Posts relating to Google PageRank data are a dime a dozen. Well all know that.
However, it’s disturbing to see some of the more reputable voices in the industry misunderstanding some of the basic tenets surrounding Google’s little green bar.
For example, a recent post at Search Engine Roundtable referencing Google’s most recent directory PageRank update failed to recognize that the reason for discrepancies between the PR shown in the Google Directory and the PR shown in the Google Toolbar is that directory PR works on an eight-point scale while Toolbar PR works on a 11-point scale.
In layman’s terms, the directory PR is measured on a scale from 0 to 8 while the toolbar’s PR is measured from 0-10. Don’t believe me? Here are a couple of resources that spell it out quite lucidly:
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank (about 2/3 of the way down the page)
I thought this was common knowledge, but based on the lack of rebuttal to posts such as the one on Search Engine Roundtable, I must have been wrong about that.
Fortunately, the folks over at seroundtable.com managed to redeem themselves in that very same post by clearly outlining the fact that “the PageRank values Google has internally are normally different from both the Directory and Toolbar PageRank values.” In layman’s terms, the PageRank that is visible to you and I is not what Google uses internally to determine search engine positions.
Again, I thought that this was more or less common knowledge, but the overabundance of posts inferring that toolbar PR values have some sort of direct impacts on SERPs makes me think twice about my assertion.
In essence, that little green bar that everyone seems to obsess over is little more than a gauge. Think of it as a speedometer that shows outdated information about how fast your website is going. Yet a certain percentage of the SEO community insists on believing that the little green bar is an actual representation of what Google thinks of your site’s backlink profile.
My suggestion to those of you who fall into this category is this: Take the time to read Google’s various patent applications, especially sections relating to internal (non-public, non-toolbar) PageRank, and use that information to inform your decision making process in terms of building true “PageRank” for the purposes of ranking for specific search phrases.
Unless you’re in the business of buying, selling, or trading links, the value of your visible PageRank score is worth little to nothing.