8 reasons I don’t care about (toolbar) PageRank
Ian Lurie Jun 27 2011
Google rolled out their latest Toolbar PageRank update today.
Yawn. I said it was stupid last year. I’ll say it again this year.
Toolbar PageRank is 50% meaningless, 25% misleading, 20% useless and 5% worth tracking. It has slightly more impact than Google +1.
Here’s why I wouldn’t use it to measure page value if my life depended on it:
- Toolbar PageRank is not an accurate reflection of true PageRank. I wrote about this last year (see above). There’s even evidence that Google hand-edits toolbar PageRank. Think about that—somewhere in Mountain View, someone’s tweaking the little number you see in the Google toolbar. By hand. How accurate is that gonna be?
- It updates every six months. But Google updates true PageRank continuously. Yeah, I know I want to base major marketing decisions on data that might be 180+ days out of date. (that’s sarcasm)
- It’s also not the whole picture. Toolbar PageRank may reflect a site’s authority, if your authority hasn’t changed in 180 days, and if 100% of your authority is derived from links. But:
- It ignores visibility. Yay! Your homepage has a 6 PageRank! High fives! Too bad every product page on your site has a 0. Site visibility matters, and PageRank doesn’t provide much insight there.
- It ignores relevance. You might have an 8 PageRank, according to the almighty toolbar. If you never use the phrases people use to find your products, though, you’re still not going to get found.
- It ignores traffic. Which is kind of important.
- Toolbar PageRank appears to reduce otherwise intelligent marketers to babbling idiots. I’ve seen folks spend thousands of dollars per month on links or advertising on a site simply because ‘the site has a great PageRank’. I’ve also seen people buy sites based on toolbar PageRank. Not smart.
- It’s one metric. Even if toolbar PageRank had value, it’s just one metric. It’s one tiny piece of a far larger dataset that impacts your rankings, your site’s performance and your business success.
Don’t use PageRank to guide your strategy. It’s a huge mistake. If you’re a search nerd like me, have fun learning the formula. Use your knowledge to impress your friends.
Then learn to do real SEO, and real marketing: Look at the whole picture.
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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