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Page Rank and Google

Oct 12, 2007
Well this is a topic that provokes much dissention in the world of SEO and is probably one of the most misunderstood factors in the world of optimisation. In fact every popular forum is guaranteed to have at least one current thread that addresses this subject in one way or another.

Well what is true and what is myth?

It is true that Page rank is important but it is a myth that you should chase it.
It is true that you should pursue the activity that will improve it but false that you can measure it.
It is true that sites that have a good Pagerank will often be well placed in generic searches but false that this is the only factor influencing this placement.

So where does Pagerank come from?
Going back to the start of the evolution of Google it all began with the development of a search engine that could deliver more accurate results than facilities such as Alta Vista and Excite who back then were just two of a variety of dominant search engines.

Google was different, it was different because it ranks on different factors and this started when the founders decided to see if they could crawl the whole of web world and trace every link that could be found.

It is probably not correct at this point to conclude that Larry Page and Sergey Brin were trying to create a new internet search engine. But the concept of tracking and sorting all the links on the Internet was certainly heading that way.

What was even more impressive than just tracking the number of links was the idea of examining the link relationship between different sites and thus determining the concept of rank!

It was March 1996 when Larry pointed his crawler at his homepage at Stamford University and let it lose to explore the world. From the information gathered it was possible to sort sites that were important from sites that were less important according to link quantity, that was just the start and much more was on the agenda.

The concept was that once this site hierarchy is determined then the value of a link can be determined, it was a complex mathematical process but with Sergey the mathematician on board it was deliverable. The goal of course was achieved, Page and Brin were able to develop a system of ranking based on the number of links into a particular site factoring in the number of links to each of the sites that were linking to that particular site.

Once this was done they started to search the data and noticed that many of the results were more relevant to the query than when the same query was entered into the established search engines.

Thus was born the soul of Google and the intrinsic relationship with pagerank, of course this term came from the marriage of the evaluation process: rank, to the surname of Larry Page, hence Pagerank.

Thus another fact is established and that is Pagerank is not named because of a value of a webpage but from the founders surname. The obsession with Pagerank continues and debates rage but at the end of the day it is a mathematical formula and uses quantifiable elements to determine the end product which is rank.

Whilst it is important to understand what builds Pagerank anybody of repute understands that we do not know what the true PR is of any particular site or page. Google have given us an indicator which like any such directive was instantly abused so to the point where we are firmly in the dark as to the true Pagerank and we have to rely on the Google Toolbar indicator which is out of date and totally inaccurate.

Even the backlink indicator is not reliable in Google since this was also abused in the drive to gain position by manipulation, after its release as a command it was quickly dulled down.

Every Pagerank checker uses the Toolbar mechanism in one way or another and so all those so called experts out there offering true PR tracking services are also deluded or deceptive with their claims.

And therein lies the Achilles Heel, once the industry understood the relationship between links and ranking then it was open to abuse in the effort to manipulate the position of any given website. This has led to ever more stringent changes to the system which can have cataclysmic effects on millions of websites as different updates are served to Googles ranking model.

In a modern world the vast majority of linking is now done to try and pass a vote for authority with the aim of adjusting website positions in a positive way. The early days of links passing a natural vote of quality are gone for a huge section of the Internet, where this natural process still occurs is whereby the rank and file still link naturally to facilities such as Microsoft and Adobe and many other Goliaths.

What is certain though is that the average business website has its search engine position in part due to some manipulation of the link process, of course linking can be encouraged by releasing quality information, having a great content rich site and despite the manipulation Google still manages to produce remarkable results for relevancy.

This means that after a decade the system of Pagerank survives as the most relevant and accurate process for delivery search results to people entering their respective search queries.
About the Author
Pagerank has been a feature in the working life of Shaun Parker for a decade, just why has Pagerank had such an influence on the world of
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