Matt Cutts: Google Probably Won’t Call PageRank Something Else

PageRank is Still Obsessed Over Too Much

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Update: Matt Cutts says they probably won’t rename PageRank. However, he agrees with Peter Norvig that people obsess about it too much.

Original article: Last year, Google quietly got rid of PageRank in Webmaster Tools. Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Susan Moskwa had said, "We’ve been telling people for a long time that they shouldn’t focus on PageRank so much; many site owners seem to think it’s the most important metric for them to track, which is simply not true. We removed it because we felt it was silly to tell people not to think about it, but then to show them the data, implying that they should look at it."

Note: Watch our exclusive interview with Google’s Matt Cutts at 1pm Pacific/4pm Eastern at live.webpronews.com.

A lot of people wondered why Google would keep PageRank in the Google Toolbar, where it still sits to this day. Search enthusiast Barry Schwartz of Rusty Brick speculated that Google would not want to remove it because PageRank is "too much of their branding." After some words from Google’s Director of Research, Peter Norvig today, however, I’m not so sure that’s the case.

Note: Watch Norvig’s keynote address here (or view our liveblog of the event), and our exclusive interviw with him here:

Norvig said at SMX today that PageRank is still one thing that is "overhyped," and that Google never felt that it was such a big factor. They have always looked at all available data, combining every available signal and tiring to figure out the best way to combine them.

Norvig also said that it may be time for some re-branding with regard to PageRank. There may be a different term in the pipeline. "There’s a technical formula that’s PageRank, which is the way of judging the links between pages, and that’s just one component of how we rank the pages and you get your final search results. There’s all these other things that come in, but they don’t have a catchy name. So some people apply PageRank to mean all the components that give you the final ranking, and that’s where we get confused. So probably we need some other term for that…We’ll get some marketing guys on it."

I don’t know how seriously the company is considering this, as Norvig seems to simply be speaking off the cuff, but given the company’s repeated emphasis on a lack of emphasis on PageRank, it would not be surprising to see them change the name. However, the problem with that could be, that these same PR-obsessed webmasters would just become obsessed with the re-branded term.

WebProNews will be doing a live interview with Google’s Matt Cutts today at 1pm Pacific/4pm Eastern at live.webpronews.com. Perhaps he will offer his thoughts on the subject.

Do you think PageRank needs a different name? What would you call it? Give your suggestions here.

Matt Cutts: Google Probably Won’t Call PageRank Something Else
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  • http://www.superfloorcoat.com/mono-coat-TS-200.asp Concrete Floor Coatings

    Maybe looking harder at the actual traffic of a website as part of the algorithm in determining a page rank. In the paint industry we hardly look at the PR, mostly concern with the traffic.

  • http://www.sitebyjames.com/ James

    How about link equity value?

    That would give people a little more reason to focus on what matters. Networks.

    How about introducing terms like Spit B Trees, Negative Associations, and Lack of Deeper meaning, or Lack of The Whos, The Wheres, The Whats and the Whys… Crawl Priorities, Regional Saturations, Lexical Depth…

    Is any of this good?

  • http://www.srinetlanka.co.cc Guest

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  • http://www.kruse.co.uk/ Google Consultant

    How about calling it overall Page Worth? Or Page Value? Essentially, then, the same, but different?


  • http://www.easywebsites.ky Fevi

    They should start calling it “LINK METER” instead so that people dont get confused with the very important, yet umimportant PR.

    The idea is to keep it simple – essentially thats what PR is – a value of the page with regards to relevant links pointing to it and leaving it, thus calling it ‘link meter’ would still add credence to its value but not too much importance.

    But because its called Page rank (after Larry Page) and not because of THE page – most website owners get confused when you try to explain how unimportant PR is.

  • http://www.sterlingleather.com/noconaboots.html nocona boots

    Yes, Page Rank is “too much of their branding” and so many people consider is as the value addition for getting the backlinks… Let us see what Matt Cutts says on this!!!! It will be interesting!!!!

  • http://www.dgswilson.com Doug Wilson

    If page rank is one of many components to websites getting to number one in search, and people and google like having the “page rank thing”, maybe it would make sense to make page rank a real reflection of all those components. That would make it more meaningful and we could keep the same name.

  • http://blogswithwings.com/ Blog Angel a.k.a. Joella

    I know it’s not suppose to count for much. But I still can’t help checking my page rank on a regular basis. It’s a quick easy way to see if Google has responded favorably to my blog.

    I guess I’m just lazy. It’s harder to go check all the other variables involved.

    • http://www.googleadwordsexpert.net Googl Adwords Expert

      You can install google toolbar. But I use http://www.quirk.biz/searchstatus/.

  • http://justtechnika.com subash

    I think google should not just rename page rank but delete that damn page rank stuff completely.

  • http://www.simple-elegant-websites.com/ Oiseaux

    Call it what you will but it still lends credibility to those site which even have a hint of green

  • http://www.maps4pets.com/ maps4pets

    As we all know SERP’s is far more important than PagRank; however I agree with James and would say that maybe a networking health score indicator would be a more favourable angle to pitch.

    We had a problem with the volume on your video; you might want to crank it up a bit if you can.

  • http://texasseo.com Kevin Lam

    Perhaps it’s time webmasters actually listen and comprehend that PR is not a huge factor in ranking higher in the SERPs. I’m glad to hear of this and look forward to the change.

  • vybixa

    For my two-pence, Google Algorithm Rank (GAR) would be a more suitable description of Page Rank.

    This is one of the convoluted definitions conjured up by the immense amount of data that is availed by the web, that even the leading players on the web cannot come up with an appropriate definition. As correctly pointed out by Google themselves, Page Rank is NOT that important (and believe them, it is should not be important at all!). But I suppose it would be corporate suicide to go the full mile and say “Page Rank is conceptually just a gimmick that has successfully hoodwinked itself into an overwhelming success.”

  • http://www.conference-coordinator.com Conference Coordinator

    If it is just one of the many algorithms and is being over rated and used incorrectly to a degree then it really makes no difference as to what it is called in my opinion.

  • http://www.johnpaulaguiar.com John Paul Aguiar

    This is abig change. Maybe a good one, siunce now people won’t be so stuck on PR. Focus more on a sites traffic to wether you want to share links or GP.

  • http://www.caremanage.com Marty

    How about…”Digital Mindshare”

    • WareZwolF

      Digital MindF_ck …..

  • http://www.ph-creative.com matt

    Did anyone notice the way the camera zoomed in on the premier sponsor? It is Bing .

  • http://www.megamobilecontent.com swingerman

    My experience is that page-rank is only one factor. It helps google decide whitch page is more important than the other.
    However ther are more factors that Google takes into consideration and every webmaster should think of:

    1. Markup errors. Google wants to show best matches in best quality for it’s users.

    2. Server response time and server scalability.
    Google itself fast and users like this. Google therefore checks the response time of your site and if it trends to respond slower than 1 sec Google assumes that your sites server has problems serving this traffic and Google starts to send less visitors. This is independent from page-rank, but still loosing visitors with a slow server or unoptimized site if another site with similar or same content performs better. I had this issue myself too. Better to avoid this, because after fixing this issue it takes about 90 days until google starts to send more visitors again.

    3. Page render/load time.
    This is a new factor. Google wants fill the SERP with pages which render fast. Nobody likes to wait for a slow loading page. Google SERP used to load in about 1 sec. The average good loading/rendering time is about 3 secs. If your site loads slower you can again loose visitors if another site with similar content loads faster.

    And all of this can be tracked with Google Webmaster Tools the most important tool to see what Google wants to tell you….

    • vybixa

      Singerman – “It helps google decide whitch page is more important than the other.”
      That is Google’s opinion which it need not publicise since they do not reveal the algorithm applied to reach that opinion.

      I have two sites that I maintain for a client that recieve, on average, a similar amount of traffic, and are of similar age. Both sites, ultimately, offer a software utility for download (which I defined as the conversion goal).

      Below is a sample of the convoluted PR score in a certain period.
      Site A – Visits: 2465 Conversions: 1986 Google PR: 3
      Site B – Visits: 6971 Conversions: 5526 Google PR: 1

      How on earth these ranks were reached is beyond me, in fact it boggles my mind and goes a long way in re-emphasising Googles own admission that PR is actually a gimmick that went too far.

      • http://www.megamobilecontent.com swingerman

        Dear Vybixa,

        You forgot one very important thing. Google tracks user behavior, because that is what really shows how a page is important or relevant. I’m sure that you have a Google Analytics account. Google uses the same data to find out how important was the actual page for the user. Everything is about the user, the goal is to provide the user the most relevant search results.

        Remember not Google decides the page-rank, the user decides everything.

        • vybixa

          Like I pointed out in my last repose, one of the (two) pages that I listed recieved more tham double the the hits (and “my” conversion goals) than the other in a certain period but was still ranked lower than the page that recieved less visits (and the data I provided is largely off Google Analytics!). I say largely because analytics “sometimes” records other crawlers as visits, so I have to remove these frommy reports (and the data above).

          Without digressing too much, case in hand is that the conceptual relevance of PageRank as it is at the moment, with all the results’ spam et al, is nil (and that is true to its definition too). Thus I am not surprised (and neither should you or any webmaster who gives it a second thought) that noises from within the top heirachy in Google are discouraging the reliance / use / dependence …. on / of …. PageRank in the manner they have.

          For the last feet of my journey, I would say (even repeat) PageRank in its current form is comparable to a succesful fraudulent undertaking that is legitimised (even legalised) by the sheer number of individuals that have “adopted” it in someshape or form.

  • WareZwolF

    Sounds like we’re getting mentally lubed for the skull F-ing we are about to receive from Google. So how much is it going to cost me to be on page one after you start calling it ??? . Will it be easier for you to dismiss our complaints if it were changed to a different stupid name?

  • http://vepzone.es.tl/ Efr

    Words and more words about the value of Google PageRank., While not entirely removed and no longer present in your brand and bars will always be lies.

  • http://www.rimpe.net Rimpe

    GR sounds good :) Must be GR (Google Rank) or GPR (Google Page Rank).

  • http://www.coffeebreakgames.net Robert

    Regardless of what they call it, something in search engines ranks your page and determines whether it appears on the first page of listings above the fold for a particular search or lost in the wilderness of back listings. Not to mention thousands of directories using PR as the only criteria to sort their listings within categories. Removing PR would turn those directories into hash, perhaps an intended result?

  • http://mysite.verizon.net/res6tc9w/ Guest

    Page ranking is some thing that should stay ? Why you asl ? well In the over view of web workings
    It is a guide to how well your page is doing ! If you take this away then how are we to know how well our pages are doing ?
    So I have a web page I worked really hard to get to # one place with all my Web Biz and now all the sudden you want to change in Mid stream ?
    I dont think so this looks like a Lib Democrat thing to me , There one way one day then all at once BOOM they want to change every thing ?
    What a bunch of crap ! Pick some thing and stick with it , Is that too hard to do ?
    Al so have you ever gone to Wal Mart ? They move things all the time you go in one week and find
    what you looking for, Then two weeks later you go in and they have moved every thing in the store ,That makes me mad how about you ?
    If you want to keep people comming back, Be Constant with what you do and the web pages will grow !
    Farmers they go out and plant a Crop ! Two weeks later they dont go out and PLOW it up do they ?

  • http://www.seonoobie.com Maciej @ SEO Noobie

    I am actually happy to see this number go away. I think to many people obsess over increasing and manipulating this number and all it really leads to is just more spam in the search results. I think they should restructure the name so that people’s online marketing actions and efforts change.

  • http://www.contract-mobile-phones.org Kamal Hussain

    I absolutely agree. Many webmasters including myself have put too-much energy on page ranks. As Susan Moskwa from Google clearly states in the above article to focus on page rank alone will take you website no-where in terms of ranking top 10 in Google for keywords.

  • http://www.business1directory.com business1directory

    I have read the article about Google Page rank I just cannot get my head round why they would want to get rid of this bit of really helpful software. I use it every day. Also all the SEO companies out there they use is this as a marketing tool when they try and hook you in!!!!



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  • http://www.happyendingonline Vibrators and Bullets

    Different name same obsession.

  • http://www.neutrinobomb.com Guest

    Call is X FACTOR which by itself is of termendous value since its used in Hollywood and entertainment industry. X gives the adutl touch and most folks on the net are not interested in science but sex. X could well mean sex for such people. So I think X FACTOR might be considered. Bing has research and has added x to rank viz xrank.

  • http://jessywu.net Jessy

    I think webmasters who were obsessed w/ page rank will not simply stop doing so. Unless google decide to completly delete PR and stop showing that green bar, otherwise simply renaming it ain’t gonna solve the problem.

  • http://roza29.blogspot.com rozani

    SEO is very helpful to provide the best development for the blog because this is the most effective way to increase pagerank

  • http://bisnis-uang-online-maker.blogspot.com/ sood

    for make google page range our site, must be good content, if many people see our site maybe Page range in google.com very high.

  • http://rankdirectory.org/ angela bennett

    There is so much information
    I learned a lot.

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