Does PageRank matter? Here we go again….

It’s happened in 2 forums I’m a part of, and I’ve seen a few people Tweeting about it – the dreaded PageRank argument has raised it’s head again.

Before we talk about whether it matters, for those of you not so sure, here’s the Wikipedia definition of PageRank:

PageRank is a link analysis algorithm, named after Larry Page, used by the Google Internet search engine that assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents, such as the World Wide Web, with the purpose of “measuring” its relative importance within the set. The algorithm may be applied to any collection of entities with reciprocal quotations and references. The numerical weight that it assigns to any given element E is also called the PageRank of E and denoted by PR(E).

Put in a simple way, PageRank is a number assigned to your web page by Google – it goes from 0-10 (officially), and in the past it had some weighting towards your search engine positions.

Opinions differ on whether or not it matters – I’m of the opinion that it’s not worth obsessing over. To my mind, i you have a PR of 8, but your website languishes on page 55 for the phrases you want to be found for, life isn’t good. If you have a PageRank of 3, yet you’re on the front page of Google for the phrases that matter, then all is well with the world 🙂

I was challenged on my “Oh dear, not the PR debate again” stance with the comment “But PageRank matters when I’m buying or selling links. Links in from higher PageRanked sites matter more”. And the chap in question kind of has a point – if you have links from higher PR sites, then it can help your search engine listings, and is a GOOD THING. That said, to my mind it’s still not worth obsessing over.

Worry about your positions in the search engine results (SERPS), not some random number on a Google Toolbar.

As an aside to this, and just in case you were all rushing off to buy links from PR9 sites – here’s Google’s official stance on buying links that pass PageRank in order to help search engine positions:

Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results.

(From http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=66736

If you read the rest of that page, high PR sites CAN sell links, but are forced to use the ‘nofollow’ tag, which stops any ‘Google juice’ being given and so makes them practically useless when used in that way.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – rather than worrying about PageRank when approaching sites for links, worry about whether or not they get the types of visitors that would be interested in your site.




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About Nikki

Author of many 30 Day Blogging Challenges, Nikki spends her time helping small businesses with Internet Marketing and Social Media Marketing. With 17 years of experience, she hasn't yet found someone she couldn't help to get more business from their website.

Comments

  1. I’m with you Nikki – page rank versus SERPs actual results is getting less important.

    I have seen two debates over the past few months which swayed me. Firstly, Brad Callan saying that page rank was becoming less important, and that long key phrases were the area to watch now – simply, that is what people have tapped into Google. Secondly, a debate on DMOZ, saying it was becoming far less important to list there, as its own ranking was being effected by the quality of links it is picking up – both by application as well as failure to process.

    The only key issue on page rank these days, is that once you have a page against a phrase with similar keyword density to a competitor, if they have higher page rank over you then they will rank higher. But before that, the keyword density and Google’s measure of relevancy – including how long people stay on your site – counts for more.

    I can only see PageRank reducing slowly in relevancy as Google’s algorithm moves forward – its relevant content that it has always wanted, not old content!

  2. Rex Jarvis says:

    Agreed, a client of mine has PR1 but appears top of page 1 on organic search for his chosen keyphrase and he is as happy as a pig in ***t. PR means what you want it to mean and nothing more.

  3. Hi! last October we had a pagerank change on our weblog tus-hasede.blogspot.com from 0 to 2. There was no general pagerank update since April. Does anybody know why this has happened in the meantime?

  4. Hi Stefan

    The Page Rank toolbar can change from day to day and doesn’t always reflect
    the current state of play within Google itself – did your PR boost increase
    your positions?

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