PageRank – The Holy Grail of the Lazy


Pagerank is a word that if whispered near a webmaster forum will have young webmasters quite literally wetting their pants. It is amazing that one little green bar can hold so much importance for some people.

But unfortunately, Pagerank discussion is now spreading through blogs and forums like a plague, and I think it is about time people started worrying more about their business, than a little green bar.

Why Are People Fascinated with Pagerank?

In a word… “laziness”. For years now, Pagerank has acted as a summary of a site’s strength. By looking at the green bar and using an idiot proof scale of 1 to 10, it has attracted idiots, and people who can’t be bothered to make informed decisions of their own.

If used as a VERY rough guide/spam prevention gimmick, then Pagerank has/had it’s place in the industry, but as soon as you start treating it as anything more than this, it becomes an issue. Throw text link ads into the mix, and you have a recipe for disaster.

My Pagerank Plague Metaphor

Here is how I see the Pagerank confusion… if a car is your website, and your speed is your success, then the Pagerank is the speedometer. It shows you how fast you are going, and gives an overview of how powerful the car is etc…

However, the webmaster industry see it like this:

The speedometer is what makes the car move.

Not the engine, the wheels etc… it is all about the speedometer.

According to their theories, if you remove the speedometer, then the car will stop. Whereas the reality is that the car will continue to run perfectly, but it won’t be as easy to measure it’s speed.

Luckily we can measure the speed in other ways, they may not be as idiot proof, but looking at web traffic, search engine ranks, revenue figures etc… are all far more accurate ways of measuring a site’s success/speed.

The bad news for all the webmasters is they will actually have to do some work before they go around judging people’s sites based on what the green bar whispers in their ear.

  • Ad Tracker

    Very well put, I like the analogy.

    The way Goog keeps trying to make ham-handed manual adjustments just seems to keep making PR more and more irrelevant.

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  • David Bowley

    One of the best posts I’ve seen on page rank for a while. There’s been the “we’re screwed” posts and then “don’t care” posts but this is probably one of a few that actually makes sense of the whole issue.

    My thoughts on this though are that a page rank like system is still the only viable way of mass automating the ranking of a site – whether people like TLA do or even need to do this I have no idea.

    But say if some teenage geeks get together and make a “page rank rival” so to speak that was more acurate – even that would eventually be subject to corruption by a large corporation in the same way page rank is. The creation would get sold on to the highest bidder and we would all be in the same situation again.

    But dealing with the present situation – what can be done to change the minds of the masses of people who swear by page rank? No matter how studious we can be as people who know the truth and research a site’s ranking ourselves, there will always be people out there unwilling to trade anything with us due to our ranking given to us by Google.

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  • Ben

    Another problem is that many advertisers potentially fall into the idiot category. They might see a site with a PR of 4 and decide it isn’t worth advertising on, despite the fact that it may have a key, niche audience of many thousands.

    In two weeks google took my PR from 5, down to 3, and has now left it at 4. I suspect this is due to some TLA’s I had there for a while (now gone for good). I am in the ‘no longer care’ camp, though it bother’s me slightly that advertisers who previously were attracted by my PR5 might now not bother considering throwing ad dollars at my site.

    If only they would all read this post of yours, that might not be an issue!

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  • Dean Hunt


    Yes, that is a problem, but i don’t think it will be an issue for long!

    At the moment it is the blogging community and SEO types that are fully aware of what is going on. In 3 months it is likely to be common knowledge, especially if Google starts de-listing sites.

    So hold on in there.

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  • perp

    Totally agree, it lost it’s real clout years ago, although I continue to be surprised by the amount of companies (read those that understand not a great deal!!!) that still value it!!!

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  • Hamoudi Assaf

    I totally agree…as a guy who has good contact in the internet underground, i can say that Pagerank is nothing to be worry about. However trustrank is what counts…Trustrank isnt an official google word…and it has no indicators like the PR area in the google toolbar.

    I have a huge casino project with a very smart programmer in Russia who knows so well how the Trustrank works , and he got us to rank for a huge casino keyword targetted to the middle east ( our casino is targetted to Arab Princes ) , and we’re making over $ 200 K / month just from doing correct SEO based on Trustrank and not Pagerank.

    So its all about the trustrank ;) , and the benjamins of course lol..

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  • Aid Renegade

    Great post! Simple & too the point. Try comparing it to Lawers case results & what’s actually right or wrong & you could go on for ever. Not trying to revive the ‘OJ’ thing with that comment…OOPPs! Dam it! Guesss I just did.

    Cheers for following me on Twitter. Your sites just got book marked for personal reference.

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  • Sharon Murphy

    I agree that there are sites with good page rank but alexa rating is not so good and either way it doesn’t
    matter because I think someone said it when they said the first page of google and development of the site is more important.I’ve got sites that have been making
    money on the first page of google and have very little
    page rank! so yeah it helps when your site is a couple of years old or so maybe!

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