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Does Pagerank Play Any Part In A Modern Algorithm ?

 7:43 pm on Mar 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Does anyone believe that pagerank has any effect on serp results in todays algorithm ?

Is that green bar simply a toy to amuse webmasters and of no significance anymore ?


Andy Langton

 9:53 pm on Mar 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Unless you're asking purely as to whether the original PageRank algorithm is still in place today, then the general principle is that third party citations and references to a site influence rankings, rather than just the content present at a site itself.

I think you'd have to be crazy to believe that this was not a big part of Google's algorithm, in one shape or another.


 10:05 pm on Mar 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Since it's nothing more than opinion and speculation, I'll give my $0.02: I believe PageRank still plays a somewhat significant role the algorithm, but only plays a positive (as opposed to neutral) role in rankings when combined with good user metrics. That's an extreme over-simplification, though.


 10:40 pm on Mar 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Interesting that Apostolos said that Google hadn't ever been fully implemented pagerank and pagerank is just used to break ties. I doubt four years later from that interview its even used for that.

Lets be honest Pagerank is just a hoax when it comes to serp results. A silly toy for webmasters.

Andy Langton

 11:02 pm on Mar 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think you're missing the point. It seems that you are either talking about "Toolbar" PageRank, which I don't think anyone has even truly believed represented how Google evaluates pages (or PageRank, for that matter), or you're talking about the original paper on PageRank, and a particular implementation based on those specific criteria.

You won't find many mentions of either these days, because the SEO and search engine world has moved on. But then, there's never been any way to really measure PageRank outside of Google itself, so discussions have never really been about that specific term at all - but about the actual impact of algorithm factors that revolve around citations and third party information about a site.


 11:17 pm on Mar 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

So we agree Andy, that pagerank is effectively bullshxxt ?

Apostolos "Have they implemented PageRank? The answer is no."

Its all a load of tosh!

Andy Langton

 11:23 pm on Mar 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm afraid not ;)

I just don't see the value in categorising it in those terms. The concept of pagerank does not, to me at least, ever seem to have been intended to be deliberately deceptive. Nor could I see it as a trick to fool webmasters, since webmasters who seemed to grasp the original concept were/are fairly thin on the ground.

If you're talking about the toolbar, then I would happily agree. But in general, do Google use a 'black box' algorithm that relies heavily on citations? I think they do. Is it likely to be worth still using the term pagerank - probably not.

But the other question is, would you rank better if you applied techniques based on an understanding of the very original pagerank document? I say that you would.


 11:30 pm on Mar 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Andy if pagerank was implemented then w3c would dominate every result they worded, which they do not.

At best pagerank could and I say "could" be used to determine weight of outbound links. But as for weight on serps thats long since gone.

Its long known this is a drip down pagerank circus so in outbound link pagerank used to play a role, not sure it does now though.

Andy Langton

 11:41 pm on Mar 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

if pagerank was implemented then w3c would dominate every result they worded, which they do not

That would scarcely be the case if Google were to blindly implement the original PageRank calculations [infolab.stanford.edu].

I guess I don't really understand what you're getting at. Here's a snippet from the very original paper:

For most popular subjects, a simple text matching search that is restricted to web page titles performs admirably when PageRank prioritizes the results

Of course, that was the basis of most SEO back in the "olden days" ;) But I imagine there are few who believe Google has rested on their laurels since then and use the same criteria, or that the web itself is the same as it was then.

But what you're saying appears to me the equivalent of saying that web page titles are also nonsense and should be ignored. Of course, the criteria are more complex than ever, and pagerank as a crude calculation would be a mistake to view as the sole or most important criteria for search engines or site owners to pay attention to.

Unless you're saying the principle of influencing ranking based on citations is not something Google use, I'm not really sure what you are saying.


 11:46 pm on Mar 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Wow sorry for not making it clearer here is:

!. Pagerank has never been implemented in serps
2. Pagerank no longer determines weight of outbound links.

Jesus please tell me you can undersand that!

Andy Langton

 11:53 pm on Mar 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Pagerank has never been implemented in serps

I think it's pretty clear that PageRank was the basis of Google's initial success, and was the fundamental factor that made it a better search engine than the competition at the time.

Pagerank no longer determines weight of outbound links.

Are you referring to the original calculation? I don't think anyone would believe that Google use the same calculation of link weighting they did in 1999.

How is it that you've been using PageRank that it now needs to be cast aside in anger? Are you saying that Google does not use weight that is about the 'quality' of citations, and that this weight isn't based on a series of calculations?

[edited by: Andy_Langton at 12:05 am (utc) on Mar 17, 2013]


 11:54 pm on Mar 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

PageRank has not ever been the entire algorithm and the "modernization" of the original may not be as large of factor as whatever version of PageRank was used at any given time once was, but with 200+ factors something like PR counting as say even 5% makes it a relatively large factor, and even though it's likely still (in my opinion) relatively large the "smallness and importance of it as a whole of the whole of factors combined" makes it so it can be "out done" by other factors.

The way it's being talked about seems to me like it's being considered an "all or nothing" factor, when in reality it's one of many and the more I've seen lately, then more it can be "out done", but back-in-the-day it used to be a Huge factor and could easily be seen influencing the rankings.

I'm of course talking about the real PR calculation, which is an on-going, redundant calculation, not the "estimated snap shot in time garbage" presented in the FoolBar they keep sticking with since "so many non-webmasters seem to use it", but they have also recently said moving away from the displayed PR may be an option based on the newest version of IE not allowing those type of add-ons.


 12:02 am on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Apostolis 2005 said

"The importance has diminished because PageRank is just one piece of the ranking algorithm over there. The ranking algorithm is so much more complex now. And PageRank is just used when they want to break ties.

I'm sure that they've not implemented Kleinberg's algorithm. But I'm also sure that they have created some kind of local implementation based on anchor text.

They've been very, very solid for the last few years. I think the biggest improvement they've made is anti-spam inclusion and consistency. But what surprises me is that they haven't used subject specific popularity, even though they know it's important."

How much more they have moved on nobody knows. but I put forward that pagerank is a redundant factor in todays algo.


 12:02 am on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

I highly doubt Amit Singhal rewrote the original to be a better scoring system as one of his first (if not first - I don't remember exactly which) projects at Google if it was really a non-factor.

There would be no reason to waste his time or salary on it if it really didn't count for anything at all or was not ever implemented.

I would cite sources, but I'm sure searching will provide plenty and I'm not in the "finding things" mood lol


 12:09 am on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

I highly doubt that Amit Singhal would waste his time on pagerank when he found better factors to rank webpages from.

Does Google even own pagerank by the way?

From Wikipedia:
The patent is assigned to Stanford University and not to Google. Google has exclusive license rights on the patent from Stanford University. The university received 1.8 million shares of Google in exchange for use of the patent; the shares were sold in 2005 for $336 million


 12:19 am on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Does Google even own pagerank by the way?

Yeah, I know. Seriously. Read the IPO. Page 77 I think. They don't have exclusivity any more (as of 2011), but they do hold perpetual rights to it's use.


 12:22 am on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

I did, so technically they do not own pagerank Stanford University do, no surprise they are moving away from pagerank then is it?


 12:27 am on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

They haven't ever owned it technically, but they had exclusive rights to it from 1997 to 2011, which is essentially the same thing.

Moving away from and have moved away from completely are two different things, and they still have the right to use it (which includes more accurate variations) indefinitely (perpetually), just not exclusively, so if someone else would like to use it they can arrange that with Stanford University.


 12:31 am on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

"PageRank" is merely a term used by SEOs to describe "popularity" and "peter power". It can be calculated in many different ways. However I doubt if counting the number of backlinks can be patented. So unless "PageRank" is protected by trade mark, I don't see how anyone has any right of ownership in the real world.


 12:33 am on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Ah your thinking of the old google TheOptimizationIdiot today we are in continual flux so moving away from and have moved away all blend into one continual cloud. Cloud serps cloud results and head in the cloud if you still believe in pagerank!


 12:35 am on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm fairly certain the USPTO disagrees with you kendo and while many may count back links in some way the method they have used is definitely patented by Standford University.


You can find more on the history here.


 12:50 am on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm fairly certain the USPTO disagrees with you

I can firm that it does. Especially since it gave patents to others for what was a description of my software. A lot of Google and Apple patents that I have seen would probably be thrown out of court if heard outside of the US.

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