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First of all, let’s clear an oft-confused difference between true PageRank (PR) and what most folks are familiar with: toolbar PageRank (tPR). It’s impossible...
May 1, 2008 at 11:38 am
Benn — I certainly want to read the comments surely about to pour in, as I haven’t the beginning of a clue to the answer. A friend of mine took it upon themselves yesterday to find out my PR and emailed me, saying it was a 5.
I don’t know whether to be happy, disappointed, or apathetic. Your answer is the one I’m most curious to read
May 1, 2008 at 11:52 am
I have no idea if Google Page Rank matters or not. But I do know that if it does matter, then Maxsell Real Estate is ahead of our local competition… just another difference maker!
May 1, 2008 at 12:26 pm
Yes it matters.
Daniel Rothamel, The Real Estate Zebra
May 1, 2008 at 1:28 pm
Well, it certainly matters if you want to rank high in Google SERPs. If you would rather rank higher in Yahoo!, then, not so much.
In some ways, it is kinda sad that it matters at all. Here we are, perfectly smart, rational, human beings trying desperately to achieve a higher number from an algorithm. An ALGORITHM, people!
I watched an interesting presentation by Jason Calacanis, founder of Mahalo (a human-based search engine) that made me think about that.
I guess the short answer is– YES, it does matter. The apostrophe is that I wish it didn’t.
May 1, 2008 at 1:51 pm
Great question Benn. I know you know the answer, but great to have discussion anyways….PageRank is a simple way for people to quantify the progress they are making in marketing their website and to assess some sort of value to their site. Other metrics might include number of incoming links or perhaps pages indexed, but these can vary day by day and don’t articulate an overall “strength” or “reach” as simple as a 1 to 10 point scale and your average person probably doesn’t know how to look up incoming links or pages indexed anyways. PageRank is neat, tidy, and easy to understand.
In light of the learning curve involved in understanding SEO, SEM, analytics, search engine rankings, algorithms, etc., PageRank gives anybody, even those with little to no internet experience a simple means to rank their website, even if ultimately, it may not hold much meaning.
On a side note, a very commonly overlooked aspect of PageRank is that just because your home page has a PR4, that does not mean your entire website is PR4. Depending on your interlinking architecture, among other factors, it is likely that other pages on your site are lower then your home page in PR and may actually have a PR of 0 or no PR at all as they may not be indexed. Which brings up another important aspect of PageRank, the ability to assess the authority of specific pages in a simple manner. This can be important on a page by page basis if you are marketing and trying to rank specific pages. So if you are not only building links to your homepage, but inner pages using “deeplinks”, then you have some sort of gauge to assess progress on a page by page basis in PageRank.
PageRank can also help you decide what type of interlinking structure you are going to use in your website and can allow you to concentrate your link juice to specific pages by sculpting your PageRank using nofollow tags to blog the flow of link juice to some pages, enabling it to be used elsewhere. One example would be to nofollow all links to your Contact Us page, a page you probably don’t care about getting high rankings for anyways so that this juice is used for pages that you do care about achieving high rankings with. PageRank helps users access an arbitrary measure through PageRank to make such decisions…..again, even if ultimately PageRank is not meaningful in search engine rankings, it is still a tool or guide in such decision making and provides webmasters with the ability to control the “power” or “linkjuice” that each page has and manipulate this power using “nofollow” if they decide this is a strategy in line with their goals.
While PageRank doesn’t necessarily equate to high rankings (quality content will tend to rank higher then lower quality content from a site with a higher PR, part of the reason Google is so good, it realizes the end user benefits by being given the highest quality content possible.), at the end of the day, a rising tide lifts all ships, so if you are marketing your site, building quality content and engaging in ethical link building practices, I tend to think that your PageRank is going to increase, but keep in mind, PageRank is a LAGGING INDICATOR, so you will be likely be having success before you see your PageRank increase and it is unlikely that the day your PageRank updates and you are now at a higher PR, you will suddenly experience higher rankings……..
May 1, 2008 at 2:04 pm
Personally, I don’t see the significance in the little green bar that denotes Page Rank. For one thing, it’s a one time look at PR. Right *now* it’s current, but 2 months from now it won’t be. If it updated in real time, it might be a better indicator. Also, my understanding is if a page is showing PR5, it could be 5.00 to 5.999. Is there that much difference between a 5.999 and a 6.000? I dunno… doesn’t seem like it.
*Generally* speaking, all else being equal a page with higher PR will rank in a search better than a page with a lower PR. But there are countless examples of pages with lower PR ranking higher.
PR is not well understood by many (present company included) but boy howdy it sure generates a lot of buzz when it updates!
Does it matter? Not to sound Clintonian, but I guess it depends on what your definition of “matter” is.
Is a PR5 blog “better” than a PR4 blog? Depends on your definition of “better”. In my world, I base my thoughts on what I like and don’t like on the content, not the length of a green bar in a button on my toolbar.
Would I like to have a PR of 10? Sure. Why not. Do I need a higher PR? I don’t think so.
May 1, 2008 at 3:10 pm
I’ll admit, I’m not Mary McKnight, but I do have some experience on SEO/SEM . During a break in college several years ago, I decided to devote some time testing some tactics against Google. I created a web site targeting “underwater photography” that had no pictures. By the end of 10 days, it ranked #1. It stayed there without any additional work for well over 6 months. THERE WERE NO PICTURES. That site maintained a PR of zero, despite two updates during that time. My current site is apparently a PR 4 due to the last update, but it still isn’t in the top 10 for my selected search terms and sites that haven’t been updated in over a year are ranked above me with similar (+/- 1) PR. So I have seen too many instances where PR has nothing to do with SERPs or relevance, so I don’t really care anymore, other than for bragging rights.
(again, I’m not Mary and will never pretend to be)
May 1, 2008 at 3:17 pm
I hate this question. Yes page rank matters and no it doesn’t.
May 1, 2008 at 3:46 pm
I am certainly no expert, but I think it matters…to a point. Page rank is a very general indicator of how strong a site is. However PR can be faked and manipulated which dilutes its usefulness. I look at it, but I don’t care as long as I rank in the SERPs.
Robert D. Ashby
May 1, 2008 at 4:13 pm
I don’t hink Pagerank matters as much as people may think, but I am not an expert on the subject. My understanding is that it shows the chances of someone landing on your page, but has no real effect on SEO. My company’s site ranks #12 in “florida mortgage” and only has a PR3. My mortgage market commentary blog ranks #18 for the same search and it has a PR4.
May 1, 2008 at 4:27 pm
In general, I say, yes, page rank matters. The question that must also be asked, however, is “to whom?” If a business relies only on Google to get people to a site, then it certainly matters. That business probably doesn’t want to appear on the 21st page of search results. If a business has established branding and marketing that drives people to a site without solely relying on Google, then page rank may be less critical; look at The Gap store. If you google “jeans”, Gap’s website is not on the first page. But most people already know about the Gap and their product line.
May 1, 2008 at 6:36 pm
I know sites that rank on page 1 for their search terms on google, with a PR of zero. I own one, and get business from it, via google.
May 1, 2008 at 6:51 pm
I think it is relevant, but mainly as a gauge to the quality of a referring site. So, if a link from here went to my own site, than it would help my own site.
The issue is, that I think it’s bad form to reference your site on a post or comment on someone else’s site. So, it’s not really relevant unless someone else references your site.
Did I talk in circles? Guess so. I don’t take a lot of stock in any of the rankings, because what’s cool today – doesn’t work tomorrow. I just participate to participate….
May 2, 2008 at 11:34 am
PR relative to your competition does matter. If you are in Boring, OR and you have a PR 1 website, and your competition has a PR 0 website, you are probably pretty happy to be ahead of the competition. If you are in Happy, MO, it may take a PR 2 website to get ahead, while in Competition, MO perhaps it takes a PR 3 website.
PR is relative, but even better, it’s also local. Nice how it fits in well with real estate that way.
May 2, 2008 at 4:35 pm
How many people submit a search, then go to page 12 FIRST to view results? LOL
Of COURSE it matters. Whether it matters enough to you to do something about it is another story. There are plenty of successful agents out there “despite” poor rankings. Perhaps they’d have more business if they ranked higher on searches.
It sounds like sour grapes. Those that say it doesn’t matter wish they ranked higher. But you can have a great ranking and still flop as an agent, you have to have the basis of success, to turn the leads into business. THAT is success, not page rankings. High rankings just means you have more leads to turn in the first place, which makes your job easier in the long run, but it’s no measure of success by itself.
May 2, 2008 at 7:32 pm
It didn’t matter to me until a couple of months ago and I started (for the first time), trying to do something about it. My work obviously did not work because my page rank did not increase, but my photo blog (3 months old, with almost no text) got a 5!! go figure
Eric- New Orleans Condos and Lofts
May 2, 2008 at 9:26 pm
Of course it matters, what you see may not be the real thing however. My site has be from 5 to 3 but still ranks well for my terms. It is much harder to get internal pages to rank higher.
May 2, 2008 at 9:49 pm
I’m sorry, PR does not 100% equal SERPs. If your site shows up where you want it to for the terms you’re targeting, PR means nothing. If you believe in long-tail search, PR matters even less.
May 2, 2008 at 9:58 pm
>If you believe in long-tail search, PR matters even less
Page rank is the long tail’s best friend. The depth of crawl on your site, and to those long tail pages, is directly related to PR.
May 2, 2008 at 10:35 pm
If you conducted a long-tail search for my targeted keywords a month and a half ago, it came up #1 with a page rank 0. Every single page/post I’ve written since the first week has been in Google within a day, so my depth of crawl is pretty good. So from my personal experience (on my primary site plus at least 20 I’ve developed in the last 10 or so years) PR does not directly impact SERPs, especially in the long tail. Just my personal experience though.
May 3, 2008 at 8:30 am
Nick, I would argue that you are making my point, but missing the point because you are looking at it from a different perspective.
>If you conducted a long-tail search for my targeted keywords a month and a half ago, it came up #1 with a page rank 0.
It’s not about the PR of the long tail page – it’s about the PR of the pages linking to it.
Google has said they punish sites for buying links for the purpose of increasing page rank. Matt Cutts has also discussed the use of “nofollow” for the purpose of “PR sculpting”. Of course page rank is important and it impacts rankings.
I’ll leave you with this, from Matt Cutts:
May 3, 2008 at 8:50 am
What is this “page rank” that everyone keeps talking about?
May 3, 2008 at 11:45 am
In AR terms, “google juice”.
May 4, 2008 at 8:03 am
Page rank seems to matter in that my experience is the higher I became, the better presence on google, generally speaking. Long tail is different in that its more specific.
May 8, 2008 at 8:44 am
… just one more frivolous thing to worry about. No, not really, but yes, kinda.
May 15, 2008 at 7:12 pm
I guess it matters. My site is new and every marketing company I talk to says that I need to be on the 1st page.
May 15, 2008 at 8:30 pm
Mary – Higher Google PR does not necessarily equate to higher search engine results placement.
May 15, 2008 at 8:40 pm
Bob >>It’s not about the PR of the long tail page – it’s about the PR of the pages linking to it.
That seems to be the key!
May 16, 2008 at 8:20 am
I think GPR is most relevant to those who watch green bars. I think it is meaningless to most of my readers.
Jennifer in Louisville
May 16, 2008 at 1:24 pm
If you are speaking from your own website’s perspective (and not the PR of incoming links from other sites to your site), PR only matters if you are using your site to pass juice to other sites (sister sites, friends, etc).
Where you show up in the search engine rankings is really what matters to most real estate agents.
June 5, 2008 at 4:47 pm
I’m not sure about the PR juice passing part, but search engine rankings are definitely what real estate agents want….to be found and that usually means the first page. Mariana, I know what you mean, yes one more thing to worrry about.