Google Pagerank Obsession is Lame

May 18th, 2009 |

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I have seen a large number of people overly obsessed with Google Pagerank.  Sure, having a decent pagerank is nice, but obsessing over it is lame.  When you ask these people why they are so infatuated with the pagerank of their site, many can not give a good reason.  In fact, many of these people appear to not have a clue about pagerank and what it really is.  So let’s back up the truck and take a brief look at Google Pagerank.

What is Pagerank

Google pagerank is essentially a measuring stick by Google in relation to the amount of links your site or page has from other web properties.  Incoming links to your site are weighted differently by Google on several factors.  Google may consider some incoming links more valuable and therefore assign more of a weight to these links.  More valuable link weighting can be results of an incoming link originating from a high pagerank page, or maybe an incoming link originating from an authority site.  The pagerank scale ranges from 0-10, with 10 being the highest.

Why Pagerank is Important

There is no denying that pagerank can play a role in the ranking of your website.  Afterall, if Google is assigning a numerical ranking to your site, wouldn’t it make sense that this ranking should have an effect on your search engine rankings?  It is important to note that pagerank is not the ulitimate determining factor in deciding where your website is listed within the search results.  In fact there are hundreds, if not thousands of factors Google takes into consideration when determining the search engine results for particular keywords.

What Pagerank Is Not

High pagerank is not the magical formula that will guarantee number one rankings for keywords you target.  In fact, many times you will see sites with lower pagerank end up out ranking sites with a higher pagerank.  This is simply because Google does not consider pagerank the sole determining factor of search engine results.

How to Increase Pagerank

For those interested in increasing your site’s pagerank, it simply comes down to increasing relevant inbound links to your site from other pageranked pages.  Ideally, you will want to target sites or pages with higher pagerank.  Sites with an already established Google Pagerank are already seen as relevant and link worthy in the eyes of Google.  If this same ranking site were to link to your site, Google will more than likely look at your site as a relevant source as well.  The more of these types of inbound links, the more relevant and pagreank worthy your site will become.  Keep in mind this is an ongoing process and will not increase your pagerank over night.

So Why the Hype About Pagerank?

I browse quite a few sites and forums.  In fact I am somewhat baffled in what I see some of these “self proclaimed SEO gurus” talking about.  There are many who like to talk about how their site has such and such pagerank.  Well that is nice and all, but where does that site rank for targeted keywords in that niche?  How much targeted traffic does it get?  Most of the time, these questions are dodged since the site doesn’t rank for anything other than their sitename.  However, there are times where you get a so called SEO expert saying their site ranks number one for obscure term that no one will ever search for.  What good does it do to rank number one for a phrase that no one searches for?  Not much.

Sometimes I get the feeling that some people use pagerank as a bragging right to tout their online incompetence.  More times than not, many of these users are touting their pagerank and that they are an SEO god, when in fact they really have no clue about SEO.  Typically, these users are trying to impress everyone with their pagerank 3 site.  Hate to break it to them, but a pagerank 3 site is nothing to brag about.

Pagerank Misconception

Unfortunately, there is a misconception about pagerank and what it really means among the newer webmaster crowd.  Somewhere along the way, Google Pagerank importance was over hyped to this crowd and many have become obsessed with increasing their pagerank rather than focusing on actual optimization of their site.  What many fail to realize that a great site, with great content, proper optimization, and some other SEO basics will ultimately lead to an increased pagerank over time.  Not only will the webmaster get an increased pagerank they are after, but ultimately they will see an increase in search engine rankings for their targeted keywords.

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  • Chris Ruppel

    While you were careful not to come out and say "focusing on social media traffic is better than focusing on PageRank" I see the site slogan and understand the idea you're trying to get across. Having said that, there's a couple points you haven't really touched on:

    PageRank is the result of long-term, established links that by their existence indicate the place they link to is valuable. So you're right, if a website is a good source of content, be it niche or broad, it will eventually build up long term value because people will link to it from their websites, blog postings etc. Permanent links.

    The social media traffic, on the other hand, is temporary and fleeting, and almost completely nofollowed. Show me a social media site that doesn't nofollow its users' links. Basically, even though you get some temporary buzz going for your product, the link is cheaper and less meaningful for your site in the long run. Think of how easy it is to RT something, that's why they all nofollow user generated content.

    Now, buzz can be just the thing a site needs to get kick started, but that only happens once in a blue moon. Most regular website owners need reliable long-term value in order to sustain or supplement a business. And that is done by producing original, valuable content, which is sometimes then blasted through these various channels to make it to the widest audience possible.

    You can't just hop on twitter et al. and expect to find your audience. This article tries to dog established practices but offers no reason behind why any alternative is better. Please let me know if you have any so we can have a real discussion about it.

    • ploked

      thanks for the reply. unfortunately i don't see where i "dog" these established practices you are referring to? in fact, i agree with long term link building as a result of good content mentioned in my post as well as in your response. i do however dog people that think a higher pagerank makes their site/themselves SEO gurus when they can't show a legitimate example of rankings for keywords that matter to their niche. these same people are often the users you see posting on forums who don't understand why their site doesn't get traffic even though it is a PR 3 site or something.

      i did not mention social media as a form of increased SEO/PR because of the fact the majority of them are no follow like you mention. this blog post was more of a rant about users i have seen on other various sites touting their newest pagerank update thinking it defines the success of their "SEO skills", when in my opinion is just a small piece of the SEO puzzle. pagerank is not the determining factor of one's SEO skill is all i was trying to get at and the people who obsess over it really do not have a clue….

      • Chris Ruppel

        Well I suppose I agree with you then! I just read it with the overtone of social media since is clearly dedicated to it. My apologies for reading into your post. I hear too much these days about how awesome social media is from people who are just drinking the kool-aid, but for the clients I serve it doesn't seem to have much value over strategic content and long term link building.

        That's not to say it doesn't have its place though. I'll admit it, I originally got to this article from twitter. So here's to discussion!

  • Nobody

    one of the best articles i have ever read !!
    good job ploked !

  • seo for website

    I have seen a large number of people overly obsessed with Google Pagerank. Sure, having a decent pagerank is nice, but obsessing over it is lame.

  • smokersquitsmoking

    Nice PR chart. What's up with twitter pages getting such high page ranks so quickly.

  • Canvas Stretching Machine

    this one thing that all seo are concerned of…

  • Motorhomes

    @Canvas Stretching Machine

    yes people had been debating over it a million times already


    I agree. Though Google PR can be a good measure of the website's quality, it is still very important to put to mind that it is not the only determining factor for this. There are so many good websites out there that doesn't even have high PRs.

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    Getting high page rank on google is a tricky job.

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    Getting high page rank on google is a tricky job.