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This 55 message thread spans 2 pages: 55 ( [1] 2 > >     
Google Toolbar PageRank. Reality or Fiction?
Is TBPR to judge the quality of pages or just for entertainment purposes?
reseller

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 3:03 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi Folks

During the progress of my previous thread [webmasterworld.com], I was very surprised to see several contributors, including some senior members and moderators posting, in what seems high confidence, something to the effect that Google Toolbar PageRang (TBPR) of no value or useless tool in connection to judging the quality of pages. I myself have had such opinion too.
However, neither the "seniors" nor I have had any solid facts or testing results to support of the said claim. Mostly conspiracy theories are all what we hear, with all due respect.

Recently I became in doubt that TBPR is as useless as we might thought. I have started thinking; Why would Google create and promote a useless tool? Why would Google create a tool just to mislead the webmaster communities.

In fact the more I research the more I see consistence in what GoogleGuy and Matt Cutts said about TBPR. Something to the effect:

- TBPR is one of more than 100 different factors in how Google scores documents

- TBPR doesn't always displays the current value of PageRank.

- Millions of toolbar users use the PageRank display to judge the quality of pages

- Google updates its index data, including backlinks and PageRank, continually and continuously. Google only export new backlinks, PageRank, or directory data every three months or so though.

- At some point Google takes its internal PageRanks, put them on a 0-10 scale, and export them so that they're visible to Google Toolbar users.

And nothing of above indicates that the TBPR is useless to be used among other factors in judging the quality of pages.

Maybe its about time to do some change in our approach to Google Toolbar PageRank.

Thoughts?

[edited by: tedster at 3:53 pm (utc) on Oct. 7, 2006]
[edit reason] formatting [/edit]

 

Simsi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 3:59 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi reseller

I use TPR as an indication of the strength of my internal linking structure. If I have good homepage PR and a good spread of internal PR, it tells me that my internal linking is sound. I regard the actual level of PR as an indication of the strength of incoming links. High PR means I have good quality links, which as we all know seems to count for something in SERPS. I also apply this theory if I'm looking at other sites.

As a "user", if I see a site with PR, I pay attention if it's a non-business site, an entertainment site for example, I see good PR as a good indicator that it's a good site. If it's a site physically selling product, then I guess high PR adds to my subconscious feeling it's safe. But if it's affiliate based, or carries PPC etc, I disregard PR altogether and consider it "manufactured" (ie: obtained through linking strategies).

Just my take :)

Cheers

Simsi

[edited by: Simsi at 4:08 pm (utc) on Oct. 7, 2006]

vite_rts

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 4:21 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi reseller,

everything you've put in your opener is probably why a lot of folk ignore TBPR.

Its only valid use , IMHO, is to amuse uninformed web users.

As for google query tools, site seems to work, but would you care to comment on how useful googles link command is, or allinurl,, or related,,, or oh thats just about all the ones i know

who knows, after reading this post, google folk might decide to make it current and therefore usefull, , ,,,

OutdoorMan

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 4:26 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Its only valid use , IMHO, is to amuse uninformed web users.

Or maybe just another way of collecting valuable informations on webmaster behaviours.

s_clay

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 4:36 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Reseller;

Judging a sites value by TBPR is like judging a book by it's cover. Not a best practice.

trinorthlighting

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 5:05 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think tool bar page rank was once important, but then webmasters went on a back link hunt to try to manipulate serps, google realized it then downgraded its importance.

Since google already developed the technology, they opted to keep it around.

Honestly though, does the average user even look at that little green toolbar? No, they do not... They look at the results the serps give them.

My take, spend no time at all chasing that toolbar, spend all your time improving your site, adding content and expanding your sites products or services so you can get more traffic or repeat customers.

BTW reseller, you always start very good threads and your contributions to webmaster world are great.

Brian

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 5:54 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

My view is that, while PR is obviously an important factor, the PR meter gadget on the toolbar is primarily a marketing gimmick, intended to create a sense of added value, and hence promote loyalty to the toolbar and therefore to Google itself.

martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 7:44 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Here it is, a link to the fabulous Mike Grehan's website:
[e-marketing-news.co.uk...]

Here's my post with the quote:

>>>Three years ago Mike Grehan interviewed a Google engineer about this and other things. Here's what he had to say about using Toolbar PageRank for SEO purposes:

...we're not naive enough to think that we can condense every indicator about a page into a number from one to ten. We certainly can't do that.

So, if people are trying to look at what we're doing and their idea is based on that single number from one to ten, ... well, they're not going to be effective in figuring out what we're doing at all.


1: Don't be naive about the numbers 1-10
2: Don't rely on the toolbar as an SEO Metric, because you won't "be effective in figuring out what" Google is doing.

[edited by: tedster at 1:29 am (utc) on Oct. 8, 2006]

annej

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



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 10:17 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Looks like Mike's site is down at the moment so I will try later. Your URL is fine. I searched and went to it through Google to be sure.

For me it's been disappointing that my PR has gone down the last couple of years but it seems to be true on most sites in my field. It has not affected my rankings on hundreds of key words and phrases at all. So it's silly to care I guess.

As far as I can tell the only concern about PR would be if it is really tied to frequency and depth of spidering. It does seem to me that it's taking longer for new pages to get indexed. But I'm not sure if it is the lower PR or other changes Google has made.

I'm not really concerned about the public seeing my PR. I think even those who do add the Google bar rarely select the PR option.

It looks to me like the only way you can get your PR way up there now is to have a huge system of sites like that site thatis "about" things does. I think internal linking in these type sites give them an advantage in getting high PR. But then I beat sites like this on more specific key words anyway.

JackR

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 11:03 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

PageRank Explained .. by Google.

I'm not sure how long ago this was written, but I think it still holds some truth:


Google searches more sites more quickly, delivering the most relevant results.

Introduction

Google runs on a unique combination of advanced hardware and software.
The speed you experience can be attributed in part to the efficiency of
our search algorithm and partly to the thousands of low cost PC's we've
networked together to create a superfast search engine.

The heart of our software is PageRankô, a system for ranking web pages
developed by our founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford
University. And while we have dozens of engineers working to improve
every aspect of Google on a daily basis, PageRank continues to provide
the basis for all of our web search tools.

PageRank Explained

PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using
its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value.
In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by
page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of
votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts
the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more
heavily and help to make other pages "important."

Important, high-quality sites receive a higher PageRank, which Google
remembers each time it conducts a search. Of course, important pages
mean nothing to you if they don't match your query. So, Google combines
PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that
are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond
the number of times a term appears on a page and examines all aspects of
the page's content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to
determine if it's a good match for your query.

Integrity

Google's complex, automated methods make human tampering with our
results extremely difficult. And though we do run relevant ads above and
next to our results, Google does not sell placement within the results
themselves (i.e., no one can buy a higher PageRank). A Google search is
an easy, honest and objective way to find high-quality websites with
information relevant to your search.

[edited by: JackR at 11:07 pm (utc) on Oct. 7, 2006]

vite_rts

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 11:22 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

If we can all agree that TBPR is updated perhaps a maximum of 4 times a year,,,

Then TBPR is probably accurate for 4 instants in a year of instants

Now , what is an instant, well methinks it would be the lenght of time it takes the google algorithim an their super duper hardware to change their "continously update" indexes/caches rtc

To be generous, probably , TBPR is accurate for 4 minutes of every year,

Indeed, its possible that you could locate those 4 individual minutes an behold an accurate PR :-)

Good luck,

P.S. Like everyone here, i'm just guessing, who knows maybe the de google engineer has frozen all PR comps till 2007 or
has made TBPR synchronous with PR,

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 11:26 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Mostly conspiracy theories are all what we hear, with all due respect.

When these so-called "conspiracy theories" are validated with statements from Google employees, some as recently as this week, there is no respect, logic or fact in that statement about the senior members and moderators.

Matt said just the other day:
Oy, enough PageRank questions! :) My advice is not to obsess about PageRank too much; it is one of more than 100 different factors in how we score documents.

Reseller said:
And nothing of above indicates that the TBPR is useless to be used among other factors in judging the quality of pages.

Popularity and quality have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

I can spam sites like wiki's and pbpBB's, especially the member profile pages, and be a 'POPULAR' linked site and get PR without even trying. Heck, spam a wiki on an EDU or GOV if you can find one and write your own ticket ;)

[edited by: incrediBILL at 11:30 pm (utc) on Oct. 7, 2006]

reseller

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 11:37 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

incrediBILL
When these so-called "conspiracy theories" are validated up with statements from Google employees,..

You mentioned the following quote of Matt Cutts to support your above argument. Would you be kind to elaborate more on what does the following validate?

Oy, enough PageRank questions! :) My advice is not to obsess about PageRank too much; it is one of more than 100 different factors in how we score documents.

Its 1.35 am Sunday morning here. Please don't keep me waiting. I need to hit the bed soon :-)

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 11:50 pm on Oct 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

What it validates is what many of us already know is that PR is just a number, probably about as useful as Alexa site rank. That green bar in the toolbar gives people feedback on site popularity, that's it, so you can assume if a lot of people like a site, then it must be on topic, possibly good quality.

I've gotten top 10 results with a brand new PR 0 and a PR 3 and had trouble holding ground with a PR 6, there are MANY factors involved, just like Matt says.

FWIW, you can be a PR 7 with pages that don't rank whatsoever if your titles, descriptions, and content are poorly crafted junk. I know a PR5 that went 100% supplemental except the index page, they're still a PR 5 but one stupid mistake makes them virtually impossible to find.

Yet it can be gamed, so I put little value in it except as ONE factor in many determining how Google perceives my site, and for bragging rights.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 11:54 pm (utc) on Oct. 7, 2006]

andrewshim

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 4:44 am on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

but you know what?

when I applied for an a place in an ad management site, I did not get through, one of the reasons being my rank was not high enough.

later when I explained my site's rank was just updated to PR4 in the recent update, I was accepted.

many people still take into account a site's PR I suppose.

reseller

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 6:44 am on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Good morning incrediBILL

..... That green bar in the toolbar gives people feedback on site popularity, that's it, so you can assume if a lot of people like a site, then it must be on topic, possibly good quality.

Thanks. I'm glad you mentioned an area where you see the TBPR is useful. So you agree with what I wrote in my first post on this thread ;-)

And nothing of above indicates that the TBPR is useless to be used among other factors in judging the quality of pages.

martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 6:47 am on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Oh, so if I buy a link from a high PR website and my PR goes to 7, that means the toolbar is a useful measure of my high quality?

[edited by: martinibuster at 6:57 am (utc) on Oct. 8, 2006]

reseller

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 6:48 am on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

andrewshim

many people still take into account a site's PR I suppose.

Sure.

GoogleGuy wrote once:

millions of toolbar users use the PageRank display to judge the quality of pages.

Quadrille

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



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 7:27 am on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why would Google create and promote a useless tool? Why would Google create a tool just to mislead the webmaster communities.

They didn't. they created a tool to assist webmasters, then were forced to downgrade it's value after widespread abuse, and 'link fever'. - but after

TBPR is one of more than 100 different factors in how Google scores documents

NO - GPR is one of more than 100 different factors in how Google scores documents; GPR is ACTUAL page rank; not at all the same thing.

TBPR doesn't always displays the current value of PageRank.

TBPR virtually NEVER displays the current value - UNLESS the current value happens to be the same as the value 3 or 4 months ago. TBPR is updated, in MC's words "every 3-4 motnhths"

Millions of toolbar users use the PageRank display to judge the quality of pages

Because they, like you, have not thought enough about the crucial difference between GPR and TBPR, and / or have yet to realise that PR is now 'one of more than 100', rather than a deciding factor, as those folk insist on believing (encourage, I might add by many very stupid and irresponsible SEOs). Rant over ;)

Having said all that, I do believe that TBPR has a value.

I think of it as a barometer; It does not give me facts, it certainly does not give me guarantees - but it can give some clues, once you get used to it.

For example, a new-ish site showing tbpr - any tbpr - is probably doing something right, and is 'moving through the sandbox'.

An established directory (not a new, MFA or spam directory), showing a reasonable tbpr is probably a safe place to submit to. A new directory showing very strong tbpr is probably faking it (they do - ask Meg Ryan!).

But it's only a barometer - tbpr can NEVER be a safe away to assess a total stranger's site when they ask for a link exchange - they may be artificially inflating it for a few months, only to pull out support once they have secured a bunch of good links.

TBPR is one of about 100 useful indicators of a site's strength - that's 1%; nothing to EVER get excited about.

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 9:45 am on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks. I'm glad you mentioned an area where you see the TBPR is useful. So you agree with what I wrote in my first post on this thread ;-)

No, we don't agree, as it's really not useful except for boasting as PR can be gotten by buying links, spamming links or anything other method.

Quadrille

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



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 10:58 am on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks. I'm glad you mentioned an area where you see the TBPR is useful. So you agree with what I wrote in my first post on this thread ;-)

No, we don't agree - because the reasons you offer in support are 100% wrong - and actually quite seriously misinformed.
You really need to know the difference between GPR and TBPR, and be clear which PR people are referring to, before making such extravagant claims.

reseller

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 11:55 am on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Quadrille

You really need to know the difference between GPR and TBPR, and be clear which PR people are referring to, before making such extravagant claims.

I would be grateful if you explain to us the difference between GPR and TBPR and which PR people are referring to.

Shall reply to your other points later.

econman

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 12:26 pm on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

The (admittedly limited) evidence I've seen suggests the relationship between TBPR and GPR is very straightforward:

TBPR is a simplified approximation of GPR as of 1 to 8 months prior to the moment when you see the green pixels.

The biggest problems with using TBPR are that

1. TBPR lags behind GPR.

2. The duration of the lag varies widely and unpredictably.

3. TBPR is greatly oversimplified -- GPR is perhaps 100 times more precise.

4. Both TBR and GPR are generic measures, not topic-specifi measures. The SERPs depend heavily on topic-specific page importanc. A PR 3 page which has most of its inbound links coming from other pages focused on travel will outrank a PR 8 page on Linux with most of its inbound links coming from pages that are also focused on Linux -- assuming you are checking the SERPS for "travel" or similar keywords. If you are checking the SERPS for "Linux" "software" "programming" or similar keywords, the PR 8 page will probably outrank the PR 3 page every time.

Cumulatively, these 4 differences are sufficient to persuade some thread participants that TBPR is worse than useless -- it is an addictive waste of time which instills misinformation and confusion, misleading folks into making poor decisions.

On the other hand, some people (myself included) think TBPR can be useful, since it is an extremely quick, easy and effortless way of gaining some sense of a page's overall importance in Google's eyes.

I think TBPR is particularly useful in quickly spotting pages which are likely to be relatively new or distrusted by Google (no green pixels).

In turn, this provides some (admittedly limited) insight into the degree to which Google is capable of separating real sites from fake ones (e.g. spammy scraper sites).

jkatz

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 1:07 pm on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

The google toolbar give you 1 through 10. The fallacy with this is page rank is actually not a 1 through 10.

In actuality the tool bar represents a huge +/-

PR 0 is more like 1 to 100 to google
PR 1 is more like 100 to 1000 to google
PR 2 is more like 1000 to 3000 to google
PR 3 is more like 3000 to 10000 to google
PR 4 is more like 10000 to 20000 to google
PR 5 is more like 20000 to 40000 to google
and so on

each number is a vote of confidence that you page can be found by a random surfer and as you can see going from a page rank of 4 to 5 is not just one number it is actually double what a page rank 4 is.

Now these are just random numbers and I do not know what the actual are.

So...

Page rank tool bar is useful to let you know in general how Google feels about you but it is not very clear as to exactly how they feel about you.

If you have ever wondered why a page rank 4 is so much easier the page rank 5 or 6.. now you know :)

ALSO!

Page rank is not one of the 100's of factors to google (IMHO) I think it is one of the main 4 factors. Then the other make up about 20% of the decision.

1. Title
2. Incoming links
3. Content related to market
4. Page Rank (largely related to amount of pages and you internal linking structure along with you incoming links)

These make up the biggest bang for the buck (from 90% of my testing) and then everything else.

Quadrille

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



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 1:40 pm on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

I would be grateful if you explain to us the difference between GPR and TBPR and which PR people are referring to.
If you read this thread, and MC's blog, it will be clear - if that's too much, read econman's excellent summary.

You constantly refer to toolbar PR as if it were 'real, current, call-it-what-you-will PR'; but only Google has that information.

So 75% of your claims, refutations and counter claims are either (a) downright misleading or (b) wrong.

Do re-read them with the difference in mind. And don't worry; you are not the first person to make the error, and you won't be the last. ;)

Once the penny drops, you'll never make that mistake again ;)

MHes

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 1:58 pm on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

TBPR is a red herring which increases confusion for SEO. That is probably its main function.

PR is, in my opinion, calculated at run time for a specific keyword search. A search for "widgets" will produce a list of sites that are relevant for 'Widgets'. The top 100 is then scrutinised for links between those sites and a new PR value assigned to each site for that specific search, based only on the links seen from the other 100 chosen sites. Along with this 'on the fly' calculation, are the other 100+ factors which effect ranking.

Thus TBPR has little influence over serps, because it is not related to any Keyword. e.g.

A pr9 site appears in the top 100 for the search 'widgets'. Only a pr2 site within those 100 sites links to it, so the pr9 site drops its pr specifically for that phrase and becomes pr1 (probably). Other factors like title, anchor text etc all play a part in the eventual ranking position.

By isolating the pr calculation for a site on the sites found for a specific search phrase, the links that count are ones that will be on theme. TBPR does not do this, it is a raw gros potential PR figure that would only be achieved if all the sites that link to it appeared in a keyword search. It also does not take into account the filters that identify 'communities', style of link (links page?) or age.

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 4:22 pm on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

PR is, in my opinion, calculated at run time for a specific keyword search.

I disagree, quite strongly in fact. Even Google's internal PR number is not related to keywords or content. Those are taken into account, yes, but by other algorithm components.

doc_z

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 5:30 pm on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

PR is, in my opinion, calculated at run time for a specific keyword search.

Definitely not. Calculating at run time is
- (currently) impossible, because is too time consuming
- not necessary, because PR isn't keyword dependent but link structure dependent

BTW, one can proof that PageRank (not TBPR) is still a factor in the ranking algorithm, i.e. pages are ordered by PageRank (not by TBPR) if all other factors are the same.

Quadrille

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



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 5:39 pm on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think there's no doubt that 'real' PR is updated on a 'rolling' basis, probably as just one small part of the normal spidering and index updating.

Doing it on the fly isn't necessary. But the point is made; it's fluid, whereas TBPR is fixed, at least for 3-4 months at a time.

We do know that TBPR is not used in any google activities; it's a snapshot of 'real' PR, created purely for display purposes.

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 3112113 posted 5:41 pm on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

pages are ordered by PageRank (not by TBPR) if all other factors are the same.

Probably -- but...

1) we have only TBPR by which to judge, and
2) we don't even know what "all other factors" includes.

This 55 message thread spans 2 pages: 55 ( [1] 2 > >
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