The Matter of Page Rank

Countless times, prospective clients have approached our company asking us to help them increase their Google Page Rank; Not their monthly visitors, search traffic, rankings, leads, or conversion rate, but their Page Rank. There have been countless other times where prospective clients have turned away from our company because although our clients search engine rankings are improving, their Page Rank has not. This problem has finally enticed me to answer the most important questions on the matter of Page Rank. No, I’m not going to get into the technical side of Page Rank and discuss the damping factor, the eigenvector, or the Markov theory. I’m going to keep it simple while still getting to the heart of the issue: Does Page Rank matter? And if so, how important is it really?

Does Page Rank Matter?

It’s safe to say that Google didn’t arbitrarily assign a number from one to ten to every site on the web for the sole purpose of getting all of us techies to download a small green bar to their browser. To the contrary, Page Rank has been the heart of Google’s software from the beginning and there is plenty of documentation our there to prove it. That’s right. I’m saying that Page Rank is real and alive in Google’s search algorithm today and plays a significant role in your site’s rankings. However, there is one thing I would like to point out about Page Rank before we go any further:

The Difference Between the Page Rank Algorithm and the Page Rank Toolbar

The Page Rank algorithm is the complex link analysis function that assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents with the purpose of “measuring” its relative importance within the set. Google recalculates it’s Page Rank scores every time it crawls the web which is very frequent.

The Page Rank Toolbar displays a visited page’s PageRank as a whole number between 0 and 10. Its the little green bar discussed previously. However, this Page Rank is only republished every three months giving the public a view of the historical value of the site. So for all of you out there who are frantically getting online every day to check the Page Rank of your site, I recommend doing something better with your time.

How Important is Page Rank?

Because of the widespread misuse and manipulation of the logarithmic function through spamdexing and link farms, Google has been forced to place less significance on Page Rank and introduce other factors into your site’s ranking. The Page Rank of your site (at least the Page Rank that you see), therefore, is still crucial, but not the end all say all. Let me prove that to you with some great examples:

Proof That Page Rank Isn’t Everything

Just today, I conducted 10 different searches on Google for highly popular and highly searched on keywords. I then checked the Page Rank of all 10 results for each query I performed (100 different results). What I found may come as quite a surprise to many and may not be surprising at all to others:

Page Rank Study

Findings:

16.67% of the results under the number 1 ranking have a better Page Rank than the number 1 ranking itself

23.75% of the results under the number 2 ranking have a better Page Rank than the number 2 ranking itself

15.71% of the results under the number 3 ranking have a better Page Rank than the number 3 ranking itself

33.33% of the results under the number 4 ranking have a better Page Rank than the number 4 ranking itself

26.00% of the results under the number 5 ranking have a better Page Rank than the number 5 ranking itself

This means that an average of 23% of the time, results 5-10 actually have a better Page Rank than the top 5 results.

Conclusion

I’m sure you can come to your own conclusion based on the research and the facts, but the real conclusion is that Page Rank does matter (keep reading!). An intelligent link building campaign is crucial to your site’s rankings (whether your link building is from link bait or from relevant sites linking to yours). However, Page Rank is not everything. It doesn’t guarantee you the top position in Google. It doesn’t single-handedly get you more monthly search traffic, better conversion rates, or more sales. So the next time Page Rank updates, if your ranking stayed the same or even dropped to 0 (heaven forbid), don’t think the world is ending. Remember what really matters is that you’re ranking well, you’re getting organic search traffic, and your website is successfully converting that traffic to leads or sales.

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5 Comments

  1. dave says

    Interesting analysis, Nelson. I noticed that those were really generic keywords you checked, too. Do you think the results would be different for more targeted keyword phrases?

  2. nelson says

    Dave, I ran another report on more targeted keyword phrases (some geotargeted, some not) and had virtually the same results with the exception that I was dealing with a lower overall Page Rank.

  3. Goran Giertz says

    Wow Nelson. I just tried it out (Google results South Africa) and the second result on the front page for the search result “Insurance” has a PR2 which is the lowest on the page. The results are the following PR 5, 2, 4, 6, 3, 4, 4, 3, 5, 5

    This is a great article to show clients.

    Thanks

  4. Josh Carr Superstar says

    Nelson – It would be interesting to see the results with a cross reference to alexa rank, age, backlinks etc. to see what really matters. Kind of like in Chemistry class when you isolate the sugar in a Can of Coke. See if you can isolate what single item in the algorithm carries the most weight. Maybe you should put an intern on that instead of doing it yourself :)

    Thanks for the insight

  5. Deepak says

    I agree with you nelson.I have a recipes blog which has PR 0.But still it ranks in first 10 results for a particular keyword

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