“Wondering whether a new website is worth your time? Use the Toolbar’s PageRank display to tell you how Google’s algorithms assess the importance of the page you’re viewing.”This is the description given to the Google PageRank display on the Google toolbar, by Google.
If you’re not familiar with the PageRank display, its available as an option when you download the Google toolbar.
The reason I write about it now, is that it is still perceived by many to be the yardstick with which to evaluate the importance Google give to a web page.
I’ll give you an example, we have been working with a client in the insurance industry, following 3 months of hard graft by my search engine promotion team, we lifted the site from Google obscurity, to a page 1 listing. We held a review meeting with our client and they raised a concern, one of their competitors had a higher Google PageRank than their optimised site.
The fact that our clients site was ranked above their competitors, didn’t seem to matter. It was our clients perception, particularly when they highlighted that Google say its how they rank the importance of the page.
Of course we explained that what matters is where the page is ranked, but it did make us think. We are in the search engine promotion industry, we know the Google PageRank display is insignificant, but those not in the industry, don’t.
To demonstrate to our client, we ran a test. Taking an unused new domain we had, we added some nonsense text with links pointing to the same page. We linked to the site to get it indexed by Google and waited. Within 5 weeks, the site, with just two inbound links managed to gain a PageRank of 5/10. Something which some good quality sites with lots of content and lots of links, fail to achieve.
So if Google gives the impression that the PageRank display bar assesses the page importance, why is this page important? The answer is, the page isn’t important.
What is the point of the PageRank? If a searcher is looking to make a purchase online and they arrive at a website with the item of their dreams at a price they can afford, should they be put off, if the PageRank display gives them a low rating?
The only use of the PageRank display, would be for people wanting to optimise their site, but if the results the PageRank display gives are inaccurate as demonstrated in the test, then it is of no use to optimisers either.
Let’s put the PageRank Display to bed.
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