yelling PENALTY!

I can't *prove* it, but that's exactly what I believe I've just been watching happen to a site. Up and down it went as results shifted in and out, and watching the sites moving in at the top, looking at their backlinks and PR, and what it all adds up to is that dropping the PR is what gave that site a swift kick right where it hurts.

Somehow I don't think we'll ever see a massive penalty imposition like the PR0 inquisition of almost 2 years ago. I've got a feeling it's been refined down to where can be just enough so that it just isn't obvious.

Remember penalized sites going up from PR0 to PR3 when those penalties were partially lifted? Then wasn't more lifted? If they can deal a death blow and turn knobs to resurrect a bit at a time, why can't it be done partially to begin with - so that it's not even really possible to be 100% certain what actually hit to most site owners or webmasters?

Dealing a blow to a site's PR still can be devastating. IMHO, it's far from dead, it can be used as a lethal controlled substance.

steveb

WebmasterWorld Senior Member steveb us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 4:29 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

The point here is with 94 sites in the top 500 and talking about a "site" doesn't mean much. These crap sites as a group don't rank highly for the hyper-competitive 6.8 million word search, but they are completely dominating less competitive and non-english terms. (If you have 7000 pages per domain, you can make a bunch in every language.)

Ten of the top 20 in Italian (199,000 results)
Eight of top 20 (including 1 through 3) in French (109,000)
Seven of the top 20 (including 1 - 6) in German (7,980,000)
Eleven of the top 20 in Spanish (26,800)
etc.

Yes PR isn't TOTALLY irrelevant, it does matter, but it is very, very trivial. 99% of the algorithm is anchor text, and raw volume of links.

==
Also, just to be clear, the point involves search result quality, not what "works" or doesn't, or the benefits of PR in terms of getting crawled more. Google has deliberately abandoned quality for volume (in terms of links) and the result is volumes of non-quality sites cluttering up the serps. If I'm searching for something purely as a user, I certainly don't want the same site to appear eleven times out of the first twenty.

EarWig

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 7:34 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

>and the result is volumes of non-quality sites cluttering up the serps. If I'm searching for something purely as a user, I certainly don't want the same site to appear eleven times out of the first twenty.

Quite agree with you Steveb

Your example, IMO, seems to contradict many postings and threads in WW wherby people believe that duplicate content can be sought out and dealt with by a filter.

I have read some postings here that claim they were caught by a duplicate content filter for one page alone and their listing returned after changing the page or removing it.

Whilst I do not disbelieve this statement it does pose the question - Why cannot blatant examples be dealt with?

Listings have been increasing in a certain sector, (over a 6-9 month period and in the UK only) which appear to contravene "guidelines" that members here believe exist.
(Anyone supplying services in our industry should be very aware of this as it is happening in our sector)

Having read many posts at WW regarding "Google do not always manually remove these listings, even after a spam report, but use the information to improve SERP's" and looking at some of the results referred to above one may find it difficult to believe that G can even find them easily let alone do anything about them.

WE should remind ourseleves of Googles "Quality Guidelines - Specific recommendations":
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
Don't employ cloaking or sneaky redirects.
Don't send automated queries to Google.[/b]
Don't load pages with irrelevant words.[/b]
Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
[b]Avoid "doorway" pages
created just for search engines, or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The examples referred to above are IMO in contravention of those "Quality Guidelines" in a big way.

SUBMIT a spam report I hear someone say - why should anyone at WW be required to do that? - technology should deal with it without the interference of webmasters.
:-)
EW

the_nerd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 8:35 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
Don't employ cloaking or sneaky redirects.
Don't send automated queries to Google.[/b]
Don't load pages with irrelevant words.[/b]
Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
[b]Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines, or other "cookie cutter" approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.

When checking a very popular keyword this morning I found a site with really relevant content selling 1000s of different products, they were well-known to millions of people even before the web existed.

And they rank #1 for a couple of keywords which they well deserve.

But - they didn't do it by dressing up their pages so they look nice - they use "no-cache-headers", sleazy doorway-pages and redirects.

IMHO they could easily make it to the top without all that - so why would they risk to get their 30-year old brandname banned? Is that just dumb or reckless SEOs? If they can make a page that is good enough for Google why not show it to the world?

SlyOldDog

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 8:50 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Steve

I looked up your main keyword and the top site was a PR6. So I'd hardly say that PR is dead.

That top site must get the lion's share of all traffic, and if they built foreign language versions those would be top too. I know, because we are in exactly that position and we don't have many backlinks with sexy anchor text.

Dave_Hawley



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 8:54 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Let's all *guess* the relevancy of PR in Google.

Yes PR isn't TOTALLY irrelevant, it does matter, but it is very, very trivial. 99% of the algorithm is anchor text, and raw volume of links.

That has to be the worse guess of the year! Good lord.

Dave

Jakpot

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 9:45 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google "abandoning pagerank" is the understatement of the year.

Hope so -

trillianjedi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 10:06 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think it is still relevant at the upper end of the market, so to speak.

Between PR0 and PR6 I can really detect very little influence on the SERPS.

PR7 - PR10 and google seems to take a little more notice of it.

That's what I've observed.

However, if you have a high PR, it probably follows that you have a fair amount of decent inbound links. If you have your keywords in the anchor text, you will do well in google. Full stop.

Therefore a site which is PR6 because it has 400 inbound links and a URL of www.keyword.com will perform extremely well. That is due more to the anchor inbounds than the PR6, per se.

Rather than just look at backlinks (which create Page Rank) you have to consider also the anchor text. This makes it a little hard sometimes to see whether a site is performing well due to PR or due to anchor text.

TJ

[edited by: trillianjedi at 10:19 am (utc) on Oct. 15, 2003]

caine

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 10:17 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

PR is a joke.

It give's some a good feeling to have a high PR, while having rubbish SERP's. I've just deleted the toolbar from my work's PC's, and a site with PR2 on every single keyphrase that i wanted it to well on it kills all site's in its way with many having PR's of 5.

The main problem with PR, is that PR junkies care more about PR more than they care about ROI. PR does not equal ROI, it never really did (interesting bit of marketing from Google), and certainly does not now.

The shifts with G's algo have not been a very quick weakening on the reliance of PR as the indicator of a site's content, but a mistaken assumption, that PR is a reflection of the content of a site, which possibly in a perfect world, with no spammers/affiliate's/ and any one else wanting more of it - PR could be representative of content, but the world ain't perfect, and PR is so far off the scale regarding content - its a spammers paradise.

Instead PR has confused the masses into thinking that High PR is great SEO, and google is the only search engine that ROI exists from!

mat

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 10:27 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes, it may be a 'spammers paradise', but equally (if not more so), so is keyword-in-link.

I'm with steveb in that I think the 'importance of pr' dial, far from being tweaked, was turned up to 11 and then snapped off.

ukgimp

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 10:27 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Caine

I agree and have ranted on the subject:

[webmasterworld.com...]

:)

kaled

WebmasterWorld Senior Member kaled us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 10:34 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think the pagerank tool of the toolbar was provided, in part, to distract webmasters. I uninstalled the toolbar a couple of months ago.

Kaled.

gibbon

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 10:43 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

PR does matter if you have lots of deepish content

I have just relaunched two sites

The PR4 still ranks well from the front and 2nd level pages, but it is the 3rd level pages, that do not rank so well, and these are where the most rich content is.

The relaunched PR6 ranks well for every level. Much better than the PR4.

The same principle applies to WW, if it was a PR4 then the traffic here would be a fraction of what it is now!

vitaplease

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vitaplease us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 10:57 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Many rightly motivated votes from the masses (poor PR) count for more ranking-wise, than one rightly motivated vote from the President (e.g. PR9).

[webmasterworld.com...]

I think Google did tune down the "Pagerank weighting of the individual page" within ranking, more than a year ago, but in principle that has always been the case IMO.

Lets say two pages A and B have "blue amazing widgets" only in the body text.
(i.e. only occuring once, same proximity, not in url, not in title, not in headings etc)

No other pages link to these pages with those words in the anchor text, title or heading etc.

Pagerank will then be the distinguishing factor in ranking.
(not so difficult I suppose, all things being equal, one distinguishing factor will always make the difference ;), but these type of searches do occur).

gibbon

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 11:05 am on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>but these type of searches do occur

and often these searches are quite obscure and very hard to optimise for as you cannot predict them.

i know i am speaking the obvious, but PR does matter especially if your site is full of content.

Comes back to the same old same old ... quality (& optimised) content = more links = more PR = more traffic = more inbounds = more PR = more traffic

steveb

WebmasterWorld Senior Member steveb us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 12:22 pm on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

The more competitive a search, the more PR still has some influence, but when one pseudo-site can get 34 of the top sixty places in the serps, it's plainly clear that death is imminent.

Google apparently can't discern near duplicate content, so hundreds of thousands of pages that are only microscopically different can "win" in most searches. 500,000 PR0 (or PR0.0137)links are capable of Google bombing most, but not all, search terms into irrelevancy. It's not that pagerank no longer exists everywhere. But it is clear that the entire concept of authority and valuation is in headlong retreat in most areas. Only at the very top competitive level does the bombing fail.

The example I gave, of the 94 sites in the top 500, only two are in the top 100 for the principal term, but they have as many as 11 of the top twenty for the less competitive related searches, most specifically non-english searches for the term.

ogletree

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 1:22 pm on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

EarWig - If you have 2 sites that have 2 different wrappers but the main body text is exactly the same and they rank well only one of them will show up for a search unless you add a &filter=0 after the Google search URL. Then both sites will show up. You can then put a no index no follow on the page that is hidden and in a week or so the one previously showing will dissapear and the one hidden will appear.

I have heard that people have had competiters do this to them to make them dissapear.

peewhy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 1:25 pm on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Who, in Webmasterworld still values the PR bar?

I haven't for quite some time but I think it would be interesting to see a show of clicks.

glengara

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 1:28 pm on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sort of surprised nobody's quoted Mark Twain yet ;-)

BlueSky

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 1:47 pm on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

You really need to control your hatred for bloggers. If you want to hate spammers okay, but bloggers as a group are not evil. The vast majority are just regular people who put up personal sites. The software is also used to create some small business sites and is being used on a number of large corporations/government intranets. For the most part, bloggers don't know about or use any SE optimization. They donít have to manipulate the system like many here do, because they attract popularity-boosting links the natural way.

If trackback pages are clogging up some results, then the problem lies with Google's algorithm. Their search results have been going downhill for awhile though. Look at those who have gloated here about boxing out SERPS for keywords using multiple subdomains or sites. Yet, you weren't on the warpath for them. That isn't any better of an experience for a surfer than having no-content pages from trackback/blogs.

Google's Page Rank has always been a flawed idea. Some here have a hard time accepting it.

gibbon

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 1:53 pm on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Page Rank may well be flawed, but is he dead ... or is he just resting ;)

skipfactor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 1:55 pm on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

If I cannot smoke in heaven, then I shall not go. ~ Mark Twain

rogerd

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 2:10 pm on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Skipfactor... I'm sure there's better smoking in the other direction, not to mention the ease of getting a light. :)

Glengara, I assume you mean that reports of PR's death have been greatly exaggerated? ;)

trillianjedi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 2:22 pm on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

rogerd/Glengara - MT quote could equally be:-

It has always been a peculiarity of google that it keeps two sets of PR in stock - the private and the real, and the public and the artificial.

;-)

TJ

kaled

WebmasterWorld Senior Member kaled us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 3:45 pm on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google's Page Rank has always been a flawed idea.

The idea is sound so long as the implementation is good and the resulting bias is reasonable. Unfortunately, the implementation seems questionable which makes it hard to judge if the bias right.

Kaled.

SlyOldDog

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 17636 posted 4:33 pm on Oct 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think PageRank is a great idea. The mistake was making it public via the toolbar.

This whole problem began because because of those PageRank for Sale threads.

IMO, by biasing towards anchor text, Google has moved from the frying pan and into the fire. It's even easier to manipulate than PageRank.

come on Google - when are you going to sort out those link pages?

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