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Good Page Rank Alternatives

Now Google has killed Toolbar Page Rank, what else might you use?

     
6:50 pm on Oct 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Google Toolbar Page Rank (GTPR) will most likely not get update any more according to google [webmasterworld.com]. Whilst this was of limited use, due to its slow update and limited 1 - 10 scale, there remains huge merits in being able to quickly evaluate the "worth" of a page or site.

So what other tools can you use for this?

Way back in May 2012 I published some research showing correlations between PageRank and the popular metrics from Moz and Majestic. Three metrics correlated well:

1: Domain Authority (0.787 correlation)
2: Trust Flow (.746 correlation)
3: Citation Flow (.814 correlation)

In the comments, further research from Rand's team showed
4: mozTrust correlate at 0.66
5: Page Authority correlate at 0.68

Why Page Rank is not as good as Trust Flow or Page Authority as a Quality indicator
Citation Flow correlated better than Trust Flow in my test because, I believe, both calculations start with an absolute value for each web page, based in Google's case on link counts according to the original PageRank paper (I am happy be corrected) and in Majestic's case on either IP counts or domain counts (I forget which now). In other words - modern self replicating systems can inflate these counts artificially. Because Trust Flow uses similar methodology, but weights counts based on their proximity to known trusted sites, Trust Flow is less prone to artificial manipulation - although Google obviously have their own less public ways to avoid manipulation. Page Authority also effectively does a similar "proximity to trust" algorithm, but using an entirely different methodology as it is based on Moz's ranking data... A site is trusted by search engines, Ergo it is trusted in Page Authority. (This is a methodology Majestic cannot replicate as Majestic has never been involved in rank checking).

Moving to 2014
Over the intervening years, I have been getting periodic notifications from a friend on the correlations with Page Rank, though often with limited sample sizes. If you want the strongest correlation with Page Rank, then Citation Flow looked to be the best back then, but more recently things have changed with Trust Flow being closer in more recent tests, but if you want the strongest metric of QUALITY then I think you should look at Trust Flow or Page Authority.

Here are some newer correlation tests on a smaller data sample:

Ahrefs DR: 76.32%
Trust Flow: 72.79%
Citation Flow: 70.99%
Webmeup: 97.03% - This last one looks SO close to PageRank that I can only assume the metric largely IS PageRank taken from the GPTB itself. If that is the case, then you can expect that correlation to deteriorate pretty quickly now that the data is not being updated.

I should point out on this last table that the sites analysed were all "Fairly decent" sites in a narrow vertical. I have noticed that the different metrics on offer react very differently to "outliers" - sites that are either very good or very poor. The original sample was quite a few sites but (importantly I think) generated randomly for the purposes of the test.
10:46 pm on Oct 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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True, but it may have nothing to do with penalties. Technical issues have been known to hurt sites that have no penalty from algorithms. I don't want to get too far off topic here, but the Site: search is not a reliable method to determine penalties. It certainly might indicate issues with a site, but won't tell you what they are.
11:12 pm on Oct 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Site: search is not a reliable method to determine penalties. It certainly might indicate issues with a site, but won't tell you what they are.


There it is!

Search for your domain name, then do the site: command then go to WMT and review crawl rates, errors, sitemaps, robots.txt, link profile, and of course the Manual Review tabs.

The collection of these action will help pin down what the issue "might be" but there are no guarantees.
10:38 am on Oct 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I couldn't find out whether the Moz DA/PA is updated if a site has been penalized. Do you know if this is the case?


Indirectly, I believe there is a connection in Moz, because Moz uses the visibility of a URL in the SERPs as part of its scoring (based on search terms, not "site:" searches). The Moz PA/DA metrics do not update every day though (I think it is monthly?) so it would take up to 2 months for a penalty to get reflected in the score. By contrast, Majestic would never reflect a penalty in its score, because the calculation is independent of the SERPs - but in its favour, the TF/CF dipole has the potential to pre-empt penalties, and the entire calculation is redone every 30 hours or so, currently (results may vary day-to-day). Ahrefs is fast for discovery right now, but its quality score is not so robust as a result.
1:08 pm on Oct 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@not2easy I never mentioned a site: search. I was only talking about using phrases that were on many sites but were long. I said don't use something unique to your site. Pick a long tail term that many people use. The point is to bring up something that does not return more than a few hundred or less results to see where you are. This does not tell you much by itself. It is just one part of process I use.

I have done a lot of work with detecting penalties and removing them. I have worked on penalties since 2003. I had Matt Cutts tell me personally that he hand banned a site once. When I first started I did not know that could even happen and used my real name on my black hat work. I didn't even know that it was something I was not supposed to do. I just accidentally found out some techniques that worked and just did them to the extreme and made a lot of money. I stopped doing that kind of thing a long time ago. I did however learn a lot of things about penalties and learned some neat white hat tricks. I also learned that if you get a $30,000 adsence check the the spam team takes a very close look at your site.
2:51 am on Oct 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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To bring this back to the subject of TBPR, the timing of Google's announcement intrigues me. Google may be dropping it now because one green bar, whether updated or not, simply doesn't work any more

Back in April, Matt Cutts brought up the idea of "topical PageRank" in a video that's gotten surprisingly little discussion....

How does Google separate popularity from authority?
trt 2:56 - Matt Cutts - April 2, 2014
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfLaC325S6M [youtube.com]

In the video, Matt connects that concept of PageRank with reputation/authority (as distinct from popularity), and strongly suggests that some sort of topically relevant PageRank was in development.

Dixon discussed Matt's video on April 17 2014, in this thread in our Google SEO Forum in Supporters (subscription required), but otherwise I've not seen the video discussed much....

Topical PageRank / Categorisation
Google is changing the landscape again. Get on board.
http://www.webmasterworld.com/opengoogle/4663764.htm [webmasterworld.com]

Dixon also discusses in the thread that the idea of "Topical Trust" and contextual linking have been on his mind for a while... but I don't see any mention in the thread of Majestic's then imminent announcement of Topical Trust Flow Full Web Categorisation [blog.majestic.com...] which was to come roughly a week later on Majestic's Blog.

While a bunch of us have been kicking around the question of topical relevance of PageRank for a while, it's never been quite clear how tied together or separate topicality and authority have been. To a degree, I've felt that Google must have been using some sort of contextual link metric in Penguin at least, perhaps also in Panda... since contextual relevance is essentially implicit in phrase-based indexing.

But most commentators haven't been able to pin down whether topical PageRank is being used by Google in these updates. I'm talking about a metric that goes beyond anchor text.

Anyway, I mention all this now because we've got Dixon and other interested parties right here, and because of the timing. I'm thinking that the dropping of a single green bar to indicate PageRank may be happening now, in large part, because a single two-dimensional bar of any kind can no longer indicate what's going on.
12:43 pm on Oct 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I would imagine very few SEO's have taken PR seriously for many years. It started to go away even as far back as the Florida update back in 2003. Before that PR was everything.
12:56 pm on Oct 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I would suggest Topical PageRank isn't in use.

Since 2011 I have used the value of other domain's link juice (PageRank) to drive results from domains of no apparent relatedness based on the overall theory of natural links... "What does CLICK HERE" have to do with the topic of any domain and if that reference can provide any value to other domain then any link anchor of any type is equally beneficial to any other domain.

So far as the need to have a quick reference to determine the wealth of any domain the toolbar was nice but even over the lengths of time Google did not update PageRank there wasn't any diminishing returns either to services.

Google evolved... So did we.
2:13 pm on Oct 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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"What does CLICK HERE" have to do with the topic of any domain and if that reference can provide any value to other domain then any link anchor of any type is equally beneficial to any other domain.


My experience has been that if the anchor was null for data then the surrounding context played a role in addition to the landing page.

Over the years the importance of the surrounding context has played an increasing role in purifying the link signal so that the location of the link on the page (footer), surrounding words (advertising, sponsors, pet keywords), size of the image link (IAB ad specifications) contributed to the diminution of the PageRank passed- what I call the purification of the link signal. I was asked in the 2013 Sugarrae link building roundtable interview if links were going away. My answer was that the link signal has been undergoing a process of being dampened for over a decade. The dampening of the link effect is built into the PageRank calculations. CLICK HERE is most probably the very first circumstance of whether or not to diminish the effect of a link, in this case the anchor text. So what's left is the surrounding context and the landing page itself. I am of the opinion that this has always been the case.
2:54 pm on Oct 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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It seems the backlink is seriously devalued in positive SEO but has a huge impact on negative SEO.

I see sites all the time ranking with less than 30 links. I also see results where the top sites that are not mega directories or wikipedia pages are small newer companies instead of the old experienced companies that have been doing active SEO for 10 years.

My experience is the professional sector like Dr's, Lawyers, and Dentists. I can't speak for other sectors as well.
3:32 pm on Oct 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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It seems the backlink is seriously devalued in positive SEO but has a huge impact on negative SEO.


RUBBISH!

Negative SEO is as easy as you using unnatural links to rank your own website and no matter who adds 'more of the same' the end of the process is a loss.

Positive SEO is as easy as never using any unnatural links to rank your own website... if your website isn't ranked by crap then crap cannot damage it.

The truism here - the process is 100% identical - there is no difference...

The only thing I see is "it is easier to get caught" and "harder to get away with it"... thus your perceived differences.

I see sites all the time ranking with less than 30 links. I also see results where the top sites that are not mega directories or wikipedia pages are small newer companies instead of the old experienced companies that have been doing active SEO for 10 years.


Course the implied difference there is the 'older sites doing 10 years of active unnatural linking' are indeed devalued leaving those that haven't learned those sad practices.

My experience is the professional sector like Dr's, Lawyers, and Dentists. I can't speak for other sectors as well.


Findlaw dominants USA legal terms... a HUGE LINK SCHEME! ... can't speak for the other sectors.
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