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This 181 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 181 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 > >     
Proposed: Google Should Stop Displaying Toolbar PR
tedster

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



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 7:23 am on Aug 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

This is part 1 of the discussion, and it is locked. Part 2, the active
thread, is here: [webmasterworld.com...]

Toolbar PR is not just a harmless toy or an entertainment.

Toolbar PageRank numbers can be 3 months out of date or more. Some "PR Updates" have been buggy enough to seriously misrepresent a page's real PR. But despite these openly discussed flaws, the toolbar "report" affects the web culture in many ways - and most of them are negative.

Matt Cutts has blogged that PR Updates are considered pretty much a non-event around Google. But when that "non-event" is also buggy (because Google sees it as unimportant?), then some advertisers will not pay fair value to a website for hosting their ads. That's not entertaining at all, and it's no longer a non-event.

In our previous threads about reporting paid links [webmasterworld.com] and the rel="nofollow" attribute [webmasterworld.com], members expressed their frustration with the way Google's green pixels have distorted the natural balances of the web.

Enough is enough. Can't the folks in Mountain View see that this situation is nowhere near honorable or "entertaining"? Since it seems that up-to-date and accurate PageRank reporting is an extremely unlikely step for Google to take, I think the time has come for them to stop reporting ANY green fairy dust at all. Keep it as part of the secret sauce, sure, but stop teasing the public at large with funny numbers.

As I see it, PR (PageRank) = PR (Public Relations), and that's the main reason that Google keeps Toolbar PR report around. Branding. Image. Mindshare.

What do you think? Could you live without TBPR (Toolbar PageRank)? Would not seeing it help the web as a whole, or hurt it?

[edited by: tedster at 7:57 pm (utc) on Aug. 14, 2007]

 

menial

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 2:34 am on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google search box is a much bigger motivator for using the toolbar than the PR gauge is.

I absolutely agree. But now both IE7, Firefox, and Opera have the search boxes built in BY DEFAULT so there's really no reason to have the Google toolbar installed... It made sense a couple of years ago, not any more.

trinorthlighting

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 2:46 am on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

If you want the pixels to stop displaying, simply remove it.

Miamacs

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 3:01 am on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Actually, the biggest laugh here is when someone mentions Alexa as an alternative measurement device. Laughed so hard I almost fell out of my chair. The one thing on the net more out of sync and clueless is Alexa.

I didn't respond at first but let me tell you.
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

We did get a link exchange request for one of the most prominent sites of ours in such a context.

...

Point is, Alexa rank tells you but one thing.
Current trend of SEOs, Webmasters visiting your site.

Ours is top 3000.
Theirs was top 6nnn something.
Pure SEO stuff.
I congratulated and moved on.

Not that I usually reply, and not that we have a SINGLE exchanged link on that site. But this was so ridiculous I couldn't leave it unanswered.

Just a sidenote, their traffic was but a fragment of ours, reason is, ours is popular among a wider audience. The opposite trend isn't that rare either, a site with virtually no rank in Alexa outranking the others, gaining much more traffic.

CainIV

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 6:26 am on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

PageRank is an important signal and remains one of many effective measures of quality

How can something that is so notably out of date be valuable?

How out of date are the current results? Most people have no idea just how out of date the results are. 3 months? 6 months?

My sense is unless the toolbar pagerank is updated to provide real time results it is not of much value to most people.

I have an old watch that lost some battery life. Tells time, but its about 3 months and some days behind (I cant tell JUST how far behind it is) but I extrapolate :)

adfree

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 7:44 am on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Why do I mostly see comments on either keep the flawed TB or drop it altogether?

Is the largest, most educated and outspoken webmaster community not strong enough to request a flawless tool that could largely support Google's very vision and mission?!

Hey, this is my 999's post ;-)

pontifex

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 10:04 am on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

The one thing on the net more out of sync and clueless is Alexa

we know that, but the idea behind that information is sexy, IMHO!

steveb

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



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 10:08 am on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

"That will help discredit link brokers and link sellers."

That's absolutely backwards. Link brokers exist to perfrom a real task, not a phantom one. The point is to buy real PR/ranking/value. The toolbar is the single thing that mitigates AGAINST far worse, far more widespread link buying.

Now, you can look at a PR3 page, and, well its freaking PR3. Without the toolbar, a person could look at that same PR3 page, go to yahoo and see it ahs 10,000 links pointing at it. With the toolbar, the page is PR3, ho-hum. Without the toolbar a person could estimate the PR of that page as anywhere from PR1 to PR5 or maybe 6 (since you can see no definite high quality pages linking we can rule out PR7 or above).

So lets get real here. The toolbar keeps link selling in check, to some degree. That is plainly obvious. Without it, every dingbat site online would get 1000+ links to every page it can and sell links based on its volume of links... with links obviously far easier to get than PR.

If Google gets rid of the toolbar, link brokers increase by a factor of ten, easily.

Quadrille

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



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 10:29 am on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

While I abso-tootally agree that the Little Green Bar is not fit for purpose, and can be misleading to those who know no better (see above for unassailable arguments to that effect), the fact remains that the Little Green Bar does have three useful functions.

1. The Barometer Effect

While terminally useless as a day-to-day guide to the value, usefulness, rank or anything else of a site, a grey bar on a not so new site - or a site that used to have green - does wave a very useful red flag. Then a little investigation will get the facts.

2. SEO 101 End Of Year Exam

While terminally useless as a day-to-day guide to the value, usefulness, rank or anything else of an SEO, any questions about the green bar, or claims made on its behalf, instantly labels an "SEO" as an out of touch would-be-scammer, who doesn't know his coccyx from his upper limb ginglymus. Which is a major plus for the rest of us.

3. A Never Ending Source of Amusement

While terminally useless as a day-to-day guide to the value, usefulness, rank or anything else of, well, anything, the Little Green Bar has become a mascot; a dear little fellow from another planet, full of life and jollity, without malice, purpose or a care in the world.

Without the Little Green bar, threads like this could never exist, and the World would be poorer for that.

Join the NSPClittlegreenbar :)

[edited by: Quadrille at 10:32 am (utc) on Aug. 9, 2007]

beren

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 10:55 am on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Now, you can look at a PR3 page, and, well its freaking PR3. Without the toolbar, a person could look at that same PR3 page, go to yahoo and see it ahs 10,000 links pointing at it. With the toolbar, the page is PR3, ho-hum. Without the toolbar a person could estimate the PR of that page as anywhere from PR1 to PR5 or maybe 6 (since you can see no definite high quality pages linking we can rule out PR7 or above).

Exactly right. As flawed as toolbar PR is, it is of some value and people use it when buying and selling links. They use it to estimate the value of a link.

With no toolbar PR, the credibility of links for sale is much more suspect. With no toolbar PR, buyers will be more leery. We won't get as many purchases of links in an attempt to buy Page Rank.

If Google stops displaying toolbar PR, it will be a blow to the link industry. To my mind, that is a good thing.

Habtom

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 11:07 am on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

The message seems to be simple, G should keep a flawless PR, and till they get it right, stop displaying it.

... but wait, didn't I promise myself I would see my site with PR 9 one day?

kapow

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 11:18 am on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google: "Wondering whether a new website is worth your time? Use the Toolbar's PageRankô display to tell you how Google assesses the importance of the page you're viewing."

The PR display is not great, but it's better than nothing.

Sometimes I am asked to introduce a friend to the web. They might not even know what a browser is. I think "this poor guy/girl is gonna be scam fodder". When it comes to which sites the web-novice can trust, one of the few bits of advice I can give is to be more wary of sites with no PR.

Alexa is way too skewed, the data is generated only from those who have Alexa tools - and they are mostly webmasters, so you see stats about what that kind of webmaster values, not stats that represent the real world.

If you want the pixels to stop displaying, simply remove it

I don't think the problem is what the enlightened think, its about how the unaware are influenced by the toolbar, and how the enlightened are influenced by the unaware.

TBPR is in a bad way, I think Tedster has put the case VERY well.

what feature you would like to see.

- A popularity report (geen pixels, numbers, waiving marshans... who cares - just something we can trust),
- A 'safe/unsafe site' indicator (i.e. a scam reporter).
- Obviously I would love to see genuine traffic stats or rank stats - but I think that is too much of a hot potatoe for Google.

Does this go any where?:

  • Ad buyers 'should' do x
  • Web surfers 'should' know x
  • Web masters 'shouldn't' think x
  • Google 'should' announce x
  • The web 'should' be x

Because:
  • Many businesses (potential clients) are unaware of the system, and we are not all fortunate enough to choose our clients.
  • Web surfers (especially new ones) can't know how to avoid a phishing/spyware site,
  • Google is a major business and will not change things that help their PR (public relations) even if it is innaccurate,
  • The web will and is growing the way 'it' wants to. We can all say where it should go, or predict where we think it will go (and some people may be close), but it will probably become things that none of us imagined.
  • There will probably never be a neutral site scoring system because there isn't the funding. As soon as someone provides the funding then it is a money-issue and almost certainly can't be neutral (now there is a wonderful idea for an open source project).

MrSpeed

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 11:24 am on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Taking away the toolbar PR will not end link selling. A new metric will quickly rise to replace it. Maybe link sellers will publicly display their analytics or tracker stats. Maybe link brokers will develop their own tracker and roll their own formula for valuing links.

The Contractor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 11:34 am on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

PageRank is an important signal and remains one of many effective measures of quality

How can something that is so notably out of date be valuable?

If you read Adam's post he doesn't state anything about the toolbar PR being important, only that PageRank is still a factor:

PageRank is an important signal and remains one of many effective measures of quality, but admittedly it's often viewed and used/abused in ways that run contrary to the interests of searchers and webmasters. Still, a lot of folks find the PR information useful;

Quadrille

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



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 11:37 am on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

MrSpeed:
Taking away the toolbar PR will not end link selling

No, it won't. but it will make it harder for the scammers, and - much more important - it will take away their "Google Says So" argument, that helps them prey on the innocent, and gets Google a bad name.

kapow: Great Post!

Repacing a green bar with a possible red warning bar would be great - but even Google makes 'false positive' errors in spam identification ;) so it would need to be an absolutely objective indicator; is that possible?

I'm wary of ever asking Google to give away info that may help spammers; so a hidden text here alarm or a keyword stuffing alarm are probably out. As is Yowza! MFA Cr*pola. Probably.

But how about a "bad neighborhood nearby" indicator?

amythepoet

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 12:04 pm on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

I agree wtih Steve

I use the toolbar all the time, it's better than nothing

cabowabo

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 12:22 pm on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

My biggest issue with the TBPR is that the data is always out of date, and as Ted mentioned, often up to three months old. This leads to fraud. Do a search in eBay for Domain PRx (fill in the number you want) and then check those domains closely and the PR5, PR6 or PR7 that the site claims to have is fraudulent ... as the current PageRank is 0.

Adam, if Google feels that having PageRank show on the toolbar is beneficial as a measure of quality then please update the information far more often. Old information doesn't benefit webmasters, it benefits the scammers selling fraudulent domains.

drall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 12:22 pm on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Toolbar data means nothing to a webmaster, I have pr 2 pages outranking pr 7 pages for 2 phrase terms. I have pr 7 pages slogging it out for 1 phrase terms. It is useless and has been for a couple years.

I can understand it makes some people warm and fuzzy to say hey look at my pr blahblah site! But the reality is the other factors are the new pr. That secret sauce which is sketched out on our board here by 2 MIT brainiacs.

With confusion there is profit and Google has done its very best to confuse. I don't blame them one bit, after all they are in business to make money.

"Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near."

Quadrille

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



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 12:58 pm on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Adam_Lasnik:
PageRank is an important signal and remains one of many effective measures of quality, but admittedly it's often viewed and used/abused in ways that run contrary to the interests of searchers and webmasters.

No-one's arguing about PR iself; and we know that as a Google Internal Tool, it's probably central. It's Toolbar PR - a very different animal by about three months - that is abused.

Still, a lot of folks find the PR information useful

Not so. Many spammers and scammers find PR information useful [assuming that by PR information, you refer to the LGB - little green bar]. The vast majority of people who think it's useful, are people who are not aware that it is three months or so out of date.

it provides a great incentive to try out our toolbar and explore its other features as well.

Does Google not consider - just a teensey little bit - that taking advantage of people's ignorance goes just a tad against Google's sworn philosophy of do no evil:

Unless you are all extremely naive (and I just do not believe that), then at least one Google PhD MUST suspect that many, many, many of these toolbar sign-ups are doing so on false pretenses. These folk seriously believe they are getting a 'live' tool, not a gimmick.

[edited by: Quadrille at 12:58 pm (utc) on Aug. 9, 2007]

adfree

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 1:05 pm on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

...after all they are in business to make money...

If that is your impression, fine. A winning enterprise is NOT in business to make money but to identify and satisfy potential customer's value perception.

Making money is a consequence from that, NOT the result.

But maybe you're right and this would be the very reason for G NOT to offer a PR tool that actually works. Especially cuz its free.

Knwowing that they would certainly offer a top-notch tool when sold, I am wondering if and how much webmasters would be willing to shell out for that?

PS: Finally: my 1'000s post ;-)

frontpage

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 2:16 pm on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

When we converted to Firefox from Internet Explorer, we also dumped the PR bar. Have not looked back as it seems so irrelevant now to our websites productivity.

If you want to check PR time to time there are websites and services for you to consult.

But, IMHO, the toolbar is personal privacy security risk.

Google may collect information about web pages that you view when you use advanced features such as PageRank, SpellCheck, AutoLink, and WordTranslator.

Many big brother paranoids are concerned about the FISA ruling.

However, they have no qualms about letting a large corporation monitor their business/personal web surfing habits. Go figure.

bwelford

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 2:37 pm on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think it should go because it wastes an awful lot of time for a huge number of people. Anyone who thinks they're getting useful value is probably not grasping the big picture correctly. What counts is the visitor traffic that results for appropriate keyword searches that are probably made by your market niche prospects. Toolbar Page Rank has only a very small effect on that.

I think removing the Google Toolbar PageRank indicator would give Google a glorious opportunity to educate folk on what really counts in trying to generate more visitor traffic to your website.

Reno

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 2:40 pm on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Here's what I've learned:

Bad information + user misunderstanding == meaningless

So I'm wondering... what's the point?

...........................

pageoneresults

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



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 2:44 pm on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

PageRankô is part of Webmaster Culture. Removing it would be akin to removing a limb for some. ;)

I like having it. Whether its flawed or not. It gives a general idea of what may be going on with that site from a marketing standpoint. White bar, new site, self-explanatory. White bar, old site, might be a problem. All sorts of neat "quick glance" impressions are being made by that little green bar. Those who understand its shortcomings use it as a tool along with everything else.

It would be nice though if it were realtime and reported PR correctly. I know that little green bar is responsible for the reverse engineering of your algo but, its too late for that now. Might as well bring it all back, in all of its original glory.

I remember a time when you could do a few page hits in the browser and see the "future" PR of the site, that was cool. That "flaw" has long disappeared.

beren

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 2:57 pm on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Think how the web would be a better place today if Google had never made PR public. People would more concentrate on making their sites better and getting relevant inbound links. No pulling your hair out worrying about PR. People with PR 7 sites wouldn't go around trying to sell links by trumpeting their PR and saying you should pay more for their links than for links from a PR 4 site.

Google doesn't make all backlink information public. Why make PR public?

zohaibahmed

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 3:22 pm on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think it would be a better idea if Google people stops showing that green little bar so that people can concentrate on more important things of seo.

spiritualseo

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 3:43 pm on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

I agree to PR (PageRank) = PR (Public Relations), that is the only reason why google has kept its buggy system still in place. Do away with the PR it SUCKS!

JohnRoy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 3:44 pm on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

A car without a fuel gauge or one indicating sometimes the wrong figures: what is better?

In case of a car I prefer the last, in case of TBPR remove it!

It's not "sometimes" the wrong figures.

In a car with always the wrong figures - one might be stuck in the dessert with no fuel.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 4:20 pm on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

A car without a fuel gauge or one indicating sometimes the wrong figures: what is better?

There's a third option: Until the early 1960s, VW Beetles had a reserve tank. When the engine began to sputter, you flipped a lever to the reserve tank. Maybe Google could do something similar with PageRank: When your rankings slipped, you'd flip a virtual lever to keep going until you could top up your PageRank with new inbound links of a suitable octane.

atadams

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 8:36 pm on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's the toolbar, not the PR display, that allows Google's data gathering. I'd bet that, for most people, the Google search box is a much bigger motivator for using the toolbar than the PR gauge is.

No, Google is not collecting which web pages I browse if I have the toolbar with the PR display turned off. If I have it on, Google knows every page I hit and they are storing this information.

steveb

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



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 8:40 pm on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

"With no toolbar PR, buyers will be more leery. We won't get as many purchases of links in an attempt to buy Page Rank."

That just flies in the face of both logic and all human experience. Without a guide that restricts something, the market expands with demand. Literally millions of pages online are not significant targets for link selling now, but will be if the green bar went away. And, less experienced webmasters (meaning 99% of them) would look at their rankings, see that they can improve, and in seeking out means to improve will come across hundreds of thousands of sites that will then be on the table... ones with lots of links but are PR2 or below. More blog and guestbook spam will occur just to build up backlink counts into the thousands.

Put another way, if all the search engines got rid of backlink and pagerank info altogether, the link buying market would explode into one of the biggest things online, instead of the relatively minor sideshow it is now.

Google needs to go the other way. Accurate backlink info again, true PR on the toolbar, and then an algorithm and policies that don't value random, off topic, irrelevant links.

tedster

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



 
Msg#: 3416514 posted 9:01 pm on Aug 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google is not collecting which web pages I browse if I have the toolbar with the PR display turned off.

Let's be more complete here - it's not just the PageRank display that makes a difference, it's many of the "advanced" features.

While we don't generally collect information about the web pages our users visit, if users choose to enable advanced features of the Google Toolbar, Google may collect information about web pages that they are viewing in order to provide the Advanced Features. The advanced features of the Google Toolbar are PageRank, AutoLink, SpellCheck, and WordTranslator.

[google.com...]

In the Google Toolbar's Settings > Options > more, there's also a checkbox for "Help Google improve the toolbar - Send usage statistics to Google.

Also, the above is from Google's information about the Explorer Toolbar. The information for the Firefox Toolbar [google.com] also mentions the "Web History" features as requiring some information sharing.

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