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Social Signals versus PageRank?


As we know, the most well-known of the concept of PageRank being used is in search engines, such as Google and Bing.  Other than PageRank, Google, for example, also uses tons of other methods to rank its search results from the top to the bottom. Google uses more than 200 different signals to decide how to rank the pages and how important the pages are for each customer, including PageRank, Anchor test, HTML little tag, and so on. Bing also uses a complex recipe of signals to determine signals. Marketers who know the mechanics can design websites with high PageRank by exploiting the algorithm as they can try repeatedly to get a higher authority score. Thus, the PageRank algorithm mentioned in class is just one way to determine the ranking of pages. We should have more than numbers that are linked to pages to rank all the pages in the Internet world.

Another rank that we can consider about is SocialRank. Instead of representing people by web pages, in the computation of SocialRank, we represent people by themselves. This can be extremely helpful for social media like Facebook and Twitter. As mentioned in the article, it is already being used in Twitter such that a person with higher authority score on Twitter would have a higher ranking on Google and Bing.  In my opinion, this method can be a very good try since it can largely avoid “cheating” in the “PageRank game”. With both the PageRank authority score and the SocialRank score, we can assume that the result on the top of Google search comes from a good website with a person with a good reputation. It can be especially useful and helpful when we search for some sensitive topics including religious and sexual contents. However, there are still difference between different search engines when they make use of the SocialRank scores. For example, Bing takes account of a person’s real identity, especially identities of those celebrities, while Google does not care about who the real person is behind the Internet. I think the good thing about knowing the identity of a person online is that we can check reputation and authority in a more accurate way, but also it is problematic since we should respect everyone’s privacy online and allow people to talk online anonymously.

Thus, combining both methods to rank the pages would definitely be a good way to improve the ranking system of searching engines.


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October 2017