Why Google PageRank Is a Crock of Poo

by Chris Horton

It’s impossible to be involved in anything web related and not be aware of the dreaded Google PageRank.  Google PageRank is a ranking from 0 to 10 that Google gives to all web pages based on their authoritative relevance to any given topic. There are a host of variables which is primarily inbound links to the page from other authoritative sites, relevancy, content, and all wrapped in a much more complicated mathematical procedure.

To oversimplify it, a page with a PageRank of zero essentially means that the page doesn’t have any authority on the given topic and little to no community support via inbound links.  Alternately, a page with a PageRank of 10 means that there is no higher authoritative page on the subject according to Google.  Of the top 100 visited websites in the WORLD according to Alexa, only 4 received a perfect 10 rating.  This is where the poo starts.  There is so much wrong with this ranking consideration that it’s almost insulting.    So without further ado, I’m going to cover the top 5 reasons why Google PageRank is nothing to lose sleep over without getting too technical and keeping it as non-geekspeak as possible.  It’s why you love us.

  • A Perfect 10

    As of today, there are less than 150 web pages that carry the perfect PageRank score of 10.  You heard right. Out of the billions of web pages on the web, only 148 are blessed.  Ready to be ticked? Here’s the rundown of who they are: Google – 44 pages with a pagerank of 10
    – 55 pages with a pagerank of 10
    – 22 pages with a pagerank of 10
    Government sites
    – 9 pages with a pagerank of 10
    WWW Consortium
    – 3 pages with a pagerank of 10
    – 3 pages with a pagerank of 10
    – 2 pages with a pagerank of 10
    – 2 pages with a pagerank of 10 (Microsoft only has 2? Really?)

    And who are the rest of the “blessed ones”?

    – Really?
    Keio University in Japan
    – No other universities in the WORLD made the list. Sorry Princeton, Yale, Harvard.  Keio wins this round.
    – guh?
    – A site that I have yet to be able to get pulled up.

  • Authoritative to Who?

    If there was legitimacy to the PageRank ranking in regards to authority and relevancy, it would change dependent on what the person searched for.  On our site here, Google recently demoted our site from a PageRank of 4 down to a PageRank of 1 on our main home page.  A site that has been online for over 8 years and has offered a high level of service and knowledge to our clients.  We are not the authoritative site for “SEO” or “web design” by any stretch, so that may seem warranted, but if someone searched for “Horton Web Design”, there is no higher authority than us. It is who we are. The same if someone searched for NASA or HP.  When someone searches for HP, the HP website IS Hewlett Packard.  Granted it’s a vague search term, but there is no other and there are millions of links pointing to HP domain.  Their PageRank? 7.

  • Competition Breeds….a bad PageRank

    The fact that, according to Google, Microsoft only has 2 pages that are authoritative is VERY suspect. And all of the sites that operate in a competitive position to Google (no matter how big) are mysteriously absent from the perfect 10 list. Google dabbled in voice over IP communications. Funny that big players like Vonage and Skype are nowhere to be found. Google has long been eyeballing auctions and surprise, Ebay is absent. Google Knol was Google’s failed attempt at stealing away Wikipedia’s thunder. Yep, they’re not there either.  So why is Apple so prevalent on the top 10 list?  I’ll let you conspiracy theorists have at that one, but Apple doesn’t do search. …Bing, cough, sniff.

  • No affect on ranking

    There are millions of websites online with a PageRank of zero that rank at the top of the Google SERP’s for many competitive keywords. Yet another reason to not care.

  • The ability to pass the love

    The fact that a website with a PageRank of 10 could pass on Pagerank to another website by simply putting a link and almost immediately pass PageRank juice only further proves the lack of worth in PageRank. Just because a webmaster says that another website is important doesn’t mean that it is. That’s handing off a lot of power to someone that Google probably hasn’t ever even met.  And if 100 websites with a PageRank of 7 link to some new site, would that site only be able to attain the highest PageRank of 7?  Nope.  Not according to the algorithm. That website can surpass the PageRank of it’s supporters.

Long story short, what a strange, twisted, complicated (and very fishy) mess.

The point of it all is simply to say that PageRank has no bearing on your websites online success. Don’t get stressed out by it because even if your site ends up with a very bad ranking, there’s nothing you can do until months later when they eventually do updates.  And at that point, you’re simply praying that you’ve managed to fix whatever messed you up in the first place.  Just focus on being relevant because authority is in the glass eye of the beholder. The deformed, scarred, scratched up, chipped glass eye of the beholder.