Page Rank Info

Like any curious netizen, I have a Google Alert set up to email me whenever my name is mentioned online. Usually I get a slow trickle of my forum posts, blog posts, and tweets. But by far the most popular topic of these alerts over the past couple years has been my off-handed mention that we removed PageRank distribution data from Webmaster Tools in one of our 2009 releases.
The fact that people are still writing about this almost two years later—usually in the context of “Startling news from Susan Moskwa: …”—really drives home how much PageRank has become a go-to statistic for some webmasters. Even the most inexperienced site owners I talk with have often heard about, and want to know more about, PageRank (“PR”) and what it means for their site. However, as I said in my fateful forum post, the Webmaster Central team has been telling webmasters for years that they shouldn’t focus so much on PageRank as a metric for representing the success of one’s website. Today I’d like to explain this position in more detail and give you some relevant, actionable options to fill your time once you stop tracking your PR!

Why PageRank?
In 2008 Udi Manber, VP of engineering at Google, wrote on the Official Google Blog:

“The most famous part of our ranking algorithm is PageRank, an algorithm developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who founded Google. PageRank is still in use today, but it is now a part of a much larger system.”

PageRank may have distinguished Google as a search engine when it was founded in 1998; but given the rate of change Manber describes—launching “about 9 [improvements] per week on the average”—we’ve had a lot of opportunity to augment and refine our ranking systems over the last decade. PageRank is no longer—if it ever was—the be-all and end-all of ranking.

If you look at Google’s Technology Overview, you’ll notice that it calls out relevance as one of the top ingredients in our search results. So why hasn’t as much ink been spilled over relevance as has been over PageRank? I believe it’s because PageRank comes in a number, and relevance doesn’t. Both relevance and PageRank include a lot of complex factors—context, searcher intent, popularity, reliability—but it’s easy to graph your PageRank over time and present it to your CEO in five minutes; not so with relevance. I believe the succinctness of PageRank is why it’s become such a go-to metric for webmasters over the years; but just because something is easy to track doesn’t mean it accurately represents what’s going on on your website.

What do we really want?
I posit that none of us truly care about PageRank as an end goal. PageRank is just a stand-in for what we really want: for our websites to make more money, attract more readers, generate more leads, more newsletter sign-ups, etc. The focus on PageRank as a success metric only works if you assume that a higher PageRank results in better ranking, then assume that that will drive more traffic to your site, then assume that that will lead to more people doing-whatever-you-want-them-to-do on your site. On top of these assumptions, remember that we only update the PageRank displayed on the Google Toolbar a few times a year, and we may lower the PageRank displayed for some sites if we believe they’re engaging in spammy practices. So the PR you see publicly is different from the number our algorithm actually uses for ranking. Why bother with a number that’s at best three steps removed from your actual goal, when you could instead directly measure what you want to achieve? Finding metrics that are directly related to your business goals allows you to spend your time furthering those goals.

If I don’t track my PageRank, what should I be tracking?
Take a look at metrics that correspond directly to meaningful gains for your website or business, rather than just focusing on ranking signals. Also consider metrics that are updated daily or weekly, rather than numbers (like PageRank) that only change a few times a year; the latter is far too slow for you to reliably understand which of your changes resulted in the number going up or down (assuming you update your site more than a few times a year). Here are three suggestions to get you started, all of which you can track using services like Google Analytics or Webmaster Tools:

Conversion rate
Bounce rate
Clickthrough rate (CTR)
Conversion rate
A “conversion” is when a visitor does what you want them to do on your website. A conversion might be completing a purchase, signing up for a mailing list, or downloading a white paper. Your conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your site who convert (perform a conversion). This is a perfect example of a metric that, unlike PageRank, is directly tied to your business goals. When users convert they’re doing something that directly benefits your organization in a measurable way! Whereas your PageRank is both difficult to measure accurately (see above), and can go up or down without having any direct effect on your business.

Bounce rate
A “bounce” is when someone comes to your website and then leaves without visiting any other pages on your site. Your bounce rate is the percentage of visits to your site where the visitor bounces. A high bounce rate may indicate that users don’t find your site compelling, because they come, take a look, and leave directly. Looking at the bounce rates of different pages across your site can help you identify content that’s underperforming and point you to areas of your site that may need work. After all, it doesn’t matter how well your site ranks if most searchers are bouncing off of it as soon as they visit.

Clickthrough rate (CTR)
In the context of organic search results, your clickthrough rate is how often people click on your site out of all the times your site gets shown in search results. A low CTR means that, no matter how well your site is ranking, users aren’t clicking through to it. This may indicate that they don’t think your site will meet their needs, or that some other site looks better. One way to improve your CTR is to look at your site’s titles and snippets in our search results: are they compelling? Do they accurately represent the content of each URL? Do they give searchers a reason to click on them? Here’s some advice for improving your snippets; the HTML suggestions section of Webmaster Tools can also point you to pages that may need help. Again, remember that it doesn’t matter how well your site ranks if searchers don’t want to click on it.

Entire blogs and books have been dedicated to explaining and exploring web metrics, so you’ll excuse me if my explanations just scrape the surface; analytics evangelist Avinash Kaushik’s siteis a great place to start if you want to dig deeper into these topics. But hopefully I’ve at least convinced you that there are more direct, effective and controllable ways to measure your site’s success than PageRank.

One final note: Some site owners are interested in their site’s PR because people won’t buy links from their site unless they have a high PageRank. Buying or selling links for the purpose of passing PageRank violates our Webmaster Guidelines and is very likely to have negative consequences for your website, so a) I strongly recommend against it, and b) don’t be surprised if we aren’t interested in helping you raise your PageRank or improve your website when this is your stated goal.

We’d love to hear what metrics you’ve found useful and actionable for your website! Feel free to share your success stories with us in the comments here or in our Webmaster Help Forum.

Posted by Susan Moskwa, Webmaster Trends Analyst

 

67 comments:
devaka.ru said…
Susan, thanks for your post!
I think PageRank don’t tell about trust, but trust cat increase conversion rate (that is main metric of successful website). So we should turn more attention to make people trust us.
В добавок к посту про метрики эффективности сайта, а также несколько мифов о PageRank.

JUNE 30, 2011 10:54 PM

Matli said…
Thanks for explaining things which mostly running in peoples mind. recently Google release PageRank of all sites, some high traffic sites PageRank down from 4 to 1 and from 6 to 3. and some new sites getting directly 3 and 4 PageRank score.
I have investigated the metrics between loser PR site and winner PR sites. and found that the low PR site getting to many back-links from different regions of websites. and i think Google seen this as spam. because high traffic site mostly shared between peoples on different platforms. and google can easily found their links to the place where peoples shared.

I never be targeted PageRank. because this will never show or give me any of benefits. My target always be the consumers requirement meets which really and directed given high and advanced benefit to my company.

Kind regards
Matlli Digital
SEO Consultant

JUNE 30, 2011 11:01 PM

Grohotun said…
Thanks for interesting post.
I think google makes good progress in helping to webmasters.
JUNE 30, 2011 11:21 PM

youse said…
For me it is all about conversion. If a website is not selling my product/service then there is something wrong.
Bounce rate a good metric for ecommerce websites but not for each and every site. If I was a plumber and my bounce rate was 80% but the phone kept ringing doesn’t mean that my website isn’t doing its job.

When it comes to web metrics, one size never fits all.

JULY 1, 2011 12:07 AM

lee stuart said…
Hi Susan
May i suggest something slightly leftfield?

It seems the most obvious course of action to resolve the continuing saga of PageRank is to simply remove it from view. Surely then webmasters would be incentivised to focus on relevance, creating great content and matching the intent of the users query. This would also remove the false ‘ecosystem’ that still in many circles revolves around selling links or ads based on PageRank – something that many eminent Googlers would surely want to encourage?

JULY 1, 2011 1:32 AM

squibble said…
Google themselves say “PageRank – See Google’s view of the importance of a webpage” and “Webpages with a higher PageRank are more likely to appear at the top of Google search results.”
I imagine that in with tracking CTR, bounces, conversions that one might want also to see how important Google views their pages, especially as with a high pagerank the same are more likely to appear higher in searches. As said by Google.

JULY 1, 2011 1:34 AM

ekfrasi said…
Hi and thanks for the post!
The only metric that both SEOs and C-executives really care (except conversions) is KR- keyword rank. Put that into Analytics and make us happy 🙂
JULY 1, 2011 1:41 AM

jspash said…
If you don’t want people to worry about page rank, then simply remove the little green bar! Really, it’s that easy. But for some reason Google keep it around even though it’s virtually meaningless. As long as there is that little green scale that goes from 1 to 10, people will create a micro-economy around it.
JULY 1, 2011 1:43 AM

SEO Expert India said…
Hi,
Thanks for the post. Page Rank Still exist I think. Main things are conversions not PR or whatever. Good Trust, better conversion long term business.
JULY 1, 2011 3:55 AM

Gabriel LopezSeco said…
Great article with an insightful historical view of how far Google’s search technology has come.
I love the accuracy and relevance of most Google searches.

Thanks.

JULY 1, 2011 5:26 AM

Johnny Hopkins said…
Great article Susan! I can’t stress this enough to clients so it is nice to finally see a Google employee confirming it.
Quick question: how can you measure click through rate? Do you base it on average position in the SERPs and then estimate the position based on monthly search volume?

JULY 1, 2011 5:41 AM

DazzlinDonna said…
lee stuart and squibble both have it right. If you want people to stop focusing on it, Google should stop focusing on it. Remove it from view, and while it is in view, don’t show the public things that say that PageRank is “Google’s view of the importance of a webpage”. It’s blindingly simple but it has to start with Google. Eat your own dog food, as they say.
JULY 1, 2011 5:54 AM

Franz Enzenhofer said…
i wrote an article for techcrunch in 2009 which main point it “PageRank == ThoughtCancer” i think it would even be a great idea to get rid of the greenPR bar in the google toolbar.
JULY 1, 2011 5:58 AM

Andrej@ said…
PR definatly has a lot of effect. I have some major spam issues since the last update 🙂
Consider this post a vote for removing PR.

JULY 1, 2011 6:13 AM

Jason said…
Of course this all makes sense. The visible toolbar pagerank is not a great metric at all, and I tell people this all the time: what we see is relative, it is fuzzy, and it is out of date by the time we see it. But as long as it’s available it is a metric and one which is generically and easily understood. It is a snapshot of some measure of value, provided “from the horse’s mouth” as it were, and even if that measure is only updated once every 4 or 6 or 8 months people are going to reference it. Ideally it is referenced in conjunction with a whole pile of other metrics, but the vast majority of people who have a smattering of knowledge this is going to remain a common point of reference.
If you want people to stop focusing on pagerank, then stop showing it entirely. As long as people can see it, people will use it as a measure.

JULY 1, 2011 6:33 AM

Unknown said…
How do I get rid of this ugly black menu bar that has inserted itself in my google search page? It looks like some sort of death notice. Is it malware? PLEASE TAKE IT AWAY!
JULY 1, 2011 7:33 AM

fliresto said…
I find the suggestion to focus on bounce rate as unhelpful. Many sites are more usable when they focus on getting the information that the user came for all on the landing page. Consider an article. I would suggest that splitting it into two pages is counterproductive. Yes people will click to page two and the bounce rate will be lower, but the appropriate metric might be “how many people read to the end of the article”. Splitting the article would decrease the number of people that read to the end of the article even though it makes the bounce rate lower.
I applaud google for recently introducing CTR metrics in the webmaster tools. However, to be actionable, we would need to see the same metrics for competitors so that we can see where there is room for improvement.

I would also suggest that Google start releasing information about the number of people that return to SERPs and click on something else (what I suspect Google actually cares about rather than bounce rate).

JULY 1, 2011 7:33 AM

Michael Martinez said…
Susan, you have now contributed to the growing SEO mythologies about “bounce rates”.
So whenever I check in on CNN and don’t see any new stories that I want read, and I leave the site — that’s a bad user experience? I don’t think so.

So whenever I visit my favorite blogs and read their latest posts and don’t dig any deeper because I’ve read their other posts already, that’s a bad user experience? I don’t think so.

So whenever I visit a weather Website and see what’s going on in my neighborhood but don’t check out the weather across the country, that’s a bad user experience? I don’t think so.

So whenever I visit a movie times Website and only look at the local theater page without checking movie times across the metropolitan area, that’s a bad user experience? I don’t think so.

Just because someone visits only one page on a Website does not in any way mean that the Website has failed to provide compelling content.

If this is really the way Google thinks about bounce rates, it’s no wonder your teams have been struggling to keep up with low quality Websites. You’re looking at things the wrong way.

By your standard, I must be bouncing off Google every time I find what I’m looking for — so Google must not be providing any compelling content, either. Is this why Google keeps barging into business verticals with its own services?

JULY 1, 2011 8:45 AM

Billy said…
This post has been removed by the author.
JULY 1, 2011 8:52 AM

Billy said…
PR is of course just a drop in the bucket, as is everything (some drops being bigger of course)but it is still worth something and for that reason it is, to me, worth looking at. It certainly not the “end all, be all” metric of importance but any data I can get my hands on is considering.
JULY 1, 2011 8:53 AM

Matt said…
Whilst I agree that it’s important to track all the metrics you’ve stated, none of them actually replace PR, no matter how laggy it is as a metric.
You’re effectively implying don’t measure off page external factors, concentrate on on page factors instead. (In an ideal world the on page would completely drive the off page… but we don’t live in one).

I agree with the comments above that it would be helpful for Google to facilitate tracking of changes in different pages ranking for different keywords, as a dynamic metric that incorporates PR and all the other factors in the algo.

JULY 1, 2011 9:19 AM

neeraj said…
Hi Susan ,
Very useful post . I do personally believe and I dont personally believe in pr. PR is a good metrics to see what the point this website has got in google’s point of view but is bad metrics to calculate website ranking with the help of this.

JULY 1, 2011 9:20 AM

neeraj said…
Very good point you raised , I agree with you Martinez . If in an ecommerce website I land to a page where I can book a ticket or get whatever I have come here for and I log out . Does it mean that I been counted as ‘Bounced visitor’?
Google should really think about it
JULY 1, 2011 9:23 AM

DanielRoofer said…
Susan,
I agree with everything you have stated and to many folks this is old hat, unfortunately the newbies are still being given mixed signals. Have you seen the Google Toolbar help page lately? I saw it ages ago and remembered it instantly when reading your post – http://www.google.com/support/toolbar/bin/answer.py?answer=79837

Quote “Pause your cursor over the PageRank button to display the importance of the webpage you’re viewing, according to Google. Webpages with a higher PageRank are more likely to appear at the top of Google search results.”

Even Matt Cutts is stating how important Pagerank is – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNHR6IQJGZs

There are plenty of other official docs that all state the same thing – that Pagerank is very important, thus leading newbie webmasters to spend more time buying links and less time focusing on their content. Writing a helpful blog post like this is all very nice and well but Google could do a lot more, like updating help articles so they don’t mention Pagerank at all or just getting rid of it from public view entirely. Google doesn’t tell us about our competitors backlinks, anchor text, keyword density or many other metrics so why keep the public Pagerank feature? It is just confusing to newbies.

-Daniel (web search forum TC)

JULY 1, 2011 11:27 AM

Adelson Smania said…
Hi, Susan!
Your article is very interesting! It’s good to hear from Google what yourselves think about PageRank.

But, like Squibble has said, even Google say PR measures the importance of a page, what can be confusing.

Maybe the best solution would be to vanish PR!

Best regards!

JULY 1, 2011 5:40 PM

Michael Haley said…
Let’s face it… it is pride. When we get page rank, it is like a pat on the back from king Google for our efforts. But I continue to be baffled too. Like the last updates last week… http://www.seowebmeeting.com goes from PR0 to PR4. The site is lame. it barely generates a couple affiliate sales per month on a handful of visitors each day. It does not deserve PR4. But then there is my main site for my nutrition company http://www.aloe1.com which gets much more traffic. It has real content – lots of it. It has been around for more than a decade. It generates about a hundred sales per month. Yet this site goes from a PR0 finally to a PR1! Just a PR1! It does not make sense. It should be the other way around! My fascination and addiction to page rank has nothing to do with selling links. Like most sites whose webmasters are addicted to page rank there are no links for sale. If I was going to try to sell links I would probably use other metrics in the sales like traffic. So I have to disagree that selling links is the motivation with page rank.
JULY 2, 2011 3:34 AM

Igor Stolyarov said…
Thanks for the article! It really makes sense to me.
JULY 4, 2011 4:09 AM

Ydeveloper said…
In this article, i found three most important metrics and the CTR of them is one that I want to work more on. My website, kaushalam.com ranked top on many search queries but i did not find much click through rate, i have looked into the site, the content part is really better than the other results, then what will be the reason? Can anyone do an analysis?
JULY 4, 2011 5:31 AM

Garden Games – Outdoor Toy Specialists said…
Your article got me thinking about the business implication over the ranking implication. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of finding something to benchmark against that actually means nothing.
I wrote about it here on my post: http://www.businessdroid.co.uk/archives/google-thinking

JULY 4, 2011 6:02 AM

jobisez said…
You can tell webmasters all day long not to focus on PR, but the normal netizen might use that number to determine if a site is trustworthy or not.
JULY 4, 2011 8:56 AM

jobisez said…
If PR is three times removed from the actual “ranking algo”, then give us that number. Don’t do it for my sake, do it for Pete’s sake.
JULY 4, 2011 9:03 AM

jobisez said…
re: “none of us truly care about PageRank as an end goal.” then dont even show it. I propose make every site a 10.
re: bounce rate, there should be a page in WMT that shows me which pages do not have GA. A page without GA would distort bounce rate.

JULY 4, 2011 6:31 PM

James Gurd said…
Hi,
Thanks for the blog and you’re right to point people in the direction of targeting metrics that will deliver immediate commercial benefits.

I would question the generic comment on bounce rates though. A high bounce rate is not always an indication of a problem. Some pages are intended to drive people away to take actions in other channels. For example, a retailer’s store finder pages usually elicit a bounce after people have found the info they want. The stats bear this out as the multi-channel retailers I’ve worked with all have higher than average bounce rates on these pages.

To interpret bounce rates you need context and that’s more than just one slice of data. You need to think laterally about what the page goal is and what behaviour you expect from customers. If there is a discrepancy between goal and outcome, then you can look to take action.

thanks
james

JULY 5, 2011 6:54 AM

Carlos Lorenzo said…
Yes, why not eliminate pagerank for good? No matter how worthless you consider it, the fact that some people have a higher PR still give them privileges.
JULY 5, 2011 1:36 PM

D-Quote said…
Yup It`s all exactly correct that the Conversion rate is the main factor to determine one sites success, so why not eliminate the PR factor?
JULY 5, 2011 8:09 PM

Rahima Haq said…
I think the important thing is not the page rink. It is just used for our satisfaction. The consumer requirement is important and I am looking forward for this achievement.
JULY 5, 2011 11:42 PM

combat-games said…
I think the comments about bounce rate may be reading a little bit too much into the original post. I don’t read it as saying a high bounce rate is always bad, no exceptions. A certain percentage of visitors will bounce. Obviously, a one-page site with no links would have a 100% bounce rate, and that’s expected. But a homepage that’s constantly updated and 80-90% of visitor never click on anything might be cause for concern
JULY 6, 2011 11:01 AM

lilbit said…
Gosh I thought I’d never see the day when someone says (from a trusted source I might add) forget about the green little bar up top that represents PageRank. I have never used it, followed it or acted upon it. It was a total useless tool. Thank you and great post.
JULY 7, 2011 11:48 AM

m. said…
@Michael Martinez
Bounce rate is a combination of not clicking anything and time spent. So yes, bounce rate is accurate. If you visit any of those sites and stay a couple of minutes reading, then you are counted as a legitimate visit.

JULY 7, 2011 1:43 PM

Vitesse Media said…
In the UK, advertisers will use PageRank as a factor when negotiating advertising rates with publishers. You can tell them ’til you are blue in the face that Google says don’t focus on PR – they’re not interested. So your PR can DIRECTLY affect your bottom line – and that’s unfair.
JULY 8, 2011 1:51 AM

Aren said…
it’s nice. i do some method for page rank and i get pr in your update. it’s nice but why i don’t give more traffic? please inform me
http://www.rivioo.com/blog
JULY 8, 2011 3:18 AM

Lukas Oldenburg said…
Sorry, but can the author please explain how Google finds out about my “conversion rate”? In my opinion, this is a totally blurry concept. How does Google know how many people buy my stuff if I am not using AdWords Conversion Tracking nor have published my Google Analytics data? A little bit more insight would be helpful.
JULY 8, 2011 5:59 AM

Fun Zone said…
Please Help Me,
My site ( http://tech2hack.co.cc/ )
pages were removed from Google Index, I check Google Quality Guidance and my site does not violate it, Please Re-Index my site.
Thanks
Ankit Saini
Tech2Hack.Co.CC
JULY 11, 2011 11:15 AM

Susan Moskwa said…
“If you don’t want people to worry about PageRank, then simply remove the little green bar!”
We continue to show PageRank in the Google Toolbar mainly for the average web surfer who wants to get a general idea of the importance of a webpage. In that capacity–for that particular group of users–it still serves a useful purpose. However, we removed it from Webmaster Tools because we agree that it’s not a useful metric for website owners and as such it doesn’t make sense to present it in that context (to a different type of Google users).

JULY 11, 2011 4:26 PM

Susan Moskwa said…
“Bounce rate is a good metric for ecommerce websites but not for each and every site. If I was a plumber and my bounce rate was 80% but the phone kept ringing doesn’t mean that my website isn’t doing its job.”
This is true. As I said, web analytics is a rich & complex topic and my post just barely scrapes the surface of talking about a few metrics in a very simplistic way. I would’ve had to write a novel to go into all the nuances of what bounce rate et al. can mean in different contexts. I strongly encourage anyone who wants to learn about web metrics to check out other sources, since that’s not what this blog specializes in.

JULY 11, 2011 4:29 PM

Susan Moskwa said…
“Quick question: how can you measure click through rate?”
Webmaster Tools shows clickthrough rate for many of your top keywords. Details here.

“I find the suggestion to focus on bounce rate as unhelpful. Many sites are more usable when they focus on getting the information that the user came for all on the landing page.”

This is true — as I said above, there’s a lot of nuance to web metrics and what I talked about barely scratches the surface. What is useful for one page may not apply to another. My point was not that everyone in the world should be trying to lower their bounce rate, but rather that CTR and bounce rate are examples of metrics that are more accurately measurable than PageRank, and that correspond more directly to what users are actually doing on your site. Those criteria are the criteria you should be looking at when you think about how you measure you site’s success.

JULY 11, 2011 4:40 PM

Susan Moskwa said…
“Can the author please explain how Google finds out about my conversion rate?”
We don’t. I didn’t say that these are factors that we use to rank your sites; I said that these are the types of metrics you should be looking at.

JULY 11, 2011 4:47 PM

plastic card said…
i think page rank is not important, but if you really prepare for people, your pr will highly. people find the useful answer then googlebot will thanks for you.
JULY 11, 2011 11:55 PM

WisTex said…
Actually a high bounced rate can mean your visitors found what they are looking for. If I search for a company’s phone number, and the first page on their site has it, why would I visit another page? If I do a search for a recipe, and the first page I come to has that recipe, do I really need to visit another page? Not really. So just because someone bounces does NOT mean they did not find what they are looking for.
JULY 13, 2011 10:35 AM

WisTex said…
There are rumors that Google is using bounce rate as the most important metric rather than links. If it is factored in, it should be small, otherwise you will have the situation were relevant pages fall out of the top search engine results. Let’s give an example. I search for recipes. I am looking for a particular recipe. When I find the one I like, I stop clicking, since that is the whole point of my search. There is no need for me to click further. I found it. According to the rumors, since I found what I am looking for, and did not click elsewhere, that is considered a bounce and devaluing the page rank. But, pages on the same site linking to this page will start to rank higher, since it required two clicks on the site to find what you want. So instead of the recipe page itself showing up in the top results, the page on the same site that links to the recipe will now show up in top results.
This make no sense from a usability standpoint and would devalue Google search results if it was the primary factor on a per page basis. So I seriously doubt Google would make bounce rate of primary importance unless they wanted to destroy they search results.

They may, however, give it more weight on a per site basis, which makes more sense. After all, a healthy site will have some pages that have high clickthroughs to pages within the site (i.e. low bounce rate), like home pages, and pages that link to content like site maps. But people are not searching for site maps that link to content they want, they want to go directly to the content. Spam sites really have a high bounce rate sitewide, and that is where I can see a penalty coming in, but not on individual pages. A high bounce rate could mean the person found what they are looking for.

Of course, what Google could mean by bounce is when someone searches for something and visits a page, then immediate does an identical search on Google, which easily can be tracked by Google. In this scenario, people like me who love opening ten articles on a subject from a search then reading them all, would cause your rank to go down, which would then help bury your relevant page I really enjoyed.

The last scenario is probably what Google factors in, but I seriously doubt its now the primary determining factor since it is too prone to abuse by competitors (bounce your site to devalue it) and would cause some relevant pages like articles get devalued where people are actually looking for multiple sources of information.

JULY 14, 2011 12:00 PM

Cool Shooting Games said…
“We continue to show PageRank in the Google Toolbar mainly for the average web surfer who wants to get a general idea of the importance of a webpage.”
Just curious… is there any evidence as to how many average web surfers pay much attention to the pagerank value in the toolbar? I’m not sure anyone I know who’s not a webmaster even knows what it is.

JULY 14, 2011 12:18 PM

WisTex said…
I think Google just censored me. The long comment I posted. Deleted. Perhaps I was too accurate in guessing how the new page rank works. 😦
JULY 14, 2011 5:34 PM

VabMedia said…
Does your website’s loading time or speed have anything to do with the metrics? Great post thank you
JULY 16, 2011 7:49 PM

aj said…
Hi Susan… nice write-up. it gives out the details about the importance of pageRank for every site administrator.
JULY 17, 2011 9:23 PM

David Carey said…
Hi,
I am new to blogger and have noticed that there seems to be a big deal made of page rank.
I thought that Google would be more interested in relevancy, after all when I search for something; I want the search engines to show relevant content, not a high page rank.

I love this post as I think bloggers and website owners should focus more on what people are searching, than what the search engines want.

JULY 19, 2011 10:35 AM

Susan Moskwa said…
@VabMedia: Speed/load time doesn’t affect PageRank or CTR. It could potentially affect bounce rates or conversion rates because it affects the user experience.
JULY 19, 2011 3:40 PM

Susan Moskwa said…
@WisTex: I didn’t say that these are the metrics we use to rank sites, I said these are the examples of metrics that would be more useful for site owners to track than PageRank.
You’re right that there’s a lot of nuance and complexity in understand web metrics, such as when bounce rate may or may not be a useful metric and what it means for a site (does it mean a user going away unsatisfied, or a user going away satisfied?). As I said above, my post just barely scratched the surface on this topic and was not meant to be a definitive reference on how to understand web metrics, but rather a refutation of the primacy of PageRank as a metric for webmasters.

JULY 19, 2011 3:44 PM

Tia Peterson said…
Is anyone going to explain what happened when some homepages were moved to PR4 from PR3 (like mine) and then back down again? What was the point of that?
Remember that advertisers use PR, too. I’m sure Google says “That’s not our problem” but you can’t create a resource that you call an authority, to which other authorities rely on, and continue to update it but say it has no value. If it didn’t have value, it wouldn’t be updated as frequently as it has been.

It’s beginning to look like the DMOZ catastrophe. You create these messes and don’t take any ownership over what happened.

JULY 19, 2011 10:32 PM

Rav Sandhu said…
Let me bring everyone down a few steps here. Did anyone ever consider the fact someone might not have Analytics even installed or maybe using an alternative to GA. Suddenly your bounce means nothing! 😉
Rav
JULY 20, 2011 9:14 AM

Rafael said…
Excellent article; I am one of those who heard much about page rank from “experts” but still didn’t understand it quite well. Now I have better grasp of this science and can set better SEO goals. Also thanks for the linked resources that I can look to for more info.
JULY 29, 2011 10:45 AM

Rebecca from Chow and Chatter said…
My page rank has decreased from 4-3 and I wonder why I never accept paid links and really try and keep content relevant
Great post by the way learnt alot
AUGUST 3, 2011 9:24 PM

Nikhil Khandekar said…
Susan had done a great job here, and there’s no doubting that. If you really want to make argument, you could probably argue how Shakespeare did not do full justice to his plays. In life, there aren’t – and cannot be – perfect absolutes. That is because of the multiplicity of factors affecting anything, everything and anybody, everybody. It is upto the individual to find the right balance of strategies for his or her own website.
Make the most of articles such as Susan’s and you’ll enjoy the benefits. Crib, and you crib alone.
Best,
Nikhil Khandekar
AUGUST 4, 2011 12:36 AM

Dianne Heath said…
I think that google rank is very important. They don’t want people to focus on it because, they would attempt to scam it.
AUGUST 7, 2011 7:02 PM

buddy thomas said…
Id rather have 1000 extra visitors than an +1 to my pagerank any day.
AUGUST 13, 2011 9:25 AM

dynamind said…
and what should we think about the fact, that the bounce rate is increasing exponentially starting adwords campaigns? yes, this is interesting data we should monitor and convert, but I mean it can’t be a metric value for “websites’s quality”.
AUGUST 17, 2011 7:51 AM

James Rithka said…
I really think that all webmaster for this day and in the future must not focus on getting a high page rank, in addition with all Panda updates we need to experiment and to generate sites valuable in content, information and constant freshness for our user, by doing this will bring us trust and authority with the users and the search engines.
AUGUST 19, 2011 11:22 AM

Catfish said…
Page Rank is never going away. It will always be part of the algorithm because it is still a useful indicator. You can layer relevance on top of it (ie, topic sensitive page rank), but ultimately its still important. That doesn’t mean its the most important thing in the algorithm, but understanding how it flows and what that relationship means to a successful site architecture is still a critical skill for an SEO to have. Obviously there are a number of other important factors in the algorithm, but ignoring Page Rank and how it works doesn’t make any sense for a professional SEO.
SEPTEMBER 6, 2011 9:21 AM
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