Toolbar PageRank Without Page Being Indexed in Google?

Jan 30, 2007 • 11:08 am | comments (12) by twitter | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

Since the introduction of the Google Toolbar and subsequent addition of the PageRank display, there have been many discussions about its value. SEO specialists really began to focus on PageRank in 2003, almost to the point of obsession. Since, people have realized that PageRank is an important indicator of the probable weight that Google gives certain pages' inbound links, but not the do-all-end-all.

A recent thread at WebmasterWold forums poses an interesting dilemma for PageRank-watchers: what if there is toolbar PageRank displayed but the page does not appear to be in the Google index? Can this happen? According to a few posters, it has happened over the past few weeks. Does this mean that having PageRank does not necessarily mean the page can be ranked in Google results pages?

The thread has some interesting suggestions, including the idea that the page or site may be banned or penalized, as well as that it may just be a glitch. However, the thread "died" on January 16 with no further follow up. One particularly insightful comment is that:

It would seem like a strange tactic for Google to leave PageRank on a site that has been banned. PageRank is not only viewed by webmasters but a lot of web users and professionals judge their surfing experience on PageRank. (Ex. Where they buy from, trusted sources, etc.)

I personally never use PageRank to help me decide on the validity of a page, trusting instead the content and any linked sources within. But I had never thought of this, and it makes sense that some people would use it as a vote of confidence in the page, even though PageRank is certainly fairly easy to manipulate, which is why it is most likely not the major factor in search rankings.

Some people have chosen to almost completely ignore PageRank...I wonder if Rand still does a year later? Anyway, it would be nice to have an update on this question. Join the thread at WebmasterWorld forums.

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Comments:

Jeff

01/30/2007 04:55 pm

The sites we monitor that have been banned still have PR and have actually increased PR in the last update. This shows that the little green toolbar means nothing! If you want details email me over at webmaster world. I posted to the thread to update it. I have quite a few examples.

Chris Boggs

01/30/2007 05:14 pm

cool thanks Jeff!

Chris Beasley

01/30/2007 06:02 pm

This is yet another example with lack of experience results in unnecessary theorizing. Since it's launch many many years ago the Google Toolbar has always shown PageRank sometimes when sites are not yet in it's index. Normally it is merely a guess, and was yet another reason why the toolbar cannot be considered 100% accurate for PageRank measuring. I wrote an article about this for SitePoint in 2002. As per Jeff's comment. The sites of mine that have been banned show 0 PR. The sites of mine that merely are ranked very poorly or penalized (to the point of no traffic from Google - I'm sure its a -968 penalty, ya right) do have PageRank. It is important to remember that just because a site doesn't rank well, or at all, doesn't mean it is banned. I also find it interesting you claim PageRank, which is just a fancy term for link popularity, is not a major factor in search engines. Don't be such a joiner. I fully expect a post explaining how link popularity doesn't matter anymore, else you're just yet another clueless individual jumping on the "PageRank sucks" bandwagon without actually having any inkling of what PageRank actually is. PageRank is a value of the weight of your incoming links, and without weighty incoming links you cannot rank well on any even remotely competitive term. Weighty links themselves aren't good enough, you need good link context and on page optimization as well. Likewise good link context and on page optimization with no link weight gets you no where. You need all 3 things, all 3 things are major factors, and to say otherwise is ignorant.

Barry Schwartz

01/30/2007 06:09 pm

Chris Beasley are you in a bad mood? Chirs Boggs is just summarizing a thread.

Chris Boggs

01/30/2007 06:16 pm

seriously dude...sounds like someone likes making money off the belief that PageRank is all-powerful. As Barry said, I was summarizing the thread. I do believe PageRank has value, but it's the real PageRank that no one sees, not the toolbar PageRank which causes people to be duped into paying exhorbitant sums for a link from a page. Call me a joiner if you want, but I do believe I have been around long enough to have an opinion that matters, and that shouldn't be thrown under the bus. As I said, this is not something I have ever thought about before...so sue me.

Jeff

01/30/2007 09:08 pm

Big difference in behind the scenes PR and TBPR Honestly, TBPR is a way for google to catch the link spammers and the link buyers. As linkspam automation evolved over time, google had to do something about it. So the wieght of TBPR is a very small factor in overall ranking. Most sites that I have personally layed eyes on that have been penalized have a homepage TBPR of 4,5,6,7. Look at the serps, most of the good returns in google have a PR of 0,1,2,3,8,9,10

Chris Beasley

01/30/2007 11:08 pm

I don't sell any ebooks or overpriced conferences. Nor do I sell SEO services. A perceived importance of PageRank does not affect my bottom line at all. If you're just summarizing a thread, say you're summarizing a thread. Say "allegedly" say "as claimed by" say "according to." You do nothing of the sort, you say: "even though PageRank is certainly fairly easy to manipulate, which is why it is most likely not the major factor in search rankings. " You're parlaying it as fact, when it is nothing of the sort. Furthermore you're using a forum discussion thread from a place known for spawning inaccurate theories as the basis for your conclusion. Forum discussions are not proof of anything than the human need to believe in something, and attribute causation for everything that happens, and of course to overreact with frightening regularity. In anycase, it isn't directly related to SERP ranking, but for the PR naysayers out there Matt Cutts not 2 weeks ago <a href = "http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/infrastructure-status-january-2007/">said</a> that PageRank was the <i>main</i> factor in pulling a site out of the supplemental index. Horses mouth says it is important. The main issue is that too many people have been doing this for too little of time, they started SEO in the middle of the PageRank craze and do not remember a time before the Google toolbar and so what you have is a major knee jerk reaction. People tend to believe what they are first exposed to and first being exposed to this industry during say 2002 or 2003 probably ended up in many believing the PR hype. So when they realize the hype was wrong they pull a knee jerk reaction and decide everything about PR was wrong. This is not so, <a href = "http://www.websitepublisher.net/blog/2006/11/17/pagerank-an-essay/">I wrote</a> a very long blog post on this back in November, but to sum it up basically PageRank is what it has always been. An indicator of the total value of your incoming links. It was never the only portion of Google's algorithm, and it more or less has maintained the same level of importance since being released. It is only perception that has changed. So don't say PageRank is dead or PageRank doesn't matter just because a bunch of people who don't know any better are doing it. I read this blog because in general I expect a higher quality of information out of it, lately I haven't been getting it, and if you think I'm coming down hard it is probably because I expect better from you. If I wanted just a bunch of random conjecture I'd read WMW. If you are going to report on forum threads, fine, but stick to the reporting. Once you start editorializing you need to either provide evidence for your claims or mark them as theories, not fact. Maybe use your own forums more than WMW, you've got some smart people there. I got a link to <a href = "http://forums.seroundtable.com/showthread.php?t=718">this thread</a> once and while I didn't learn anything (other than all those posters agreed with advice I gave in the discussion that produced said link) I was certainly impressed with the quality of the discussion. Jeff said-- "So the wieght of TBPR is a very small factor in overall ranking. " I would say it has 0. The toolbar PR is just an arbritrary representation of your actual PR, why would google use it for anything? Jeff said- "Most sites that I have personally layed eyes on that have been penalized have a homepage TBPR of 4,5,6,7." Why wouldn't they? Most penalties are to direct SERP positions, not to incoming link weight values. Google will calculate your PR, your position, then add your penalty. The toolbar PR is raw, even Rel=follow links still add to it, it is calculated before any other filters or anything. So penalized sites will still have it. The only sites that won't are banned sites that are no longer in the index at all.

Barry Schwartz

01/30/2007 11:25 pm

Thank you for your comment. I am sure people will read it. Writing hundreds of articles per month, going deep on every time I mention PageRank, is not feasible. I will do my best to ensure articles are clear about that in the future.

Chris Boggs

01/31/2007 01:46 pm

um beasly I will write whatever I want. deal with it. feel free to stop reading ser for all I care. dont you have some MFAs to write?

Barry Schwartz

01/31/2007 01:55 pm

Guys, enough will the insults. Let's move on to http://www.seroundtable.com/archives/007336.html

Chris Boggs

01/31/2007 02:01 pm

Chris since you took the time to write your thoughts, I feel that I owe you a more thorough response: "even though PageRank is certainly fairly easy to manipulate, which is why it is most likely not the major factor in search rankings. " I would argue this is about as close to fact as one can get in this industry. Additionally, the majority of the moderators and long-time contributors at WMW have more SEO knowledge than you seem (and claim) to, so I would not be so fast to discount that forum as being "a place known for spawning inaccurate theories." Lastly, I think the funniest thing about this whole comment argument is that we essentially have the same POV on PageRank: "An indicator of the total value of your incoming links. It was never the only portion of Google's algorithm, and it more or less has maintained the same level of importance since being released." I think that if you did some research you would probably find that I have been saying that since way back...

aroop

01/07/2009 09:45 am

http://www.mahalo.com/FTP has a pagerank of 2. Forget search results its cache also does not exist.

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