Finding The True PR Of A Page?
I had an email "conversation" this last week which I feel others may benefit from "listening in" on. Here it is in summary:
Why is it that xxxxxxx ranks so well on Google for the phrase xxxxxx xxxxxx when it has a PR of 0. The other top results have PRs of 5 and 6. Is Page Rank becoming less important?
My answer to Graham was to go back and read a previous newsletter where I discussed just this. In issue 48 I discussed anomalies in PR and backlinks. You can read it online here:
In reply, Graham wrote back:
If Google are not telling us the real PR values, how can we find out the PR of a site? This is making link exchanges much more difficult. How are we supposed to know whether a link partner is good if we don't know their true PR?
and my reply went something like this:
Google released backlinks and Page Rank data to the webmaster community. However, in doing so, they unleashed a monster.
SEOs quickly reverse-engineered the Google algorithm which showed how important both backlinks and PR really were to high rankings.
Every SEO and his cat went out to increase backlinks, and increase PR to their sites. Knowing the Page Rank of another site was fundamental in "manipulating" the PR of your own site. Knowing the linking structure of other sites was fundamental in beating the system and getting your link structure just right for top rankings.
SEOs were manipulating the results using information that became available as soon as Google released PR and backlink data.
Why does Google dislike this? Well, Google wants the best pages to rise to the top of the rankings. A best page might be described as the page with the most relevant content for the search query that was run at google.com.
As webmasters became better at manipulating PR and backlinks, more and more rubbish began to surface in the top results, and that remains today. Pages ranking well only because a good SEO did his or her job, not because the page is the most relevant.
This is why Google have removed your privileges and no longer gives accurate PR or backlink data. They don't want you to have it any longer. They have it in their database and use it for ranking purposes, they just don't tell you that information any more.
As to your question about how to find the real PR if Google toolbar does not show it - there is no way. This is information that Google own, and they have no obligation to give it to you. By hiding this information, Google probably hopes that webmasters will give up the obsession of PR and backlinks, and concentrate on providing quality content that searchers will find interesting - content that adds value to the net.
So how do you know if a link partner is a good one? Simple. Look at their website and see if it is quality or rubbish. A quality site will always be a good link partner, a rubbish site will never be a good link partner.
This is how Google always envisaged PR and backlinks working together to pick the best pages for search results. Sites vote for others based on quality of site, not because of what benefits you might get for providing the link."
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