Matt Cutts: PageRank Not Popularity, Topical PageRank Helps & Authority On Subjects Coming

Apr 3, 2014 • 8:41 am | comments (9) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

matt cutts of googleIn yesterday's video from Google's Matt Cutts, Matt summarized three topics that aren't necessarily new but often confused by folks in the webmaster and SEO community.

In short, he said:

(1) PageRank is not a measure of popularity
(2) Topical PageRank may help determine if a specific site is a good match for a specific query
(3) Google has algorithm changes they are working on to improve their understanding of who is an authority

Here is the video:

On PageRank not being a measure of authority, that makes sense to us but not all. Matt's example is key, porn sites are way more popular than government sites in terms of traffic and usage. But no one links to porn sites and thus their PageRank is not as high as government sites, which everyone links to.

On topical PageRank, that also makes a lot of sense and most SEOs get this. This is why anchor text was/is so important and likely more important than raw links. I won't go into this more, I am tired.

Finally, Matt mentioned again, Google is working on an algorithm for the authority in the space.

Forum discussion at Google+ & Twitter.

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Alexander Hemedinger

04/03/2014 02:05 pm

Do you think social signals or referral traffic from social sites may help in "popularity" to be given an organic ranking to build authority?

Ashish Ahuja

04/03/2014 07:20 pm

This is what we had already talked about on our blog here that google takes into account both Domain Authority (aka pagerank) and Niche Authority (aka topical relevance) to rank a website.

Durant Imboden

04/03/2014 07:58 pm

Not if we're to believe this:

Alexander Hemedinger

04/03/2014 08:38 pm

Yea I know. Just I wish he would say social signals do help as a metric to get more visitors and popularity and others to link to it. I guess the backlink part would be the true SEO asset from social popularity from sharing. :P

Michael Rosenstein

04/04/2014 09:49 am

Quite interesting explanation by Matt Cutts. There are some sites in google where the site's appearance is too good but the page rank is low.

Faisal Jamal

04/04/2014 03:21 pm

means that "true authority" plus "simple popularity" both should be implemented together to get your site at the top of Google rank

John Britsios

04/04/2014 07:30 pm

Is Matt saying that getting PageRank from inorganic/unnatural or low value links links they did not catch that can boost the reputation of a web site? And what is with the example with the exact match keyphrase "Matt Cutts"? Are we going back to the exact match keyphrases? Or am I confused?

John Britsios

04/04/2014 07:39 pm

What is the link you added at the end of your comment? Is it linking to a related article you or a guest blogger wrote? I am just asking, because I do not click on links in comments because in most cases they are spam attempts.

Gracious Store

04/08/2014 02:29 am

So is Matta saying that Google page rank is based on authority not on popularity. And that the measure of that authority is based on the links to the site? So in a nutshell social network popularity will not factor into ranking of sites

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