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 Yeah, I know I want to base major marketing decisions on data that might be 180+ days out of date.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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