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The utility of Google Toolbar PageRank?
rajeshth02




msg:4604646
 11:23 am on Aug 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Mod's note: This discussion of Google Toolbar PageRank split off from the August 2013 Google Updates and SERP Changes thread....

System: The following 11 messages were cut out of thread at: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4598423.htm [webmasterworld.com] by robert_charlton - 1:12 pm on Aug 25, 2013 (PST -8)


This time Google forget to update PR
.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 9:30 pm (utc) on Aug 25, 2013]

 

turbocharged




msg:4604660
 12:51 pm on Aug 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

This time Google forget to update PR

Pagerank is a metric most used by link buyers and sellers. It's a hypocritical stand for Google to say don't buy links when their toolbar's pagerank is the primary metric used to value links in such transactions. To be honest, I hope PR goes over the waterfall to disappear down the river.

EditorialGuy




msg:4604696
 3:51 pm on Aug 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

It's a hypocritical stand for Google to say don't buy links when their toolbar's pagerank is the primary metric used to value links in such transactions.


There's nothing hypocritical about it. When toolbar PR was introduced, the idea was to give a rough guide to a site's importance and credibility. (If a lot of people linked to a page, causing it to enjoy high PR, the implication was that the page was worthwhile because it had earned a significant number of citations.) The link buyers and sellers came later.

Today, toolbar PR continues to have some utility, although I'd agree that the negative aspects of toolbar PR probably outweigh any benefits for users. If and when Google decides to kill off toolbar PR, I doubt if anyone except link buyers and sellers will complain.

reseller




msg:4604705
 5:11 pm on Aug 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

To be honest, I hope PR goes over the waterfall to disappear down the river.


Please don't say something like that. I'm a big fan of Google Toolbar PageRank :-)

dethfire




msg:4604741
 11:46 pm on Aug 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

No doubt the publicizing of PR was a bad mistake of Google. Should have always been internal.

Sand




msg:4604766
 5:07 am on Aug 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

No doubt the publicizing of PR was a bad mistake of Google. Should have always been internal.


I'm going to disagree. The internet was different back then. When you visited a site and didn't know if you should trust it or not, that green bar gave you a hint of confidence. We have different signals now, but those things weren't there then.

turbocharged




msg:4604792
 12:38 pm on Aug 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

There's nothing hypocritical about it.

On what basis do you make this assumption? The toolbar is not natively supported in most browsers and is in fact primarily available via third party toolbars that just happen to be SEO related.

When toolbar PR was introduced

The keyword in your statement is "when." Living in the present, all can freely see how pagerank is heavily relied upon to barter links. Pagerank values should be eliminated from the public not just because of its use in buying/selling links, but also because the data is old.

A lot more goes into page trust than an arbitrary number Google has assigned it months ago. For example, dropped domains purchased from auction can retain pagerank values. If "ordinary" users were somehow able to see the toolbar pagerank, they may actually be placing trust in a domain that no longer belongs to its original owner.

As I originally noted, Google's hypocritical stand when it comes to buying links is quite apparent. In this case, Google benefits from each toolbar export from the buzz (free marketing) it creates in the webmaster community.

EditorialGuy




msg:4604799
 2:39 pm on Aug 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

Turbocharged, I think you're confused about what "hypocritical" means. Google would be hypocritical if it said "Don't buy or sell links" and ran a link-brokerage business. Saying "Here's information that you may find useful, but don't abuse it" isn't hypocritical; it just shows that Larry Page and Sergey Brin had a naive faith in human nature when they launched Google 15 years ago.

As for toolbar PR, it may be imperfect (and outdated), but it's an example of the "transparency" that site owners and SEOs are always demanding of Google.

JesterMagic




msg:4604800
 2:41 pm on Aug 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

If I am unsure of using nofollow on a link, I use the PR of the domain to help me decide. If it has a PR of over 4 I feel relatively safe linking to it (though I have seen some dodgy sites with high PR).

EditorialGuy




msg:4604802
 3:21 pm on Aug 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

Toolbar PR, or its absence, can also suggest that a site has been penalized. Google could just as easily put a flag in Chrome or the Google Toolbar that said "This site has been penalized" or "We don't trust this site," but that would raise a bigger hue and cry (and probably more lawsuits) than a neutral display of toolbar PageRank.

Also, as Google's algorithms continue to become more sophisticated (with PR playing less of a role in rankings), there may be some value for Google in keeping SEOs distracted by PageRank.

turbocharged




msg:4604854
 11:55 pm on Aug 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

Turbocharged, I think you're confused about what "hypocritical" means.

I'm quite correct in the context of Google telling people that buying and selling links is bad, but it's okay for Google to keep publishing the monetary metric that these link sales are based upon.

As for toolbar PR, it may be imperfect (and outdated), but it's an example of the "transparency" that site owners and SEOs are always demanding of Google.

When was the last toolbar export? I think it was around six months ago. This is not being transparent. Old data serves no purpose. And during this time a lot of dropped domains have changed hands, sneaky 301 redirects have been installed and other techniques have been used to scam link buyers out of money. I will concede that old data may be better than no data for some, but for a search engine that preaches webmasters should provide fresh and compelling content it is another example of hypocrisy.

Also, as Google's algorithms continue to become more sophisticated (with PR playing less of a role in rankings), there may be some value for Google in keeping SEOs distracted by PageRank.

Agreed. As noted in my previous post, a toolbar export can create a buzz and change the topic of discussion in the webmaster community. When Google gets caught with their hands in the cookie jar, or handing those cookies over to the Feds, a quick toolbar export may provide them some cover.

martinibuster




msg:4604877
 2:42 am on Aug 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

If it has a PR of over 4 I feel relatively safe linking to it...


That's the PR 4 Fetish. Do you know where PR 4 gained it's importance? Many years ago the backlink search only showed links from sites PR 4 and up. That was an arbitrary choice by Google. The intent of the backlink search was just to show a random sampling. So, unaware of how web publishers would use the information, the Google engineers randomly chose PR 4 as the threshold for sites seen in the backlink search.

But it backfired because it gave birth to the SEO Myth that PR 4 and above is a sign of quality. The reality was that there was no magic to PR 4, it was simply a random choice.

Dave Naylor mentioned to Matt Cutts (at Pubcon London 2003) that a true sampling would show a mix of PRs, and that the current system caused discrimination against under PR 4 sites. Matt agreed and brought Dave's suggestion back to the Googleplex and the backlink search soon returned a true random sampling of sites.

Unfortunately, the PR 4 Fetish remains to this very day, even though SEO people no longer remember why PR 4 became a metric. You really should stop using PR 4+ as a metric because there is no basis for believing a site less than PR 4 is not worth linking to. It's a mistake to dismiss sites less than PR 4.

If you truly want to be successful, adopt solid practices. Try to understand the true reasons behind certain marketing practices. I hope this information helps you make better decisions. ;)

The day may come when the Toolbar will disappear and I truly fear a future when web publishers rely on non-Google toolbar ranks to make linking or marketing decisions. That's a lot of power and influence to hand over to an SEO company or a Tool seller.

spreporter




msg:4604879
 3:33 am on Aug 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

We have different signals now, but those things weren't there then.
And can you tell us what are those signals? The thousands of fake accounts and "likes" in FB or the thousands fake accounts of "followers" in twitter?..
martinibuster




msg:4604881
 4:42 am on Aug 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

The thousands of fake accounts and "likes" in FB or the thousands fake accounts of "followers" in twitter?..


Of course not. Read the scientific papers. Even the non-search industry scientists, the ones focused on data mining, dismiss metrics such as followers because they're too easy to game. The research papers I've read about data mining Twitter note that they're looking for signals related to influence, and the amount of followers are not a signal of influence. Regarding Facebook Likes, that was dismissed already by Matt Cutts himself at SMX.

JesterMagic




msg:4604931
 11:14 am on Aug 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

Using the PR metric to decide about using nofollow on a link is way down on the list. Most of the sites I link to in my articles when I talk about a website or reference some page, I actually don't use nofollow since they are usually good sites and I am linking to them in a natural flow of an article (I am not trying to send them PR for some sort of gain financial or otherwise).

To be frank I think nofollow is way over used now because everyone is running scared of Google. It may have made some link buyers etc rethink things but mainly it has hurt small and medium size websites. It annoys me when I see a relatively large newspaper website link to my content which they used to talk about in an article and they nofollow the link.

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