I get a lot of questions on Google’s page rank meter. I was asked by a friend of mine:

Question 1: Based on the Google Page Rank, the highest rank I’ve come across so far has been with latimes.com (8 out of 10) and nytimes.com (9 out of 10). Besides Google, Yahoo and the rest that calculate page rankings, do you know of any sites that have a perfect 10 ranking? Question 2: Last week I saw the LATimes.com site ranked 9 out of 10, but this week it’s back to an 8. Any thoughts on why they dropped?

To be short and sweet, I don’t know of any sites that have perfect 10 page ranking. But should you even care? Page Rank is one small portion of Google’s total algorithm and only looking at one small portion of a larger picture often times doesn’t give you the best point of view. A site can rank in different positions for many different keyword phrases, so PR isn’t going to, in itself, indicate where in the results you will show up for a given keyword – since your positioning is based how a person searches for your site along with many other factors that happen to include Page Rank in the equation.

Well, what does the Page Rank (PR) meter indicate anyway?

You could say PR tells you how "networked" your site is. PR is thought to be a logarithmic function of the number, and possibly the total quality, of in-bound links a site has accumulated. So, the more in-bound links you have, the higher your PR. But it gets harder and harder to climb up the PR ladder since the equation has a logarithmic base.

Page Rank meter, Not Always Accurate

You may have noticed: the Page Rank meter that you might have installed on your FireFox or IE web browser is not always accurately reflecting Google’s internal Page Rank numbers for 2 reasons:

  1. Google updates their PR values once every 3 or 4 months – so the PR value you see for any given web page is not always going to be up to date.
  2. The Page Rank meter has to guess a page’s value some times, for example, the meter PR shows a value on the Gmail interface page (which shouldn’t have a rank since your private email messages don’t appear in public web results) – so we don’t even know which pages the meter is guessing on!

Google’s Page Rank MeterSalt Shaker With all this said, Page Rank should probably be taken with a grain of salt in that it can be very misleading piece of information.

OK, but how can a site’s Page Rank drop?

A site’s Google PR can drop for a few reasons that I am aware of:

  1. a reduction of in-bound links to the site
  2. a Google engineer manually penalized the site in question for spammy web practices
  3. the meter might actually be "guessing" a page’s PR value to a certain extent, almost like a random number

Is there any value to the PR number of a web site?

Yes. Since the Page Rank number of a web page is updated every 3 months or so, we know we are looking at historical data (an image from the past). For this reason we can usually judge the past activities of a site in terms of in-bound links and how much "link" juice a site receives in general – and if all else equal (the site has not participated in any type of known web spam activity since the last update) then we might even be able to determine the current health of the site – weather or not we want to acquire a link from the site or if we want to link out to the site.

Why does Google make the Page Rank numbers public?

  • When you think about it, Google wants to do everything in their power to stop people from gaming their search engine. So why make an internal number from their algorithm public?? (It’s possible that they don’t even use PR in certain ranking calculations, but that’s another story)
  • Google uses the PR meter so it’s user population will learn to value sites the a high page rank and devalue sites with a low page rank.
  • If they can get you to think in their terms, they can control your fear: what do you think Google does to sites with a healthy page rank that commit "spammy" practices (such as selling links), or anything else they deem as "bad"… they drop the site’s page rank down or even to zero as a scare tactic – sort of like a slap on the wrist and "let that be a lesson to the rest of you!" – even though the site’s rankings, and traffic don’t change – the things they can’t obfuscate with a simple reduction in PR.
  • Google uses the "Page Rank" (PR) metric as a means of controlling the behavior of the population when it comes to judging the "quality" or the ability of a site to rank in the search results – that’s why they make the information public.
  • The PR meter helps prevent people from spamming their search engine, so they can generate cleaner web search results, make it harder to perform organic SEO and drive more money to their adwords program.

And no, other than Google’s home page, I don’t know of a web page that has a perfect 10 PR, do you?

Comments

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Andres Spagarino • 10 years ago

 

Great Article… there are more than one website (other than Google) with a Page Rank of 10.

http://www.w3.org, http://www.adobe.com, http://www.energy.gov, http://www.macromedia.com, http://www.nasa.gov, http://www.nsf.gov, http://www.whitehouse.gov, http://www.real.com, http://www.doe.gov, http://www.usa.gov

 

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