Google PageRank Myths

The Facts on 3 Big Myths about Google PageRank

What you need to know about PageRank to make smart SEO decisions

Google’s PageRank has been a part of the SEO world for some time now, but it’s still confusing for many. It’s one of those things that has a lot of misconceptions attached to it. Kind of like the belief that Shia Lebouf is a box office guarantee, even though nobody went to see ‘Transformers’ because ‘Shia really brings the drama’. So what’s the real story on Google’s PageRank? Read on and find out.

1. MYTH: ‘A PageRank 3 page will always outrank a PageRank 2 page in Google’s results.’

PageRank doesn’t mean you’ll rank higher for any one keyphrase over pages with a lower PageRank. It’s just now how it works. If you check the PR of the 1st page for any Google results, you’ll find that it has nothing to do with how well or how high it is ranked.

I’ve seen PageRank 1 pages get rankings far above PageRank 3 pages consistently. Your PageRank is something to keep an eye on, but it’s no guarantee of higher rankings. Just accept it. I have.

2. MYTH: ‘A PageRank drop is disastrous for your site.’

This is actually true in certain cases. If your PR drops to 0, you have a problem. A real problem. That means Google sees your page, or site, as without value or you might even be delisted from their index. Either way, you need to do some SEO repair work. Fast.

The Myth comes in when PR drops happen that are part of Google’s occasional leveling they do across the board. What usually occurs is a drop of 1 PR level for thousands, even millions of sites.

The idea is that, with the growth of the Web, the measurements for PR levels must be broadened as well. Therefore Google has in the past lowered a large number of PR 4 sites down to PR 3. They still have the same general value, but it was now labeled with a lower PR. This doesn’t happen often, but Google does do it.

Because of this, a PR drop of 1 level shouldn’t cause you to immediately panic. Look into the recent rumblings in the SEO world to see if there has been one of these general downgrades. It could save you some stress.

3. MYTH: ‘The PageRank you see in the Google Toolbar is your exact PR.’

The PageRank measurement in the Google Toolbar for your site, or anyone else’s, is only an approximation. You can take it as generally accurate, but not as your actual, real PR. Why is that? We haven’t been given an exact reason or cause of this from Google, but we can infer one possibility. Google has always played its cards close to its chest when it comes to anything involved in its ranking formula.

While PR is not directly tied to your rankings, the actual PR does measure the value of links from that page to other sites, or even other pages on that same site. That would give an illuminating glimpse into the ranking process for those other pages.

That’s something Google understandably doesn’t want to give anyone outside the company. So, like other aspects of ranking that Google does allow out, they only give a fuzzy picture for us to look at and wonder about. It’s part of the SEO game ­ digging down and trying to sift through the clues, however vague they may be.

Your SEO should pay attention to your PageRank and the PR of others as well. However, it is not a standard to go by that tells you how well your site is doing in Google’s rankings. It’s just one factor to consider, although an important one. Understanding the real implications of PR will give you a much clearer understanding of where your site is going and where to improve it.

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Article written by Jonathan Cook

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