Google PageRank Dropped? No Reason to Worry

Written by Amit Agarwal on Oct 8, 2008

The most recent PageRank update sparked some intense discussion in the blogosphere with people like Steve Rubel, John Battelle, Danny Sullivan and Dave McClure joining the conversation.

"Judge me by PageRank" Credit: Blaugh

Danny Sullivan was surprised when the Google PageRank of SEL dropped from 7 to 6 – "Not that it matters, but then again, there’s no good reason for that to have happened." Matt Cutts then pointed to this article by Udi Manber which suggests that Google "made significant changes to the PageRank algorithm in January" and that may have caused the dip in PageRank.

John Battelle asked Google to either completely drop PageRank or "give us more granularity" so that users know how how that PageRank data is used to "determine value in the Google economy."

Dave McClure made a very intelligent comment saying "if PageRank doesn’t matter, then why is it displayed so prominently in the toolbar?" His reasoning is that if PageRank doesn’t matter, completely remove it from the toolbar but if it matters, then Google should offer more explanation.

Steve sought of agrees that Google PageRank, though imperfect, is still a measure of "online influence" as "it judges you based on links from all kinds of sources, not just people who live in the same fish tank.. Create high quality content that earns links from other quality sources and, over time, your Google Page Rank grows as does your influence and responsibility."

Finally, Vanessa Fox has jumped in with some great insights. She is an ex-Googler and best known for creating the Google Webmaster Central – a tool that has proved so useful for web publishers.

Vanessa says that Google maintains two different PageRanks – one is internal that is computed regularly while the one you see on Google toolbars is the external PageRank that is updated infrequently. So if your current PR is displayed as 5, the actual PR may be 2 or even 7 and you’ll only know this during the next PageRank update cycle.

Vanessa points to a comment by Matt Cutts where he says that PageRank is just one of the 200+ signals Google uses to determine the ranking of a web page in search results.

The PageRank of my Blogger Blog dropped from 7 to 6 in this update but it is something that really doesn’t matter. To quote Vanessa again: "If there’s one thing that PageRank is not, it’s the determination of your Google footprint."

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