What Kinds of Changes Were Made to Google PageRank?

Jul 28, 2008 • 10:19 am | comments (9) by twitter | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

In May, we blogged about Google VP of Engineering Udi Manber's post where he introduced search quality. In the same post, he says that Google has "made significant changes to the PageRank algorithm in January." Last week, Matt Cutts told us that we're in the midst of a PageRank update, and now forum members are wondering what kinds of changes were made to the PR algorithm. In a WebmasterWorld thread, Tedster says that he thinks that a few things may have been altered:

  1. Internal links and external links on the same page may not be splitting the PageRank vote equally.
  2. Depending on the location of the link, PR may be weighted differently.
  3. Multiple links to the same url from the same page may not each get the same piece of the PR vote.
  4. "Run-of-site" external links, like Blogrolls, may now have diminished PR.
  5. Links between domains that Google sees as "related" may have their PR significantly damped down. Possibly the same goes for sites that link to subdomains.

Are Ted's observations correct? Some of the ideas he proposed may be difficult to fathom. For example, subdomains that are not owned by the same user (think blogspot here) may interlink, and why shouldn't their PR count?

A lot of these ideas are simply that: ideas. They're based on conjecture and not on evidence. Some forum members find that it's important to actually test these theories before calling them as they seem to be.

Forum discussion continues at WebmasterWorld.

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Igor The Troll

07/28/2008 02:47 pm

I hate to say but we need to get beyond Google PR! To use the infamous metaphor, "It is not the size but the motion!" To me Google SERPs are only 10% of traffic at best, for my blog and forum! Most of my visitors come from Social Media networks and my followers recommending my sites! Can we think beyond Google, or not yet? Barry, come to Seesmic, will bring you new faces!

Brian Rants

07/28/2008 03:52 pm

Igor, I'm not sure all sites need to get beyond Google PageRank, or even Google itself. For companies like mine, a web design company, the CEO's, CIO's and Project Managers that are my target audience are largely NOT on social media networks. In many cases this is a generational issue. It is helpful to me to be able to focus heavily on Google SERP's. Our work has paid off and we get almost 60% of our traffic from Google organic results. We haven't had to do any marketing for around 8 months, and we have enough different kinds of keywords ranking that the fluctuations in Google's algorithm do not have dire consequences.

Eric Martindale

07/28/2008 05:27 pm

Yes, this update contains significant updates to the intelligence of Googlebot. A major overhaul was made to the way content is parsed and separated into blocks (sidebar, main content, comments, footer) - and each block may have more or less value based on the relevance of the element on the page to the specific keyword.

Michael Martinez

07/28/2008 06:57 pm

Three years ago the SEO community was obsessed with PageRank even though it had little to no direct impact on search results. Now that Google has passed through two re-engineering processes (Google 2.0 - Bigdaddy and Google 3.0 - Searchology/Universal Search) that emphasize PageRank, an increasing number of people in the SEO community are abandoning the PageRank wagon. Like it or not, Google doesn't assign PageRank to every page and it doesn't allow every link to pass PageRank. PageRank determines where your pages are indexed (Main Web Index or Supplemental Index) and how much of their content is indexed and how often your pages are crawled and re-indexed. It will probably be 2010 or 2011 before most SEOs understand these important issues about PageRank, and of course by then it may once again have become unimportant just as everyone starts saying, "Pay attention to PageRank!". In today's SEO industry you have to look at PageRank if you're optimizing for Google, but nore importantly you have to look at which way Google swings on PageRank so that you don't remain trapped in 2- or 3-year-old thinking.


07/29/2008 04:41 am

PageRank has been discussed for a long time, but it is strange people talk som little about keywords and key phrases. A good keyword strategy would likely give them a much better result than stearing at the PR tab in their browsers :-) My belive is that intelligent and up to date SEO will make the PR gome by itselves. I have several websites without PR at all that rank as nr one in google with millions of competitors. Quality is qing - not quantity ;-)


07/29/2008 06:02 am

We noticed a lot of big changes. In fact, we could find a lot of new authority sites come up and old authority sites fade away. The single best way to protect your rankings is still to build up your backlinks from the authority sites in your niche. The best way to find them is www.TrafficMarks.com (a free SEO tool)


07/29/2008 07:35 am

These are the most obvious steps Google is supposed to take to make SERP clear. I have no doubt about that. Best SEO tips today is to think like Google. Think about helping the visitors - simple rule but tough.

Eric Martindale

07/29/2008 01:03 pm

The best approach is to build a site that people want to link to <em>naturally</em> - you can't fool the machine for any extended period of time. Google knows what links are valuable and what links are not valuable, it's their job.

Justin Davy

07/29/2008 02:05 pm

I helped a friend with a site thats only 4 months old. The site ranks in the top 10 for very competitive terms while the homepage only has a PR of 2 while other sites with a higher PR rank well below it. It's all about the rankings so as long as I can make a site rank good I could care less what the little green bar is showing.

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