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I Just Don't Get It
Page Rank, Longevity, and Rankings
MJunge

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34711 posted 9:20 pm on Jun 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

OK...we've been online as long as our main rival. Every dance we bounce all over the place. We've worked the optimization rituals and burned incense, sacrificed chicken wings, and been ripped off and paid our dues. We've worked hard and now have a PR of 4, which for our keywords is pretty good (we do <no specifics please>).

Here's where I can't figure it out. Our rival - online as long as us - NEVER moves when G changes the algorithm. I mean, NEVER. He's at number one and no matter what he does to his site...no movement. And, his PR is 3. Number 2 has a PR of 4 and five or six slots down...a PR of 5.

In just the last few days we've gone from 9 to 12 to 9 to 12 to 31...

Can anyone explain why what I though was conventional wisdom (higher PR = higher ranking) is wrong?

[edited by: tedster at 1:33 am (utc) on June 11, 2006]

 

Duckman2000

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34711 posted 3:57 am on Jun 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

You are not alone.

I know of MANY sites which have this inconsistent problem. Google refuses to do anything about it (it has been going on for quite a while) and as a result I have been recommending that all my clients and other people I come into contact with NOT use the Google search engine until they clean up their act.

I tell people that the current Google search results do not return some valuable sites and the results are not reliable nor complete. I know this from experience.

I consider this the same as a major bug in a software package.

piatkow

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34711 posted 7:40 am on Jun 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Your position in the serps will vary according to the search arguement used. Tests on my site have found minor variations in wording with have the postion jumping from no 1 to somewhere so low that I stopped counting.

Yahoo and Ask both seem to vary the position far less on small changes. Blue Widgets and Widgets Blue will come out within one or two places of each other while on G the variation can be counted in pages rather than positions.

MJunge

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34711 posted 11:55 am on Jun 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

paitkow - I understand the slight variations in the search string used - but then you are actually asking a different question each time.

This issue is when using the EXACT SAME key words - spelled the same, in the same order.

RichTC

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34711 posted 12:45 pm on Jun 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Just to add something to the mix the same data centre viewed from two different locations about 50 miles apart can show different results at the same time.

That one i just dont get. Have been checking with a friend on a regular basis i always thought that the data centre number would show exactly what it had on it no matter where you were

texasville

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34711 posted 3:03 pm on Jun 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

/Could be the basis of the pr. The one that never moves may have very "trusted" backlinks without having a high pr.

Crush

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34711 posted 3:09 pm on Jun 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

MJunge, get more links from lots of different c class ips. Changing with words on the page does not mean much.

andrewshim

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34711 posted 3:34 pm on Jun 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I wonder too. My site is ranked nowhere if you key in "money making [word]" but if you keyed in "moneymaking [word]" I'm there on page #1!
The thing that bugs me is that nowhere in my site do I have those keywords without the space... I'm very careful about that!

MJunge

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34711 posted 10:11 pm on Jun 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Crush - can you translate "c class ips" for me? Marketing is a second job for me, and its for one site (my wife's website), so every now and then some of the language escapes me.

And, as for backward links - the link: feature in G doesn't seem to be providing much fidelity. Anyone have any ideas on this?

ZoltanTheBold

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34711 posted 10:39 pm on Jun 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

MJunge

I too have this issue. Although the rival in question has more links, although they're fairly weak on the whole (including casinos no less).

Having analysed it as best I can I can't find a pattern except more links. The rival site is of a significanly lower quality and makes almost every classic mistake possible, from spelling mistakes to missing META tags to duplicate content to keyword stuffing in the title tags. It's practically a working example of how not to succeed, yet it does. And like your rival it never moves from number 1.

It just doesn't add up to me. However I have recently dumped my previous approach (ultra-high quality content, carefully chosen context relevant links, alt tags etc etc). Volume counts. If you can get 1000 links from 1000 crappy blogs you'll get a lot further than writing really crisp copy, and writing clean HTML.

My advice to anyone who wants to hear it is much of the stuff you read about quality probably originates from Google itself and is beginning to seem like pure hype. Almost anyone involved in SEO will have a few examples of some total piece of crap site that gets to the top by buying thousands of links. Why fight it man. Despite hearing so much on why it's important to cultivate community networks and get people to "naturally" link to you - it's all about numbers.

There are simply too many examples of sites that don't seem to do much of a job of anything yet do quite well. You just get to a point where you stop believing that Google have some super-clever plan that you're not quite bright enough to understand.

larryhatch

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34711 posted 11:05 pm on Jun 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

First of all, you are probably looking at so-called 'toolbar' PR rating.
Those are public, and almost certainly out of date since they are updated maybe twice a year.

Nobody I know is privy to Google's INTERNAL PR, the actual numbers used for SERPs rankings.

Even internal PR (probably some decimal number like 5.678 ) may not be the only factor. -Larry

JayC

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34711 posted 11:37 pm on Jun 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>Even internal PR... may not be the only factor.

I certainly isn't. It isn't even the only ranking element that is based on evaluating links.

>>Our rival - online as long as us - NEVER moves when G changes the algorithm.

His "lead" over the second ranked site is probably great enough to hold up against small changes, while yours is in a group of pages that are very close. So any small change in weighting, or perhaps the indexing of a handful of new links, or the calculated value of a couple of links, whatever it is, results in a reshuffling of the pages within that group.

Anyway, to analyze this I'd start by examining the links to that number one page/site. Comparing PageRanks doesn't come close to telling you what they're doing more effectively than you are.

>>I tell people that the current Google search
>>results do not return some valuable sites and
>>the results are not reliable nor complete.

You have to keep in mind that to the large majority of search engine users those things don't matter. That is, they matter only to those who are worried about their own rankings.

In general what people want in search results is to see a few good results in the first three to five listings returned. Most people don't keep going back to the search engine and running the same query again and again, so they don't really care if the page that was at #3 yesterday isn't there today. If there are 100 pages that would be appropriate in the results set, again most people don't care whether some of them are left out: they want to find two or three good results, as long as they get that they don't care about any other results that could have been there but aren't.

MJunge

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34711 posted 11:49 pm on Jun 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

JayC - thanks, you've given me an idea for a strategy.

andrewshim

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34711 posted 1:27 am on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

It just doesn't add up to me. However I have recently dumped my previous approach (ultra-high quality content, carefully chosen context relevant links, alt tags etc etc). Volume counts. If you can get 1000 links from 1000 crappy blogs you'll get a lot further than writing really crisp copy, and writing clean HTML.

My advice to anyone who wants to hear it is much of the stuff you read about quality probably originates from Google itself and is beginning to seem like pure hype. Almost anyone involved in SEO will have a few examples of some total piece of crap site that gets to the top by buying thousands of links. Why fight it man. Despite hearing so much on why it's important to cultivate community networks and get people to "naturally" link to you - it's all about numbers.

I kinda agree both ways. If I let myself get caught up in getting crappy links, then chances are I will pay for it somehow in the future. But if I don't do it, then I lose out to lots of crappy sites while I'm building quality content.

The thing is, after that initial click when I land on a crappy site, I make it a point to remember never to visit that site again. What makes me come back to a site again and again is the content. I WANT to see what's new...

So I suppose the best way is to play both ends... build good content and get 1000's of crappy links? LOL!

jdMorgan

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



 
Msg#: 34711 posted 3:09 am on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Zoltan,

The advice to build a quality site may indeed come from Google, and that's important. It's a statement of their goal to rank sites with quality content higher than those without.

But this is for some unpredictable future, when their algorithm is flawless and can actually determine true 'quality'. Their first step was to trust other Webmasters to 'vote' for high-quality sites with links. That was a major improvement in the time that the Web was mostly non-commercial; Academics and dedicated amateurs naturally linked to the best academic and informational sources, and the system worked.

It's only when money came to dominate the Web that linking-based PR started to break down. So now, PR is only a small part of the algorithm, and you see search-related patents being issued related to many other ways to automatically determine 'quality' or to approximate that goal.

So, if you build a quality site, it will be good for the long haul, and should do better on average as time goes on, assuming that search engines are more and more successful at determining true 'quality' over time. For the short term, there are literally hundreds of other factors you can experiment with, as long as you don't cross the line and get booted.

So, yes, andrewshim's approach may be right: Good unique content and maybe not 'junk' links, but a lot of links, and a lot of other on-page and off-page factors as well.

Jim

Crush

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34711 posted 9:11 am on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Quality sites are nothing without the liks. The poster above is just giving bad advice. Links + unique content. Links,links and more links.

ZoltanTheBold

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 34711 posted 7:01 pm on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

The advice to build a quality site may indeed come from Google, and that's important. It's a statement of their goal to rank sites with quality content higher than those without.

This is true, the operative word being their goal is to rank for quality - they seem to be a long way away from that. However it is still hard to ignore poor quality sites that do well.

I agree with andrewshim, you need a good quality site for when the actual humans do visit. I don't dispute that. However the original point was SERP fluctuation, from which some seem immune. My point being that a quality website and quality links are great but nothing seems to beat 35,000 pretty average ones.

A point that follows on from this is if you have limited resources and can only do one or the other (get links or have a fantastic site) then the smart money's on links. There's simply too much evidence to ignore this.

Also if it's true that Google struggle (for now) to ascertain quality, then lots of links exploits that weakness. If they have limited scope to work out context, and it's effect on quality, it is harder for them to discount some of the links you may have acquired.

I'd be the first to admit it's not a long-term strategy as quality does count for people, but it's hard to ignore the evidence.

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