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Using PageRank to evaluate a school's reputation?

12:39 am on Mar 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I am in the process of searching for a business school to take a masters program. I was looking around at various rankings, trying to work out where to go. Randomly, I wondered whether I should check the PageRank of the schools I'm interested in. Most of them are 9's, a couple are 8's.

I'm thinking I should not go to a school with a PR of only 8... I should stick with the PR9's...

Is that crazy? Or is PR a good indication of brand/quality? How about Alexa rank?

12:19 am on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

and if the PR drops, will you transfer to the one with higher PR for that semester? This should be either a joke, or exhibit A of Posting Under Influence.

Essay Question: "What else would you like our admissions officer to know about you?"

Brief but concise answer: "In deciding whether to apply here or not, your web site's Page Rank played the deciding role...because I think on that level"

We have a winner here. Call him up and rush the acceptance package via FedEx same day delivery.

12:47 am on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

"at that level" referred to pagerank. I think it's pretty hard to SEO your way to a PR9, I think at that level of PageRank it is a good indication of reputation. Unlike PR4 or PR5 which anybody can get by link spamming for awhile.
1:12 am on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

God I was WIPING AWAY TEARS I laughed so hard, thank you all, this is the best thread on webmasterworld since I joined.

Why not choose a school based on the percentage of supplemental results of their sites? If you're after branding that has a whole lot more to do with it than pagerank.

1:17 am on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

"Why not choose a school based on the percentage of supplemental results"


I have to pee!

[edited by: Phil_S at 1:21 am (utc) on Mar. 17, 2007]

1:24 am on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

To funny
1:28 am on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm at a loss, I can't decide if this is the funniest thread currently running here, or mabye it's farmboy's comment in this thread [webmasterworld.com] .
Since I can't decide I will wait a few weeks and see which page has the higher rank.
7:57 am on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

exhibit A of Posting Under Influence

or exhibit B a specimen of the G brainwashed generation
3:11 pm on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Wait a minute! Are we talking about page rank for the school's overall homepage, or the college of business homepage for each school? There is a big difference!

And the fact is that big state schools naturally get more inbounds because they have larger populations of students and former students - we need an index that goes beyond page rank, one that measures page rank achievement as a function of the size of the school.

I smell a thesis in this! Get started now - it will free up time when you get into the program.

5:10 pm on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

>> or exhibit B a specimen of the G brainwashed generation

So so you correcting me now? What's your school's PR smart@ss? Let's see how smart you really are.


5:34 pm on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Nonni, good point. I wondered that too.

I suppose I should be using PR of the internal business school page, but the trouble is those can be re-organized from time to time, whereas the school's main landing page will always be at the same URL. I worry that PR is less useful for comparing reputations on pages whose URLs can change.

The size of school issue is interesting, but, isn't it also true that the bigger schools are better known precisely for this reason? If I want to go to a well known school, the number of graduates out there touting it might be the reason that it is so well known?

At the end of the day most of the good schools are PR9 or in one case PR10. Using PR isn't a fine distinction between schools but rather a big blocky method of eliminating a set from consideration (the PR8's). I am pretty comfortable eliminating the PR8's from consideration. That still leaves a long list of schools to choose between along more conventional lines.

Using the Alexa ranking is more problematic for the school size reason--a big school has more current students and therefore more visitors from its own ranks, really the Alexa traffic number should be divided by the size of the school or something. I'm less sure that the Alexa rank is useful.

6:19 pm on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

stop it
6:22 pm on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jomaxx is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Alexa rankings yet. Priceless. Maybe you should eliminate any school whose website fails W3C validation. Anyway, based on your continued insistence that this is somehow a good idea and your refusing to deal with the outright ridicule being heaped on you, it's apparent that you're simply a troll. Maybe you're trying to get the thread slashdotted or something.

In fact, based on your superhuman commitment to staying in character no matter what, I'm guessing you're Stephen Colbert. Am I right?

6:27 pm on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

If you let me, I'm gonna break the TOS here, for major educational reasons. People will come by and think we're serious.

Since you're already entrusting your decision on the brand to Google...
Do this for me.



Uh-oh, then comes the brainstorming:
Let's see... Harvard, we skip London... Michigan, Stanford. Hmm interesting... PR 8... 7... 8?!? There's Business Week's recommendations / articles on Business schools which is PR 7, but it's irrelevant to the quest so let's SKIP that... next on Columbia with PR 7... but WAIT! There's a REDIRECT TO A PR 8 page! What now?!?

[edited by: Miamacs at 6:32 pm (utc) on Mar. 17, 2007]

7:59 pm on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'm lost... I know I should have paid more attention in school :)

Phil_S, You should have chosen a school whose website had higher Page Rank :)

9:43 pm on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Ya, instead I went to one of those supplemental schools.

Next time I'll be sure it's a PR11 School so I get a better edumucation.

9:51 pm on Mar 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Walkman >> What's your school's PR smart@ss?

My school closed long before the advent of the internet.
They ran out of qualified applicants ;o)

7:32 pm on Mar 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Someone beat me to this idea. If you search for "G-Factor school rankings" you will find several pages using Google to rank schools. The top twenty by G-Factor are:

1 Massachusetts Inst Tech (MIT)
2 Harvard Univ
3 Univ California - Berkeley
4 Stanford Univ
5 Princeton Univ
6 Univ Pennsylvania
7 Univ Washington - Seattle
8 Univ Illinois - Urbana Champaign
9 Carnegie Mellon Univ
10 Rutgers State Univ - New Brunswick
11 Univ Cambridge
12 Univ Michigan - Ann Arbor
13 Univ Wisconsin - Madison
14 Cornell Univ
15 Univ Arizona
16 California Inst Tech
17 Swiss Fed Inst Tech - Zurich
18 Univ California - Los Angeles
19 Univ Minnesota - Twin Cities
20 Univ Oxford

There's a second effort, "webometrics", that ranks Universities based on the amount of "rich content" on their websites (interpreted as the output of academic work). It appears to be an automatic process given that it ranks 3000 schools worldwide. The top twenty via webometrics are:


7:56 pm on Mar 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>Someone beat me to this idea.

don't lose hope, something tells me you'll come up with plenty more, like how to convince your employer that a degree from Rutgers is better than one from Cambridge.

As for rich content: that means nothing. Well, almost nothing; published work and citations are key for Academia. See this article: [osu.edu...] and this study [politicalstudies.org...]

8:22 pm on Mar 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jomaxx is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Cross-reference these to Playboy's list of "Top 10 Party Business Schools" and I think you've got a pretty solid selection process.
8:43 pm on Mar 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

In fact, based on your superhuman commitment to staying in character no matter what, I'm guessing you're Stephen Colbert. Am I right?


Note to Google: See what you've done with your silly PR? Thanks so much for your contributions to the dumbing-down of the general public.

12:50 am on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm waiting to see if this makes it to

"WebmasterWorld Highlighted Posts"

on the home page

12:15 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

jomaxx -- let's see, Playboy's top ten party schools:

1. University of Texas at Austin
2. Penn State University
3. West Virginia University
4. University of Wisconsin-Madison
5. University of Mississippi
6. Ohio University
7. University of Massachusetts-Amherst
8. Louisiana State University
9. University of Iowa
10. University of California, Santa Barbara

So Wisconsin-Madison made both the G-Factor list (as #13) and the Playboy list (as #4) but none of the other top ten Playboy schools appear in the G-Factor top 20. On the other hand, of USNews top ten b-school, seven (Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, MIT, Berkeley, Dartmouth, and UCLA) made both lists while only three (Chicago, Columbia, and Dartmouth) fail to appear on the G-Factor top 20, though the ordering is different.

I'd conclude G-Factor is pretty good. I'd conclude that Dartmouth, Columbia, and Chicago have a branding problem and should be avoided by b-school students who can get into the other schools and who are concerned that their MBA be from a widely recognized school.

I'd also conclude that Princeton, U Washington, U Illinois, and Rutgers, which made the top-ten G-Factor list but not the USNews list, punch above their weight in terms of brand recognition despite being not as widely respected among "in the know" types who compile ranking lists.

12:37 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Thanks Martingale for all the effort you are putting in, to keep this thread alive.

This is indeed an excellent post for all the webmasters unhappy about recent EPC falls. It is important to inject some humour in our daily lives. And you just made my day today.


3:00 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

omg.. i wonder how many universities actively try to recruit students based on seo? hey i search 'university' in google and i get the university of toronto (PR 9!), followed by other canadian u's. I guess you better head north for the great friendly education eh?!
5:16 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Here's the real question: you might be considering business school at the present, and you might be eliminating sites based on criteria which in my opinion is ridiculous, but are your future employers really going to care what school you attended based on its brand name or reputation? Isn't your desire for schooling to hopefully get a career?

Just a note: I personally attended a "PR9 school" and I don't flaunt it, nor do I even talk about it anymore. Further, I didn't graduate that long ago!

The fact that you're considering the possibility of eliminating schools based on a low PR is silly. You don't want a school solely based on reputation. You want it based on it fulfilling the needs of your particular goals as a student.

At the end of the day, future employers hardly care about your education beyond perhaps your first 2-3 employers. But among those who care, you grades will also be a factor. It's better to get a 4.0 GPA at a "PR8 or lower" school than a lower GPA at a "PR9" school.

Considering my own history, would I have been happier if I chose a different school? Probably. Reputation is not the only thing that you need to acknowledge, and I certainly would never eliminate a school simply because it was lesser-known.

What are you ultimately trying to achieve? Do you have the goal to wow your employer with a "brand name" school? Really, they don't care!

5:18 pm on Mar 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

totally agree. Once you get the job, forget about the school you went to. But, it helps you to get it.
This 56 message thread spans 2 pages: 56

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