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PageRank Toolbar and What it Means

I recently read an interesting article discussing people’s obsession over Google’s PageRank, and how they try to increase their own PageRank. As we learned in class, PageRank is a useful algorithm that Google uses to measure the relevance of webpages when searching the Internet. What you may not know, however, is that Google has a PageRank ‘gauge’ on it’s toolbar. This little green bar shows users the approximate PageRank of the website on a scale from 0-10. It is not a completely accurate pageRank value that is actually used to produce search results; Instead, it is for  users to see  how worthwhile the page is for them.

However, many people are becoming obsessed with having a higher PageRank when they see theirs is not very high, and have a false impression of the little green bar at the top of their screen. Many have become involved in “the sale of PageRank,” also known as buying and selling text links to help a page’s authority score.  Google discourages this; according to the article, the company “penalized sites that sold links as well as those that bought them.” Google does not want people manipulating the search results, as it often fills the Internet with unnecessary clutter and spam.

However, the hysteria for a higher PageRank may be unnecessary. Many people are unaware that Google updates their page rank approximately every three months, so the Page Rank bar is not an up-to-date depiction of a website’s PageRank. Also, PageRank is assigned for each  individual page, not a website as a whole.

The article had examples of internet users’ false impression of Page Rank. For example, a blogger wrote:

“I woke up this morning to find I am down 200 subscribers and have lost 2 points of PageRank.”

The blogger believes that her loss of subscribes caused an immediate loss of pageRank, when this is not true at all. The toolbar does not show ‘live’ information, and will not immediately update itself based on any major changes. Also, as we learned in class, PageRank is based on links and how many pages point to other pages; so the loss of subscribes really would not have a dramatic affect on a website’s page rank.

So, don’t ever let that green bar in your toolbar bring you down; chances are, it hasn’t been updated in a while. If you try to increase your PageRank, you might just be hurting your webpage more instead.




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