Google's post-PageRank future

Google's post-PageRank future

Summary: Google's early success was due to stellar search, which was based on its PageRank algorithm. Spammers have ruined PageRank, what now?

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TOPICS: Google
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Aaron Wall over at SEOBook, has put together an infographic explaining how Google has made the organic link irrelevant.

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It's ironic that Google's actions have largely devalued the search rank benefits of a link from another website. Yet this "PageRank,"named after CEO Larry Page, was the heart and soul of the Google algorithm. It was his eureka insight into the structure of the web that made Google into Google -- PageRank generated stellar search results.

Spammers soon figured out that creating a lot of backlinks was an easy way to fool Google's algorithm into generating vastly improved search page positions for their sites. So it's not surprising that Google had to find ways to deal with backlink inflation, and find other indicators of trust and authority. But in moving away from PageRank Google risks throwing out the baby with the bath water.

The company says it now monitors more than 200 signals, in addition to PageRank, to determine the importance of websites. But without PageRank it's a hard job and it's showing in the complaints about search quality.

I have a suggestion for Google: Bring back the use of PageRank and let the spammers create massed fields of backlinks to their sites -- they'll easily identify themselves by their overuse of SEO. Jump on that--it's an easy filter. After all, hardly anyone links to anyone anymore, unless they're spammers.


Topic: Google

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13 comments
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  • RE: Google's post-PageRank future

    Google search quality in general is indeed lousy nowadays. Your idea seems to be simple and effective. But if thousands of highly qualified engineers haven't gone down this path, there must be for good reasons we aren't quite seeing.
    cameigons
    • At least their portal page remains clean and simple

      Or I'd probably dump them at this point, having used them from Day 1 of their existence.<br><br>Maybe the author, and wkulecz from below, are onto something. But will Google care, with all the loot they're drawing maintaining their present status quo?
      klumper
  • RE: Google's post-PageRank future

    It's always going to be a difficult problem as long as so many websites are willing to engage in out-and-out fraud with impunity.<br><br>Case in point: I was looking for a particular model of battery this morning, and my Google search yielded hundreds of specific hits. But the first ten hits had NO relevance to the battery specs or availability AT ALL. The companies had just placed a laundry list of all battery models on their websites whether they supplied the actual item or not. Some of the websites were simple duplicates as they were just fronts for the same company.<br><br>If they had done a similar thing with a printed catalog or ad, they would have been open to state and FTC investigations for false advertising, but on the Web it's simply considered another SEO tactic.
    terry flores
    • RE: Google's post-PageRank future

      @terry flores - +1. Another prime example is results for "XYZ discount voucher". The results are dominated by sites that list fake and expired voucher codes. I doubt there's a means of identifying fakes via the page content itself, so I guess brand reputation must be relied upon.
      Psdie
  • Add a dis-like button

    Add a dis-like button to the search results to let users kill the spammers.
    wkulecz
    • RE: Google's post-PageRank future

      @wkulecz

      I think your solution is dead-on. Google already tracks everything else about us...why not develop a "user reliability rating" and let the users tell Google which pages are legit and which aren't. As a user I'd be happy to contribute. Presumably I would just click a checkbox titled "bogus".

      gary
      gdstark13
    • RE: Google's post-PageRank future

      @wkulecz - what about votes from competitors and their SEO teams? Think distributed outsource teams that spend their days voting for $1 per 1k votes.
      Psdie
      • RE: Google's post-PageRank future

        @Psdie <br><br>But again, a user would himself be rated by google, so his votes would count accordingly. Accounts created just yesterday would count for very little, while accounts that are five years old and only rate a few websites a week would count for a lot. And if a website gets negative votes by established (trusted) users, but someone suddenly rates it highly, that user himself becomes suspect.

        As I see it, google's only real currency is it's users.

        gary
        gdstark13
    • RE: Google's post-PageRank future

      @wkulecz
      And what about spammers hitting the dislike button thousands of times - even spoofing IP addresses so it does not seem to come from the same machine - on the pages of their competitors? WOT (web of trust - mywot.com ) attempts to not only identify trustworthy, but also scammer sites. The web is a bit like politics - tricksters feel at home here.
      itadmin@...
    • RE: Google's post-PageRank future

      @wkulecz

      +1

      A mechanism to vote up or down or even report a spammy link to google would be a plus too.
      rcm0502@...
  • RE: Google's post-PageRank future

    Always wondered how banning paid links while operating several competing ad networks and holding a monopoly search position in many countries did not draw even a hint of antitrust concern.
    pj48
  • RE: Google's post-PageRank future

    TF: "I have a suggestion for Google: Bring back the use of PageRank and let the spammers create massed fields of backlinks to their sites ??? they???ll easily identify themselves by their overuse of SEO. Jump on that???it???s an easy filter."

    Gee - I think Google missed a trick by not hiring the author as its lead anti-blackhat SEO consultant. This is exactly what happens at present - spammers stuff links wherever they can (oblivious to "nofollow" for some strange reason - I'm assuming they're stupid, or hoping to hit on very occasional pages without "nofollow" enabled). Google applies penalty algorithms to spot sources and batches of spam links.

    There's also this contradiction: "The company says it now monitors more than 200 signals, in addition to PageRank, to determine the importance of websites. But without PageRank it???s a hard job and it???s showing in the complaints about search quality."

    Inbound links remain the #1 SEO factor - PageRank remains a major factor ("without PageRank"?), but is qualified with additional ways of measuring the value of inbound links (brand reputation, page zoning, etc).

    As for the SEO graphic - the very last panel makes a good point RE PageRank hoading and control by a few big name publishing groups (ZDNet of course being an absolute prime example), with "back room" (not "back alley" or "back corner", LOL!) advertising deals controlling the most valuable advertorial links.

    However the rest of the graphic reads like the whining of an SEO spammer that SEOBooks sounds like (could be wrong). Google introduced measures to limit the influence of artificial directories, gateways and SEO portals, these have been effective, and now SEOBooks are moaning that they can't sell paid links like they used to. Result!
    Psdie
  • GOOG decimated by litigation...

    http://www.curtisneeley.com/NameMedia/2011-2558/08_11-2558_Docket_files/2558%20APPEAL%20BRIEF.pdf

    http://www.curtisneeley.com/NameMedia/2011-2558/2558_DocketPDFs/2558-AppelleeBrief_GOOG.pdf

    http://www.curtisneeley.com/NameMedia/2011-2558/2558_DocketPDFs/2558%20REPLY%20BRIEF_stamped.pdf

    Game OVER very soon!
    Curtis-Neeley