Saturday, February 2, 2008

A Very Unusual Pagerank Update

Last week, many webmasters noticed that Google’s public pagerank system (a rough measure of each site’s importance in the search engine) was displaying higher than expected rankings for some sites.

Many virtually unlinked and unheard of sites rose significantly on the scale, without any official explanation from the search giant. Two of my sites that were affected were and Both were ranked 0 out of 10 before the change, but rose to PR6 afterwards. Other sites have been known to rise as high as PR8 as a result of this update.
The strange thing is that this was not a normal update, as it only made a difference to newly created PR0 websites, and didn’t affect most internal pages (at least in my experence). Reaction from other webmasters can be found at this SitePoint forum thread.
Many webmasters believe that this unusual update could further devalue the meaning of PR (which is meaningless enough already for SEO purposes), but I am currently mulling a theory that Google could have a different opinion altogether.

I find it somewhat unlikely that the world’s biggest search engine would deliberately destroy the entire PR system. Rough and inaccurate as it is, the PR scale is the only way to get a simple reading of a site’s backlink weight, directly from Google.
Instead, my theory is that Google is turning PR itself into an elaborate experiment. They could be attempting to make it a more accurate measure of a site’s value, updated on a frequent, or even constant basis. Such a figure can’t be expected to be totally accurate right away, but if Google is trying to introduce such an improvement, I commend them for it.
Now, I must warn you, this is just a theory, and I make no guarantees that it is correct, but it’s quite a possible explanation in my opinion. Whether Google has success in implementing it is another matter altogether. Share/Bookmark