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Proposed: Google Should Stop Displaying Toolbar PR
tedster




msg:3416516
 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Toolbar PageRank numbers can be 3 months out of date or more.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]

 

potentialgeek




msg:3419238
 8:07 pm on Aug 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

I can see how some would use it for determining advertising value. I personally use it mostly to see if a page has any rank (other sites) and relative rank (my sites' pages).

I think Google started to mess it up when it suddenly changed its 'currency,' lowering it for everyone (almost). It's been downhill from there. I don't think it should have been changed at all.

Google now treats it like some kind of internal (intra-company) thing its geeks can play around with, change whenever, or not at all, and nobody outside the firm uses or really cares about. A little pet project they'll get to do if they get bored or run out of things to do.

Frankly, it's one of the most odd things about the company's web services. What else is this buggy, inconsistent, unstable, and unfinished?

It's certainly not the way to build confidence before Google launches its own browser to compete with IE.

p/g

steveb




msg:3419285
 8:50 pm on Aug 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

"At the end of the day, I personally wish that more webmasters focused on the (online) things that matter:
- Quality traffic
- User experience
- Conversions (signups, purchases, whatever)"

Once again, Adam this is just offensive nonsense. Really, the vast majority of webmasters care about these things and spend their time focusing on them.

At the same time, Google deliberately LIES to them by presenting innacurate backlink and PR data, and does so from a pure malicious frame of mind.

Knowing backlinks helps in getting quality traffic. It helps in focusing conversions. Knowing real PR helps in knowing which of our pages are valued across the internet... and where we can expect higher quality traffic to random-walk its way onto our domains.

Adam, Google does evil for its own self-preservation purposes. That's fine. You broke the backlink and PR commands because it made it harder for the mass of webmasters to make more effective websites, both in terms of users and search (the part you care about). It's a simple matter to just admit that breaking these things makes your results a bit better.

But don't make it worse with this nanny stuff. We run businesses where accurate data is useful. Please stop pretending feeding us nonsense data is good for us.

We are perfectly capable of running our own businesses, and knowing what is best for them.

You should be focusing on making your buggy, mediocre, mistakenly-applied-penalties search engine better. You break enough stuff without trying.

Deliberately presenting false data shames Google every day. Maybe the general public doesn't get that, but we know it and so does everyone at google.

[edited by: steveb at 8:57 pm (utc) on Aug. 10, 2007]

Oliver Henniges




msg:3419291
 8:57 pm on Aug 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

there may be some value in giving foolish people a rope to hang themselves with, just to keep evolution moving along.

brilliant, EFV, brilliant.

Adam, I fully appreciate that google tries to avoid technically more skilled webmasters spam your bandwidth with billions of toolbarqueries for the purpose of reversely finding out about the algo as a whole, in case TBPR was updated hourly or daily.

On the other hand, I think a - lets say - almost (but irregular) weekly update would help us a lot to receive some feedback on our "actions" launching new sites and pages.

Personally, I do indeed care much more about my internal processes, customer needs, ROI and other things rather than TBPR. I don't sell links and never bought any, and like EFV I have begun to ignore link-exchange-requests unless these are really topically relevant. But to receive some positive feddback on my actions from google IN TIME would be a nice motivator, wouldn't it?

Maybe this TBPR-time-lag is one of the reasons why in the past twelve months I dedicated much more of my time to my company's internal information-management than to my website. Not good for the web.

The Contractor




msg:3419301
 9:04 pm on Aug 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

But don't make it worse with this nanny stuff. We run businesses where accurate data is useful. Please stop pretending feeding us nonsense data is good for us.

Everyone knows I'm not a Google cheerleader, but lets face it, it's their resources being used and they can display complete nonsense and in my book they have every right to. I stopped paying attention to the toolbar long ago and like a few others Opera is my main browser (no TB).

I say if you choose to use it, so be it, but don't complain because they are not releasing all the info or even accurate info they gather to a toolbar....that wouldn't make much sense (for them).

steveb




msg:3419313
 9:14 pm on Aug 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

"I guess my bottom line is, in the grand scheme of prioritizing things that I wish Google was working on (or fixing), the TBPR is more than halfway down the list."

If Google spent more time fixing their buggy, mediocre, disappointing search engine, it wouldn't matter about backlink or PR data. They don't NEED to show us that, and we don't need to have it.

But the sad fact is their search engine is not very good -- even if light years ahead of the competition. Instead of breaking their stuff, they should:

1) get the 950 penalty under control; the collateral damage is absurd, and (back to nannyism) the things Google FORCES people to do with genuine domains to try and avoid this penalty are 100 times more rudely time wasting than this silly stuff about webmasters checking the toolbar every day.

2) Fix their utterly pitiful one word search results. Overall the multiword results are close to the best they ever have been (even inclusing the pages lost to wrongly applied 950 penalties), yet the one word results are nothing sort of bizarre.

3) Stop catering to spammers and cater to genuine businesses instead. Providing those sickening reinclusion requests for spammers but not non-spammers is just the most obvious. (This is also the area concerning the dishomest backlink and PR data... this does not effect knowledgable webmasters but it is a sadistic act towards non-professional webmasters who don't know they are being lied to.)

4) Freaking figure out what a niche is please. Links from ballerina costume sites should not vault a site up the p*ills/p*rn/c*sino serps.

That's enough of a start. Stop pretending to be nannies. Fix your mediocre engine.

(If I needed a nanny, I'd hire Jen from Big Brother, not Google.)

jd01




msg:3419325
 9:33 pm on Aug 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

At the end of the day, I personally wish that more webmasters focused on the (online) things that matter:
- Quality traffic
- User experience
- Conversions (signups, purchases, whatever)

All of that can be discerned far more efficiently with our Webmaster Tools and robust broader analytics products (including but not limited to our own, IMHO). Whether a page is PR7 or PR3 shouldn't play such a major role in the development, much less goals, of web sites. Either the page is attracting the right folks, making them happy, and getting them to learn/do good stuff, or it's not, and PageRank isn't going to tell you that.

Sounds like the TBPR is about useless, except for those trying to inflate perceived value of a purchased link...

I think your point says, "Pull the fake number off and make webmasters search for the most valuable visitor experience (or what they perceive to be the most valuable experience) when finding links (and/or advertising), rather than 'Google will give me a higher PR and rank me better if I can get a link from (or advertise on) blah-blah.com, because they have a PR(BigNumHere)'."

I had a site drop from a 5 to a 4, and one a customer thought we were losing ground... Traffic is up 9x from Google, but your 'quality indicator' said the site was 'lower quality' than it was previously.

What a joke... The 'quality indicator' goes down, traffic goes up, customer doesn't want to renew (advertising, no links), because the 'quality indicator' published by Google regarding the 'direction of quality' said the site was on a decline, so a continuing a long term contract would not be a good idea at this time. Why? Because, the published PR number is not accurately related to rankings or traffic.

Yeah, it would be nice if webmasters looked at other important factors when determining strategies, but, unfortunately, webmasters and advertisers pay attention to what 'Google says' even if they *know* the information is not accurate.

Justin

whitenight




msg:3419329
 9:38 pm on Aug 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

but lets face it, it's their resources being used and they can display complete nonsense and in my book they have every right to

No. No. No.

Goog is a good class action lawsuit (on behalf of every webpage) and a real attorney away from losing this battle.

It's text book libel and slander with actual, provable damages

Is google publicly furnishing information about the general "quality" of a website? Yes. Defamation if the PR of a site is incorrect.

Is Google knowingly publishing harmful and or incorrect material about a website? Anyone here see or have a website that shows 0 or greybar and they know it's at least a PR5?

An individual website could easily show that their PR8 site that was showing PR7, lost income due to ability to sell textlinks at a higher rate (check the pricing if you don't know)

Now, getting a good enough lawyer to pursue this is another matter, but the statements alone made in this thread says Google is purposely, knowing, and publicly publishing false information about their opinion of the "quality" of a webpage.

jd01




msg:3419356
 10:10 pm on Aug 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Also...

It seems counter productive to tell people what the mathematically perceived value of a site is and seeing if they reinforce your calculation by visiting or clicking back.

I would think if you really want indicators of quality, you would want a 'blind sample', not a 'Hey, this is what we calculate, what do you think?' sample. (I think blind samples are common business practice.)

By publishing TBPR you publish a numerical perception of quality, which, like it or not, is a determining factor (to some extent) in what pages a visitor frequents. By removing the published perception people would be forced to evaluate a page/site on it's own merits, which I believe is how you would like pages/sites to be visited/ranked.

Don't do away with PR, but quit skewing your visitor sample data of 'popular' based on outdated inaccurate information.

Justin

europeforvisitors




msg:3419387
 11:30 pm on Aug 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Goog is a good class action lawsuit (on behalf of every webpage) and a real attorney away from losing this battle.

Two words:

- Searchking
- Kinderstart

jomaxx




msg:3419401
 12:04 am on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

whitenight: Not that I'm into cheering on nuisance lawsuits anyways, but if the green bar says PR7, how do you "know" your page is really PR8?

whitenight




msg:3419403
 12:09 am on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)


- Searchking
- Kinderstart

Using BS lawsuits by BS sites that were already at fault does not make caselaw.
An entire law system that has given case after case of what libel and slander is, says otherwise.

whitenight: but if the green bar says PR7, how do you "know" your page is really PR8?

Please don't get lost in the examples. Goog Employee #3 has just admitted they knowingly publish false info.

Pr is an "opinion". Publishing a false opinion and KNOWING it's false is slander and libel.

----------
Edited to add - Any good webmaster could prove that their 18-100 PR7 interior pages which all pointed to their PR8(real) home page and should be PR8 according to their own patents and the countless websites already out there that prove similar.

I'm not going to get into a big debate about how, why, or the value of the legal arguments. They are there for anyone who knows the law, but 2, 5, 10 years from now, it will be proven correct unless Goog fixes it.

[edited by: whitenight at 12:23 am (utc) on Aug. 11, 2007]

The Contractor




msg:3419405
 12:23 am on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Lawsuit - won't happen. Sorry, but for that to happen you would have to prove that was trying to mislead with the data. How do you know without Google giving up trade secrets on what they base the publicly available PR pixels on? No judge will make them divulge everything and Wallstreet wouldn't let it happen anyways...hehe

If people were smart they would be able to judge the quality of a site without little green pixels influencing their thoughts. Donít use it if you donít like itÖI donít and I can still judge a site pretty accurately when researching it.

whitenight




msg:3419410
 12:26 am on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sorry, but for that to happen you would have to prove that was trying to mislead with the data

lol, i'm done with this convo, but Goog Employee #3 basically just admitted to it. And at the very least has acknowledged that he KNOWS that the PR as of today is showing inaccurate info for various sites/pages.

Goog can do with it whatever they will. I will bookmark this thread to say "told you so" whenever some competent law firm gets the idea.

Like i said, call up a lawyer, change the names but keep the circumstances the same and ask if you can sue for slander or libel. See what they say....

europeforvisitors




msg:3419441
 1:42 am on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

lol, i'm done with this convo, but Goog Employee #3 basically just admitted to it. And at the very least has acknowledged that he KNOWS that the PR as of today is showing inaccurate info for various sites/pages.

I think you've just shown us why Google employees shouldn't participate in public forums. People here are always asking Google to be "more transparent," but why should Google invite frivolous lawsuits (or even threats of frivolous lawsuits) by doing so?

whitenight




msg:3419447
 2:08 am on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

why should Google invite frivolous lawsuits

Frivolous? Frivolous?!

Google is not a college pet project anymore.

It is a multi-billion dollar company with all associated responsibilities.
(Feel free to pay your content providers all your profits if it's all too much to handle, poor defenseless Goog)

Google is breaking the law, and that's exactly why the two aforementioned donkey lawsuits used those specific claims in their suits. Cause they are based on solid caselaw...even if their specific cases were not.

It's quite plain and simple.
Fix and publish accurate data or don't.

No one's forcing you to display the TBPR, are they?
Goog, are you being physically threatened into showing inaccurate data?
Cause if you are, then please tell us so we can call the appropriate authorities and get you some help.

Otherwise do the right thing and stop playing at other people's livelihoods with your "game" against spammers.

It's not lawful, and they know it.
Frivolous?!
I'm talking about legal facts, ma'am, just the facts. (err ...sir, but it doesn't work as well) ;)

Otherwise, I ditto everything Steveb wrote
Don't come on the boards in an effort to "communicate" with webmasters and treat them like 3 year olds.

And who exactly are you misleading?
I see enough sites gaming you to know you're not smarter than those you seek to "even the playing field with".

kidder




msg:3419589
 11:29 am on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

One step removed from the toolbar is the root of the problem - links. Years from now we are going to look back and laugh about this stage of internet history. Forget the toolbar and build a better mousetrap.

luvdavy




msg:3419595
 12:01 pm on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

That's the whole thing is links.

Advertisors are going to pay for ads because you show at the top of search results. The only ones who will pay less because of your PR are the ones BUYING LINKS FOR PR....which you aren't supposed to be doing to start with. From the way I see it, the ones complaining about the toolbar's PR are the ones that are affected when it drops.

Every site I have, and almost every site every real estate agent friend I have dropped by one number that last update. It worried us just a little at first...but not one of us dropped in actual placement.

We don't sell links, so although concerned about WHY we dropped, we didn't freak out. The bottom line is if you are high up in the results...not your page rank...which can even change when they had billions of new sites to the index.

It's like being at the top of the food chain in high school, then graduating and finding out in the real world you aren't that special. The bigger the pool, the smaller fish you become. I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this.

I wish they'd update every month. That would be adequate and pretty much stop the controversy. But it's not that important either way. Just a good tool that I wouldn't want to lose.

Jan

The Contractor




msg:3419608
 12:56 pm on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

inaccurate info for various sites/pages.

No, it's completely accurate on what they choose to show and is probably completely accurate on the metrics used to display it. You may not like those metrics....but that doesn't mean they are not accurate. If they were doing something with malicious intent would be one thing...but the little green pixels are for entertainment as far as I'm concerned.

Jeez, like I say, I'm far from a cheerleader, but it sickens me every time someone says lawsuit because they don't like the fricken answer. People with half a brain should be able to figure out the value of a site/page without having some little green pixels telling them what is valuable.

demogro




msg:3419659
 3:02 pm on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

why doesnt google grade sites instead of 0-10 to 0-100....so we can easily see difference between sites...

Habtom




msg:3419661
 3:07 pm on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

why doesnt google grade sites instead of 0-10 to 0-100....so we can easily see difference between sites...

More people would spend more time checking their PRs, for once I say, G 0-10 is more than enough :)

pageoneresults




msg:3419671
 3:25 pm on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

why doesnt google grade sites instead of 0-10 to 0-100....so we can easily see difference between sites.

I compare PageRankô to the Richter Scale. Each full point in PR is 100 times greater. I believe its referred to as a Base-10 logarithmic scale?

What we don't see in the TBPR are those Base-10 numbers. For example, the TBPR might show PR6. But, is that a 6.1 or a 6.9? Or is it a 6.99 about ready to rollover to a 7.0 on the next update?

Miamacs




msg:3419725
 5:45 pm on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

...

OK, I was just about to post when this came in.
I could post it as a separate thread it'd d@mn well worth every byte on WW. Titled something like
"Online Business, MONEY and the so called 'factors of quality'
deliberate and non-deliberate disinformation"

Sorry but I'd like to ask everyone to stop for a moment, and read this post carefully.

I just got off the phone with the CEO of the company.
There's not much work I do on this particular site, but still it concerns me as well.

...

The company is in negotiations with several investors who are interested in the site.
There are already big names on board but there's still much more to gain out of it.

Some of these talks are in the finish.

And then, this just came in... admittedly...

The invetors are about to make their final decision...
BASED ON THE ALEXA RANK OF THE WEBSITE.

...

We're talking about _several_millions_of_dollars_.
And major players.

...

I'd like everyone to stop for a moment of silence.
Let's weigh this in.

First I laughed out loud, but that immediately turned into frustration. Then just plain anger.

SEVERAL MILLIONS.
...

I'm F***N speechless!

...

...

...

...

And no one tell me that Alexa is not Google.
Just plain GET THE MESSAGE HERE.

... d@mn I just hung up the phone.

...

OK, Adam... tell Google to get that toolbar rank RIGHT.
And start educating people of the meaning and uses of TBPR in DETAIL.
I'm not kidding.

...

It's down on the road for Google.
If this was PR and the investors said NO...
I'd be copypasting whitenight's comments to an email right now as the answer.

Never would have thought that the ignorance and short sightedness of the public regarding this would reach my nerves any time soon.

...

...

...

This is absurd. Nonsense.

The Contractor




msg:3419733
 6:04 pm on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm glad those uneducated investors aren't playing with my money....hehe

I hope Google fixes the toolbar and gives everyone a PR1....that will even the playing field that everyone wants so badly.

My own experience on one site of mine shows me that going from a PR7 a couple years ago to a PR5 made no difference in traffic, ranking on 100's of terms, or income from the site. So what do I care? I don't let my ego measured in green pixels get in the way of making or spending money.

luvdavy




msg:3419743
 6:24 pm on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

What is absurd is that anybody would base ANYTHING on a site's Alexa rating. As a group I wish everyone would explain to the public just what Alexa is and is not. I get incensed everytime I hear someone bring it up.

Jan

pageoneresults




msg:3419750
 6:33 pm on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

My own experience on one site of mine shows me that going from a PR7 a couple years ago to a PR5 made no difference in traffic.

I believe that is referred to is a PR Reiteration. As more websites come online, PR has to be spread much further. Usually if someone takes a hit in 2 PR points, others in the same space also take a hit (usually). Its a global thing.

jd01




msg:3419752
 6:44 pm on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

This is absurd. Nonsense.

Yep.

There was a recent thread in the supporters forum where people thought it was silly for Brett to think the value of WebmasterWorld would increase if the Alexa traffic were higher... Unfortunately, Brett and those here who think there is value placed on inaccurate numbers by people who are sillier than Brett are correct.

If Adam's post is accurate and Google would like to see decisions based on other factors, they need to remove the 'idiot light' from the tool bar.

Similar to the light on your dashboard, the 'green light' doesn't change on until it's too late (like when a belt breaks and then the 'check engine' light comes on...) and then those changes are not necessarily accurate indicators of value, quality or staying power, they don't even really indicate an accurate direction of those factors.

What do TBPR and Alexa indicate? People put too much value on perception.

There are those here who think you can 'glean' information about a site, which is garbage, unless you know what the actual (exact) PR number is for each site involved...

Example: To gauge direction you must know the sites in a 'niche' have previously 'published' values of 6.837, 6.549, 6.012 and then know the currently 'published' values are 6.537, 6.249, 5.912, so you can determine the site originally with a value of 6.012 actually moved up in value compared to the other two sites, even though the 'green idiot light' only shows a 5 for the site, but used to show a 6, and still shows a 6 for the other two.

All you can glean from TBPR right now is some 'feel good garbage'. Nothing more, nothing less.

If you really think TBPR has a 'value add', I might have a nice bridge for sale... maybe we can talk numbers?

Justin

[edited by: jd01 at 6:54 pm (utc) on Aug. 11, 2007]

luvdavy




msg:3419755
 6:46 pm on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

I believe that is referred to is a PR Reiteration. As more websites come online, PR has to be spread much further. Usually if someone takes a hit in 2 PR points, others in the same space also take a hit (usually). Its a global thing.

That just happened to almost all real estate sites with the last PR update. Most of us didn't move in placement. Some did, but it was due to the state directory links that were so popular. That was 2 different things happening at the same time, though.

jomaxx




msg:3419760
 6:55 pm on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

I disagree it's absurd. If the decision was really being made solely on the basis of the Alexa ranking, I would agree, but obviously the investors have a lot more information about the company than just that. More likely it's one final credibility check that the startup isn't vastly overstating its market share, for example claiming 50,000 visitors a day when their Alexa ranking is somewhere around 2,000,000.

Alexa ranking is a data point. Like Google's toolbar PR-o-meter. It can be deliberately faked, it can give a skewed view of reality, but it's also a tool that has its place. Raw server logs can be faked, too. What CAN'T be faked?

jd01




msg:3419768
 7:08 pm on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

It can be deliberately faked, it can give a skewed view of reality...

Rhetorical Question:
What actual real value can it possibly give then?

Justin

I've watched the traffic on a site increase 10x while the Alexa Traffic Ranking dropped. It's a joke.
I've watched the traffic on a site increase 10x while the TBPR dropped. It's a joke.

[edited by: jd01 at 7:13 pm (utc) on Aug. 11, 2007]

luvdavy




msg:3419770
 7:12 pm on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

I can't picture any website getting 50,000 hits a day unless it was Ebay or Amazon.

My oldest website averages around 2000 hits a day in the summer and maybe 1500-1700 the rest of the year.
It's tops across the board for hundreds of the most important keywords in our area. It's one of the most successful websites in Myrtle Beach, which is a big resort area. It's made the owner millions of dollars, and I've been with him for 5 years.

It's never been much in Alexa.
I don't check it, in fact...except once out of curiousity. I haven't downloaded the Alexa toolbar, nor would I encourage anyone else I know to do so. My sites will never be much on there for that reason. I can't believe anyone would put any credence in something like that.

So to me, it's absurd.

Reno




msg:3419798
 7:44 pm on Aug 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

I can't picture any website getting 50,000 hits a day unless it was Ebay or Amazon.

Part of the problem that people have is with a total lack of decent measurement tools.

Take the word "hits" for example. I've met quite a number of small businesspeople with very marginal websites who have sworn that they "get 150 hits a day", and they think that is 150 visitors. So I explain to them that their crappy so-called "counter" is measuring the same person as that individual goes from page to page, and counts that person again when he/she comes back a second or third time on the same day (and goes from page to page!), so instead of the 150 visitors that they think they are getting, it's more like 12.

When I then go on to explain that you can only count a person one time no matter how many pages they view and no matter how many times they come back in a 24 hour period -- well, I'm sorry to say that their reaction to that information is like watching a balloon deflate.

While everyone here at WW understands this stuff, the sad truth is that too many site owners don't really know the actual status of their traffic, and they know little or nothing about their actual pagerank, so it's no wonder they make poor decisions.

Bad information + user misunderstanding == trouble.

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

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