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Has PR become more or less important over time?
Only cold hard proof please :)
HitProf




msg:89730
 8:04 pm on Aug 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Is there proof for the theory that PR in itself has become less important over the years? Or more important, if you wish?

I'm not talking about link text, passing PR, relevancy or anything else, just the influence of PR itself on rankings - over time.

(And how did you measure that? :) )

 

HitProf




msg:89731
 10:40 am on Aug 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Anyone?

Baron3000




msg:89732
 11:06 am on Aug 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

relevancy forever :)

Skier




msg:89733
 4:43 pm on Aug 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I weaned myself off the toolbar amost a year ago. I haven't looked at my site's PR, or that of my competitors for a long time now. I continue to work on my site's positioning without worrying about PR. With my primary keywords yielding a #1 position at the moment, I can't say I am missing it much.

I used to monitor PR fluctuations quite compusively. About a year ago I come to believe that the TBPR was not providing useful information. So, to answer your question, PR has become less important to me and my little commercial site.

HitProf




msg:89734
 5:21 pm on Aug 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks Baron and Skier. I hope more people will jump in?

I think PR is less important than it was a few years ago, simply because we have newer developments. But what do you think? And what factors have become more important?

seoArt




msg:89735
 6:51 pm on Aug 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

My experience has been that PR is not as important when competing for easy to target keyword phrases.

When my site's pagerank has increased, it ranks better for single keywords and hard-to-target two keyword phrases.

I have noticed no significant change in the past two years regarding the overall importance of PR.

BigDave




msg:89736
 7:24 pm on Aug 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well, if you are going to insist on "Only cold hard proof" then I am surprised that you got any responses. GoogleGuy is the only one here that can show that, and he ain't gunna.

Here is what I believe, with no proof at all:

- PR used to be the most important factor.

- PR is still the most important factor. But it is slightly less important.

- Worrying about what your TBPR is pointless unless you are concerned that you got a PR0.

- There is no value in *knowing* the number, just keep working on *increasing* the number. I check the PR of my site about every 3 months, and that is only an ego thing.

It really doesn't matter if PR is more or less important than it was. As long as it is still used, it is still worth getting more of.

the_nerd




msg:89737
 7:36 pm on Aug 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

no hard fact, sorry ...

but I have the IMPRESSION that there IS something like "site rank". If the site is cool G-wise, a page will rank even with TB PR of 1.

hotftuna




msg:89738
 7:50 pm on Aug 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have a site with good content and a PR6. The site receives just a few visitors/day at most.

In the past, I have never seen a site with a PR6 and little/no traffic.

I also see several sites ranking first page for a competitive keyword phrase that are PR0 on the home page.

dertyfern




msg:89739
 7:58 pm on Aug 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've got a few sites that enjoy excellent PR, but get outranked by lesser PR sites for target phrases--and vice versa--so my opinion is that PRs weight in the ranking algo has been dimished relative to previous years.

steveb




msg:89740
 9:03 pm on Aug 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Is there proof for the theory that PR in itself has become less important over the years?"

No.

Powdork




msg:89741
 10:54 pm on Aug 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I believe if you had a pr 6 one year ago and you still have a pr 6 it is worth roughly the same. If your site just got to pr 6 I don't believe it will have as much value attached to the PR as the one that has been PR 6 for a year.

jady




msg:89742
 11:27 pm on Aug 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think it has. Our site has always had a PR5 or PR6. Copy/keyword density isnt over done - always ranked in top 3 for our choice keywords. Lately we fluctuate from the top 3 to, per say, 6 or 7. No biggie, but sites ranking higher are less creative and have lower page ranks. I really dont even care anymore! HEY! Thats what they want us to do - not even care anymore. Guess what Corporate Google - ITS WORKING! :P

nippi




msg:89743
 11:32 pm on Aug 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

My main site is pr 6, with approx 150 pr4/5 incoming links. My main competitor has 10+ Pr4+ links and one pr7 incoming link, and they rank above me.

Most other aspects are as close to being the same as possible without being identical. site size, age kw density, content etc.

I beleive the pr7 link is the major factor. They ranked WAY below my site until 3 months ago... when the site that has the pr7 link, jumped from pr5 to pr7. That is the only change.

I am convinced pr is king

karmov




msg:89744
 12:43 am on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've been staying away from this topic because of the demand for "cold hard proof".

It's hard gauge this because its difficult to separate PR and inbound link text. I believe that PR's taken a slip, but is still a factor that can't be ignored. What evidence do I have? Basically a hunch based on a bunch of changes I've made over the last bunch of months. Could those hunches be clouded by changes to variables I'm not aware of? Most likely. That's why neither I nor many people on this board can't offer you the cold hard proof you're looking for. Those who could offer you the cold hard proof have probably worked so hard to get it that they're not likely to give it away :)

stevenb 1959




msg:89745
 12:51 am on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

To sum it all up. Page rank has the same value it had in the past, but now there are more factors (other than page rank) that represent pieces of the pie, making the pie piece that represents page rank smaller.
Just my 2c worth, based on my website analysis.

LogicMan




msg:89746
 1:59 am on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Absolutely PR has less value.

Proof: Keyword searches I track (results 500,000 - 1,000,000)

Last year: top 10 were basically PR6 - PR7 with a random PR5

Now: top 10 are about equally distributed from PR3 - PR7.

However, given that everything else is equal, I'll still take a PR7 over a PR3

Liane




msg:89747
 3:16 am on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hmmmm, cold hard proof huh? Well, how about this.:

My site was #1 for a particular set of keyword phrases for about 10 months. Another "authority" site with many more incoming links than I have, stole my copy and immediately ousted me from my comfy position.

Wanting to see exactly how much affect PR has, I then took the same copy and put it on another site I own with the exact same content on the page with the exception of the name of the site. This site has fewer links than the site with the original copy.

The rank for identical copy once all pages were indexed was:

Thief: #1
My site with the original Copy: #2
My site with the borrowed copy and fewer links: #3

So ... given that all things (copy wise) are equal, incoming links definately make a difference.

Having said that, many of my pages beat competitors with many, many more links than I have and that, IMHO, is strictly due to superior writing. I am not blowing my own horn, I am simply stating what I believe to be fact.

Links are definitely important ... provided all things are equal and you are comparing apples to "cloned" apples. There are other factors which matter as well. My site has a PR of 5. Good writing skills can and will outperform sites with a PR of 7.

So there you go!

ownerrim




msg:89748
 3:20 am on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

whatever weight is presently given to pr, when all else is equal pr breaks the tie. imo.

nippi




msg:89749
 4:51 am on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Lianne

I suspect the difference between the pr5 and pr7 sites, are the incoming link anchor text.

As all else is much the same, i'm thinking your writing skill has little to do with it.

Google is not a critic, not does it check grammar. A page with random words on it, with the target words in the correct kwd density will do as well as the best written page with the same kwd

HitProf




msg:89750
 6:41 am on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi all,

Thanks for jumping in. I asked for cold hard proof to prevent the thread from running away, and because ather people asked me for proof :) But OK, that's hard to find and we have a nice discussion now.

I'm not concerned about PR, not even a PR0 (Google's ipo-site has a PR0 and still ranks well for Google IPO), but I was trying to convince others on a Dutch forum. Somewhere in the discussion I posed that PR was over valued and had become less important over time. It's just my feeling as I've never been very much interested in PR but they asked how do I know this and can I proove that. So I promissed to ask my international friends :)

I know (like some of you say) that PR matters and that makes the difference when all else is the same (thanks Liane!). But that is seldom the case. I think anchor text is more important the PR. So is a combination of on the page criteria. PR may be more important for more competitive queries but I still have to see proof for that. As long as a PR4 or 5 can outrank a PR 7 I'm not going to worry as most sites can become a PR 4.

BigDave




msg:89751
 8:18 am on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

No disrepect intended, but stating "all things being equal" is really a pretty lame position.

Of course, if everything else is equal, an improvement in *any* factor will cause a site to rank better than the others.

The difference between pagerank (as well as similar non-content factors) and all those on-page and off-page content related factors, is that PageRank type factors apply to all searches, not just for specific search terms.

Having the anchor text "Spatula City" might be worth more than the PR of the same link when it comes to ranking on a [spatula city] search, but the anchor text does nothing for you when someone searches on [pancake flipper].

Then there is the effect that the PR of that page can have on other pages. Great anchor text for Page1.html, doesn't do Page2.html any good if Page1 links to it. But the PR of that link to Page1 will influence the PR of Page2.

Other factors do not cover the same range as PR either. From PR0.00001 to PR11. At the low end you are lucky to get crawled, at the high end, you could screw up big time and still rank.

You hear about a good PR4 beating a poor PR7, but you don't hear about many wonderful PR2 pages beating a PR8 that is giving a keyword half a try. Go to any PR10 page, pick some random words on that page and do a search on them. The PR10 page probably will not show up in the results, but I doubt that you will find any page lower than a PR6 on the first page of results, even if it is really optimized for that term.

If the base of the TBPR is 6 (which is the most common that I have heard suggested) then a low PR7 is only about 36 times as good as a PR4, but a low PR3 to a high PR7 is a factor of around 7000. And those aren't even at extreme ends of the range.

HitProf




msg:89752
 8:33 am on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Of course, if everything else is equal, an improvement in *any* factor will cause a site to rank better than the others.

I agree. It only prooves PR has any effect at all.

Additionally: you almost can't have everything else equal because of differences in link text or domain name.

HitProf




msg:89753
 9:12 am on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

btw thanks for the excellent explaination in the rest of your post BigDave.

Rogi




msg:89754
 2:55 pm on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

I still tend to believe in the value of PR - hand in hand with anchor text in inbound links.

For example, take the search term: computer
(you'd have to agree it is a highly competitive term)

If you look at the first page of results, you'll see Apple.com, Dell.com, Compaq.com

Now take a closer look at those sites, I wouldn't consider them 'optimized' for the term computer. (hardly used at all on any of them)
However, they all have a High PR and most likely lots of links from other sites containing the word 'computer'.

This is my reasoning as to why i think PR and links from Other sites are more 'important' in terms of Search Results than other factors such as 'content'.

(Don't get me wrong though, i still believe content is important, take a look at results #24 for example, 0 PR)

P.S. This is my first 'non-introduction' post. Nice place u got here! :)

HitProf




msg:89755
 4:08 pm on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Welcome Rogi!

And thanks for your insight. I tend to think PR is more important for more competitive/general queries and less important for others. In most cases you can rank well with lesser PR and outrank high PR sites.

(I'm not saying PR does nothing for you, only that there is more to it for ranking :))

trillianjedi




msg:89756
 4:41 pm on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

i still believe content is important, take a look at results #24 for example, 0 PR

Take a look at it's backlinks...

Has PR become more or less important over time?

PR remains one factor in the google algo.

It's importance to the overall algo fluctuates. The correct answer to your question (which is impossible to answer except by a Google employee as stated) may not be the correct answer to the same question asked in 6 months time.

If you're looking for short-term and fast results in google, you need anchor-text inbound links. In which case PR will naturally follow anyway.

So I don't think it really matters? What is undeniable, even if you simply look at it from a traffic perspective, is that inbound links to your pages are a good thing.

TJ

europeforvisitors




msg:89757
 4:50 pm on Aug 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

If you look at the first page of results, you'll see Apple.com, Dell.com, Compaq.com

Now take a closer look at those sites, I wouldn't consider them 'optimized' for the term [keyword]. (hardly used at all on any of them)
However, they all have a High PR and most likely lots of links from other sites containing the word 'computer'.

True, but remember that actual PR isn't on a linear scale. A site like Apple (PR10), Compaq (PR9), or even Dell (PR8) has vastly more PageRank (compared to a run-of-the-mill PR6 or PR7 site) than might be apparent from the PageRank meter in the Google toolbar.

It's also worth noting that the #1 site for the term you mentioned isn't Apple (PR10), but a PR8 media site. And the #8 result for that keyword has a toolbar PageRank of 0 (white bar) on its home page.

FWIW, my own site has a direct competitor at a major portal site that's nearly always PR7 in the Google toolbar, compared to my own home page's PR6. Yet I consistently rank higher in Google's SERPs for the keywords and keyphrases that I monitor, and that competitor's site has been slipping in Google's search rankings. I suspect this has something to do with less credit being given to crosslinked subdomains, but in any case, it does tend to support the idea that PageRank is just one of many factors that go into search rankings.

internetheaven




msg:89758
 4:35 am on Sep 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I believe if you had a pr 6 one year ago and you still have a pr 6 it is worth roughly the same.

Not true, back in those days if I was top 10 for widgets then I'd be top 10 for "blue widgets", "red widgets" and "widgets on fire" just because of my PR. These days PR is a floating number dependant on the keyword being searched for. e.g.

I may be PR3 for "blue widgets"
I may be PR6 for "widgets on fire"
I may be PR4 for "red widgets"

This would be with Google's advancing knowledge and application of anchor text and inbound links to specific pages rather than sites. The actual green bar in the Google Toolbar is just a number that indicates how popular my site is to Toolbar users and basically indicates only what it is said to indicate - "This Page's Rank".

Proof: Keyword searches I track (results 500,000 - 1,000,000)
Last year: top 10 were basically PR6 - PR7 with a random PR5
Now: top 10 are about equally distributed from PR3 - PR7.

How many terms did you check - One? Two? The top ten is completely varied even consisting of PR0's in some cases which are ranking above PR5's. The only extensive research I've done in this area is on commercial keywords (thousands of them) which I can't post so please sticky me if you want some.

But why not try "chewing gum"?
Result number 8 is PR1
Result number 9 is PR2
Result number 10 is PR4
Result number 11 is PR5
Result number 12 is PR0
Result number 13 is PR4
Result number 14 is PR4

Chewing gum isn't the best example but the results obviously go against that concept that the Green Bar Number is a huge factor in the above rankings.

The difference between pagerank (as well as similar non-content factors) and all those on-page and off-page content related factors, is that PageRank type factors apply to all searches, not just for specific search terms.

Now this is where the argument sometimes gets confusing. The PageRank patent (as far as my limited knowledge can understand it) was not solely aimed at producing a Green Bar. Therefore, I feel from my research that the actual number on the Green Bar no longer has any bearing on ranking - rather, it is an indication that that particular site must have quality inbound links. (Quality can either be defined by PR and/or quantity of links).

Therefore, I put it to this forum (sorry, I used to love playing Cluedo as a kid and that phrase has always appealed to me!) that the fact high PR sites always rank well is incidental/co-incidental. That it is the good quality inbound links that affect the ranking and that the PageRank is merely an indication of that - to the extent that the inbound links increase the ranking of the page linked to by the keywords used and the topic of the linking page rather than the actual PageRank of the linking page. Otherwise the page linked to would technically rank the same for all keywords aimed at (as we saw when Google made PageRank the overwhelming ranking factor).

P.S. It's 5.30am here and I haven't slept in a long time so if I babbled incoherently and offered up Lincoln conspiracy theories then I apologise ...

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