Saturday, August 1, 2009

Page Rank Toolbar Let's Put it to Bed

Page Rank – it is debated by SEO's and misunderstood by website owners. At one point in time, Page Rank was the all important feature for determining where you ranked in search results. It was, by all calculations, a measure of the importance of a website.

So what good is Page Rank now?

Wondering whether a new website is worth your time? Use the Toolbar's Page Rank display to tell you how Google's algorithms assess the importance of the page you are viewing.

Google's explanation of Page Rank on their toolbar feature page

Page Rank is perceived by many to be the yardstick with which to evaluate the importance Google gives to a web page.

An Example

I'll give you an example. We have been working with a client in the insurance industry to bring their website into the top ten results. Following three months of hard work by my search engine promotion
team, we lifted the site from Google obscurity to a first page listing. During our review meeting with our client, they raised a concern: one of their competitors had a higher Page Rank than their newly optimized site.

The fact that our client's site was ranked above their competitors did not seem to matter. It was our client's perception, particularly due to Google's explanation of Page Rank, that their page was not as important.

Being in the search engine promotion industry, we know that the Google Page Rank display is insignificant, but those who are not in the industry do not know this. All they know is what Google tells them.

The Page Rank Display is Not an Importance Indicator

To demonstrate to our client that Page Rank does not measure how good a site is, we ran a test. Taking an unused domain we owned added some nonsense text with links pointing to the same page. We added a couple of inbound links to get site indexed by Google, sat back, and waited.

Within five weeks that site, which was filled with nonsense, was given a Page Rank of 5/10. Many very important websites filled with important content and a lot of links are not given this high of a Page Rank, yet our useless website managed to achieve a high Page Rank.

If the Page Rank display really assesses the page importance, why would our useless website is counted as important? The fact is, the page is not important – despite what Google's Page Rank display may tell us.

What is the Point of the Page Rank Display?

If a searcher is looking to make a purchase online and arrives at a website with the exact item that they are looking for at a favorable price, should they not buy the product if the Page Rank display gives them a low rating?

The only use of the Page Rank display would be for people who want to optimize their website for the search engines. Of course, if the Page Rank display is inaccurate as it was in the example given above, then it is of no use to optimizers as well.

Although Page Rank may still be a factor in how a website ranks in Google, the Page Rank display offers no tangible benefit. So let's put the Page Rank display to bed.

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