Mythbusting 101: Don't Talk If You Don't Know

Ian Lurie

No Excuses!
If you don’t know what you’re talking about, it’s best not to talk. Ian’s First Rule of Internet Marketing.

SitePro News sent me this dandy article this morning: SEO and Page Rank – Which is More Important.

With my BS monitor pegged in the red, I took a look. The article starts:

“Whether you believe in SEO or Page Rank and wonder which is more important, your thinking is irrelevant. You are wasting your time in wondering what is the correct answer to that question, since even if you knew it, there is little you could do to use that information.”


PageRank is a number assigned to you by Google. SEO (search engine optimization) is an activity. You can, arguably, try to measure SEO results using PageRank.

The article goes on:

“SEO, or search engine optimization, is a way of designing your website, and placing content in it, to satisfy search engine algorithms.”

And then:

“Now, consider if you thought Google PageRank more important (and PageRank is correct, not Page Rank). You would then spend more of your time trying to get links back to your website than you would properly optimizing your site and filling it with good content. If you were successful in that difficult job, then Google, and possibly other search engines, would list you a bit higher in their indices, not because their spiders thought your site was relevant to the search term used by the potential visitors, but because other websites thought so.”

Wow. So if I’m PageRanking (not a word), instead of doing SEO, I guess I focus on links? But if I’m doing SEO, then I focus on how my site’s designed and built.

Wrong. Link popularity work is an integral part of search engine optimization. Again, PageRank is a number. It’s not an activity. Nor is it something that can or should form the central part of any strategy.

Also, the PageRank we see in the Google Toolbar is very inaccurate – you cannot use it to measure how well you’re doing, SEO-wise.

Comparing PageRank and SEO as separate strategies is like asking “Which is more important, a car or an odometer?”

Smart SEO practitioners and internet marketers know that linking is part of the strategy, and that PageRank is fun to watch.

End of rant. See you tomorrow…

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. Totally. I know personally of PR4 sites that get over 100,000 visitors per month. Loyal visitors, too!
    And I know of a PR6 site that gets under 10,000.
    SEO is comprehensive. It considers both onsite and offsite factors — as well as the reach of the market niche.
    I only get excited about PageRank (CamelCase, is it? 😉 if it’s PR0 or PR10. Anything in between elicits a shrug.

  2. Pagerank may not seem to matter for some people but in my experience a blog with a PR 4 versus a blog with a PR 2 will get far more visitor comments.
    These comments drive return visitors and interaction. There’s a whole lot more to the entire Pagerank debate.
    Including how Google will take Pagerank and evolve it to suit their needs as a corporation to maximize profits. Think… phasing out the weight of paid links, to encourage more Adwords spending…

  3. I’m not really arguing with the legitimacy of pagerank as a broad-stroke, rough estimator of site popularity. What I take issue with above is the writer’s ignorant comparison of pagerank TO SEO, as if they are separate strategies, which they are not.

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