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Google's Not Really All About Link's
High PR pages with no age and few links

 5:31 am on Mar 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Did anyone notice a popular site come through the news several months ago called <snip>? This site has a PR7 as of Oct 2005, but was developed merely a few months earlier in August 2005. At the time I found this site (in Oct.), it had less than 100 links in Google. I think link building is much less needed than previously thought for the SERP's. I think it is only one of many factors including:
1)reach - which this site had a ton of because of it's worldwide news coverage which was based primarily on the original business concept.
2)Links from front page press release and news sites, which also promoted reach.
3)The abscence of any valuable content shows that this is also a small percentage of the puzzle.
4)The sites link quantity shot up overnight with the buzz, and google didn't seem to punish the site in any way.

All in all, I think PR and IBL are a way for google to show how important your site is, and taking measures to inhance these things doesn't help your rankings alone. There is just a lot more to it than that. Does anyone want to comment on some other possibilities as to what should be done in addition to link building?

[edited by: lawman at 9:04 am (utc) on Mar. 11, 2006]


King of all Sales

 5:53 pm on Mar 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

We have a competitor with a PR6 and 37 reported links. They have no recip links pages and one page with about 350 outbound relevant links, none of which are recips. They do a lot of forum spam and they also do a lot of press releases.

One other thing they do is what Matt Cutts has referred to as "nearly hidden" text and Google has not done a thing about it. They are enjoying top placement.


 6:15 pm on Mar 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google is about both on-page and off-page factors -- not literally "all about" links. Their PageRank algorithm, at the time they introduced it, was a new way to cut through some of the on-page spam techniques that were trashing results on the established engines of that day.

So yes, links, anchor text and related link factors do figure in prominently -- both links from other sites and links within a site. Also many factors on the page itself play in. Other possible elements have been mentioned in their nearly infamous patent applications -- things like age of the domain and even traffic.

I wouldn't be surprised if the presence of a mail server on the domain mattered a little bit, as well as the presence of an SPF record. If I were Google, I'd be looking at every sign of quality and legitimacy I could think of to combat "search engine persuasion" -- and I wouldn't publicize anything but the very top of that pile.

PR6 and 37 reported links

I assume you know this, but it's worth mentioning again for all readers -- Google only ever reports on a sampling of links, and not nearly everything they have in their index. For research, check actual links on another search engine to get a clearer idea.


 8:39 pm on Mar 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm also sure you know this, but it does bear repeating...

All it takes for a PR6 page is one single PR7 link.


King of all Sales

 8:48 pm on Mar 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi Tedster -

Yes, I'm well aware of that. I'm only pointing out that it's unusual to see a PR6 with only 37 reported links. Their link count in MSN for example is just under 5000. We have a PR5 site with 95 reported links in Google and only a few hundred less than this competitor in MSN.

The quality of their links doesn't appear to be anything special either. That's why I too think that Google is placing less weight on links and more on other factors.


 12:15 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

it's unusual to see a PR6 with only 37 reported links.

Sanity check. Let's see what low-link count samples I can find within 10 minutes. The hard part is finding lots of stuff with a given PR.

PR Google-reported back links
4 5
4 28
4 34
7 747
5 98
5 93
7 518
6 45
5 9
6 68

So, is it "unusual"? Well, it's probably not the norm for PR6, but it's not that hard to locate (I figure 68 and 45 are pretty much in the same ballpark, and I only spent a few minutes looking).

This is actually a fun little game. I quickly decided that the trick was to find search terms representing niches that had a fair # of followers, but not much computer savvy. That seemed to raise the odds of finding a website that's popular, but not likely to have many inbound links. That, in turn, raises the odds of finding a low link count, where one of them happened to be from a high-PR source.


 12:25 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm only pointing out that it's unusual to see a PR6 with only 37 reported links.

Additionally to the points made above about google only showing a sample of links and the fact that one single link alone can create a PR<x> page (where x is equal to or less than the linking pages own PR), it's worth re-iterating that google's PageRank algo is about page rank and not site rank.

When you check backlinks, you are checking backlinks to a page and not a domain.

The effect of PageRank distribution throughout a site via its navigation links, especially where many deep links are involved, can often be a complicated thing to unravel.

Ideally, to get a more accurate view, you would need to look for backlinks to every single page on a domain.

That's why I too think that Google is placing less weight on links and more on other factors.

That's a widely held view, but not one that actually has any effect on pagerank, only SERPS rankings.

PageRank (PR "value" on a scale of 1-10) is a system based entirely and solely on links.


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