Google PageRank is irrelevant
The purpose of this article is to explain the floors in the PageRank system, propose recommended solutions and to make Google search benefit small businesses as well as the multinational companies. (Published 16/10/2011).
Sections in this article
- Why PageRank is irrelevant
- PageRelevance™ implementation
- Anchor text is for accessibility not for page ranking
- A PageRelevance™ score from back links
- Underhand practices that need to be addressed now
- Buying links and friends
- Support my vision
Firstly, this is NOT a Google bashing document. Google provides some extremely useful free tools that we would all be lost without and they deserve credit for all that hard work.
This article will be frank and cut to the point as well as offering future algorithmic recommendations. The information in this article is purely based on facts, explaining the reason why the PageRank system is floored and why the big players will always stifle the small fish in Google’s search engine.
So, if you aren’t doing as well in Google’s search engine as you would like to, then have a read of this article. It will tell you why sites are in the position they are in and what needs to be done to level the playing field for smaller businesses, going forward.
PageRank is a number given to each page on a website to show its authority and so called “relevance”. An inbound link coming from a PageRank 6 page carries a lot more weight than a page with a PageRank of 2. So, depending on the inbound link, your destination page will then get some PageRank increase from the page that is linking to it. The PageRank increase is only nominal so the more links you have coming into one of your pages, the higher the PageRank will be over time.
Just so you know that the PageRank score will not get you to position 1 in the SERPs alone, so don’t spend your life getting this figure as high as possible.
Now here is where “relevancy” comes into it.
Did you know that http://mydomain.com could get a page rank of 4 from just 18 pages that have a PageRank of 4 linking to it?
Did you also know that if http://mydomain.com was selling dog food and all the links coming into the site were from sweet shops, that it would still get a PageRank with possibly a few more additional irrelevant inks? What is the connection between dog food and sweets, none! I’ve personally seen links from 100% irrelevant sites promote pages on another site that have no bidirectional relevancy whatsoever, increase the page’s ranking in the SERPs.
PageRank is floored and a move to PageRelevance™ is required, and Larry, you still get your name in their:-). So, this is my recommendation on why PageRank as a ranking factor has to be changed.
Now, in an ideal world, PageRank would be abolished for PageRelevance™ and here is how it would work.
Every webpage on the Internet would have a Zone Meta tag, possibly abolish the keywords tag to make way for this as keywords are not even used by Google anymore and Bing just use them to detect spammers. The Zone tag could even be included in the HTML 5 standard that will be released soon.
The tag would look something like this:
- <meta name="zone" content="web,seo,help,advice,linking" />
The tag would tell you about the relevancy of the page and you would only be permitted to have 5 Zone tags per page. These tags tell you what the page is all about and ultimately what it is “relevant to”.
When Google’s crawl bot comes along to scan the page, the Zone Meta tags are the first thing it will look at. The crawl bot will then look at the content on the page and work out if it is relevant to the Zone tags. This would be done by looking at keywords on the page and also by looking at a thesaurus for synonyms to further improve the relevancy score. A score for this on-page SEO criterion would then be accredited to the overall PageRelevance™ score for the webpage.
So ideally, 50% of the PageRelevance™ score would come from pure on-page SEO content. Targeted pages that are on topic are what people are looking for.
Another 25% of the PageRelevance™ score should come from elements such as:
- Domain age.
- Page speed.
- Mobile versions available.
- Other on-page SEO elements that aid usability like anchor text & alt tag usage.
The other 25% of the PageRelevance™ score will come from “relevant back links”, which I’ll cover later. At the moment far too much weighting goes towards PageRank from irrelevant back links. It’s not about link juice anymore but pure SEO Juice.
Anchor text is used on websites to improve usability and to allow screen readers to speak to visually impaired users to help navigate a website. So, why does anchor text in back links improve the rankings of webpages so much?
This is one that has raked my brains and here is why.
I have analysed two websites that rank for a quite competitive keyword in their industry. Both pages that are ranking highly for their keyword term have 1 and 0 references to the keyword on their pages respectively!
Do you know why these pages are ranking in almost 1st position in Google for their keyword terms? Well, it’s all down to the back links coming into the website with the keyword(s) in the anchor text. Argggghh! What is the point of on-page SEO!!!! And furthermore, the majority of the back links to the pages are useless, they have no relevance to the content on the site and the majority of the links would never be seen or clicked on. This is why PageRelevance™ has to be adopted and soon. On-page SEO has to take priority in the ranking of pages, not the thousands of irrelevant backlinks that I see day after day.
Websites on the internet will link to you, it’s only natural, well it should be. What I do disagree with though is irrelevant sites linking to others and improving the domain authority of the recipient’s site from a link that adds no value to both sites.
Some websites have thousands of irrelevant root domain links, and the bigger companies out there that know what they are doing when it comes to SEO, have thousands to spend on a back linking program. Little Jo’s PC Repair business on the high street only has £100 a month to spend on a back linking program. Guess who will always come out on top, providing they were using the same anchor text and similar high PageRank back linking sites?
So, the big fish will always get bigger whilst the little ones just look up feeling a little cheated. Is this any way to treat new small business start-ups? They don’t stand a chance of competing with the big players. SO, this is where my PageRelevance™ algorithm will come into its own.
A site of <=50 pages is entitled to 50 back links per page.
- All the links coming into the site have a relevancy score for their Zone.
- If your site is in the same Zone then bingo, you get a nice relevant link and a score that comes with it.
Now here’s the fair competitive part.
- We are not after thousands of links but 50 quality ones. So, if you had 100 links coming to your webpage, only 50 of the highest scoring links would be accredited to that page. The score would be based on 50 of the highest scoring links but given as an average score.
- Based on this, a small business could not come straight in overnight but at least they have something to aim for and in 6-12 months’ time. Once they have become established, they could be raking for a position that they deserve.
- Websites do grow over time and for every page added to the site over 50 pages, the site would be accredited with an additional back link slot per page, until a maximum of 100 links were achieved. No other links would be counted after that, just the top 100 links and an average score from the best links given to your webpage.
At the moment there is no reason for a small business to even bother trying to get a foothold in their search engine. The only way around it would be with a PPC campaign for guaranteed high sponsored links but for a high CPC too.
The implementation of PageRelevance™ would deter companies from cheating the system, decrease the size of the over inflated internet and promote better quality content and proper marketing as people will still be going after back links, but in the appropriate places. This would form a more ethical online activity called online marketing.
If anyone is wondering where the domain authority figure comes from then this would be the average of the best (50/100) PageRelevance™ back links coming to your site as a whole, inner pages included. Relevant people are linking to you so you deserve to be an authority in your field.
Until PageRelevance™ gets implemented, a few “dark” online activities need to be looked into and considered.
The internet is an over inflated place. How many websites do you think are on the Internet? As of December 2010, there were 255 million websites, an increase of 21.4 million, which was a 8.9% growth in websites that year alone (figures taken from http://royal.pingdom.com/2011/01/12/internet-2010-in-numbers/).
If the internet grows by my anticipated 10% this year, the total number of websites will be for 2011, 280.5 million in total. The question is though, how many of these are legitimate useful websites and how many have been created with the sole purpose of just providing links?
One of the biggest culprits for the influx of new websites is submission directories. These are places where you can put a link back to your site, usually your root domain for people to come and find you and give you some additional traffic. Haa, if only that was the case. People tend to use these sites to build their links up to their root domains to increase their domain authority.
These submission directories, more often than not, will also charge you to be placed on their site. And, within 6 months, some of these directories disappear, so does your link and your $2.99. Now links from submission directories is buying links to the extreme, but can Google really punish you for these links? Was it you that bought them? Or was it someone trying to sabotage your site? I would really like to know that Google does not penalise legitimate companies from the nefarious antics of a competitor.
You will also find many sites on the web that look very similar that all share the same blog comments. I’ve personally witnessed these types of sites, all looking the same apart from a few words in the header image. 1 link becomes many!
Sounds a bit strange doesn’t it but people like their sites to appear popular on the Internet, so they will buy Google +1 votes, Facebook likes, retweets and various other social media promotion techniques to try and get noticed.
This really does make a mockery of the Internet as you cannot believe anything you read anymore. If you are shopping for a new camera and you’re looking for some reviews, can you believe what you read? A site has 50 Facebook likes and 50 Google +1 votes, is that the best site to be looking at?
Also, as much as we hate to admit it, people do buy links. There are hundreds of sites on the Internet offering you a thousand links in return for some remuneration. The work is then outsourced to India or other developing countries for a fraction of the wage that is paid to westerners.
I have nothing against outsourcing work but these developing countries don’t need to be exploited by the west anymore, let’s turn the whole link building debacle to an ethical “relevant” system and these developing countries can make their own legitimate online marketing/promotional businesses, offer it globally and earn a comparable salary. Businesses will still need links but valuable ones that also drive traffic.
If you believe in what I’m talking about then please place the Meta Zone tag below into the head of your website. It does nothing at the moment but this will form part of an online petition to get the web back on track and relevant once more.
- <meta name="zone" content="your,five,tags,to,go,here" />
I have no way of tracking the tag above but I’m sure Google can when they next perform a crawl of the Internet, and possibly start factoring this in to future updates.
Thank you for reading.
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