Why Toolbar PageRank is Worthless
Ian Lurie Nov 9 2010
Soooo, a few readers asked me why I don’t use PageRank as a statistic.
I thought about writing a long, angry, ranty post about Toolbar PageRank, bank bailouts and the moron on NPR today who said the USA has reduced its carbon emissions since 2000, etc. etc. but stopped myself.
Instead, I’ve got a nice clean list of well thought-out reasons:
- Toolbar PageRank does not equal true PageRank. Toolbar PageRank tries to distill this humungous, universe-encompassing scoring system (true PageRank) into a 0-10 scale. Imagine buying a house based on a photo of a 1ft by 1ft square of green grass. Same thing.
- It updates infrequently. Actually, it updates slightly more often than the Department of Homeland Security’s threat system (‘High’ since 2003, I think).
- Toolbar PageRank ignores onsite factors. OK, that may be an exaggeration. But that little green bar has little to do with relevance, and a lot to do with authority. It leaves out half of the SEO equation.
- It makes you focus on the stupid. Toolbar PageRank ignores your traffic, your sales, conversion rates, visit quality and the key phrases actually sending traffic your way. Aside from that and its total inaccuracy, it’s perfecto.
- Back in 2008, Steve Reubel said that PageRank is the ultimate metric. He’s also heralded the death of SEO at least three times. It’s like a zombie movie, where the government tells everyone to go gather in a football stadium. Run. The other. Way.
So, if you want to slip on the proverbial banana peel. Otherwise, avoid PageRank and use some more reliable SEO metrics, k?
By the way, I wrote about PageRank and it’s utter worthlessness in 2006, too. I also wrote a more succinct post on the subject in 2009.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More