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Google Toolbar Pagerank Update June 2011

Google rolled out a global toolbar PageRank (PR) update yesterday (27th June 2011), a little over five months since the last one in January. Do we care? No and Yes.

Matt Cutts has stated that Toolbar PageRank offers Google’s opinion of a page’s reputation and is mostly automated and calculated algorithmically. The algorithm considers the volume and quality of links to a given page, as well as other factors, such as quantity of outbound links.

From an SEO perspective, PageRank has tenuous relationship with top search engine rankings and is, at best, an indicator of the raw link popularity around the time of the update. That is not to say that link popularity does not influence search rankings, but it’s one of a series of factors that do – together with relevancy of linking sites, anchor text, onpage optimisation and many others.

The data that PageRank represents is query independent. And search engine rankings are relative to (or dependent on) a particular query – “London hotel” for example. Your website may rank for this phrase if:

  1. Your landing page is optimised for “London Hotel” (in the copy and title, URL, internal links etc).
  2. You have quality backlinks to the page with anchor text that is related to “London hotel”.
  3. Your page and domain are sufficiently reputable to justify top rankings; i.e. they have adequate link popularity, trust and authority etc

In terms of use for SEO, toolbar PageRank offers very little. It tells you how important Google thinks your page is at a given point once, twice or three times a year. This importance rating does not dictate your search rankings, as rankings are also dependent on queries and query dependent factors.

The fact is PR wasn’t built for SEOs, but for internet users to gauge the importance of web pages. So, aside from search engine rankings, PR has value in other fields of digital marketing and online publishing such as:

  • Bloggers – who rely on PR as a measure of their online status.
  • Publishers – who rely on PR to sell advertising space.
  • Advertisers – who use PR to decide on advertising space.
  • Link builders – who require link equity (link out sites).
  • Website traders – who buy and sell websites based on PR value.

Mediatorr Online Publishing owns a portfolio of sites and is active in the blogging space. We are pleased with the results of this update:

  • www.mediatorr.co.za/: PR 3 to PR 4
  • Technology Blog: UR to PR 4
  • Green Blog 1: PR 4 (unchanged)
  • Green Blog 2: UR to PR 3
  • DIY Blog: UR to PR 3
  • Travel Blog 1: PR 1
  • Travel Blog 2: UR to PR 4
  • Travel Blog 3: UR to PR 2
  • Travel Site: PR 1 to PR 3
  • Media / Marketing Blog: UR to PR 3
  • Entertainment Blog: UR to PR 3
  • Pet Site: PR 1 (unchanged)
  • Horse Racing Site: PR 1 (unchanged)
  • Alternative Media Site: UR to PR 1
  • Finance Blog: UR to PR 4
  • Publishing Site: PR 1 to PR 3

Over the past 6 months, the above sites were regularly updated with fresh content and actively promoted through social media with a very low level of link development. The sites below were relatively untouched for the period.

  • Yacht Brokerage: PR 3 to PR 2
  • Football Site: PR 4 to PR 3
  • Chocolate Site: PR 1 (unchanged)
  • Recipe Site: PR 0 to PR 1
  • Worm Farming Site: PR 2 (unchanged)
  • Paper Making Site: PR 1 (unchanged)
  • Mosaics Site: PR 1 to PR 0

Which perhaps goes to prove the age-old wisdom that regularly updated content is a site’s most valuable asset.

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