A lot of discussion in the SEO community has been generated over the last few years due to Google’s Pagerank Toolbar. By covering the most talked issues I am hereby trying to resolve some of the common doubts.

Pagerank in the toolbar usually differs from the one used to rank the sites

The Pagerank number we see on the Google toolbar is only updated once in a 3-4 months so that it’s algorithm remains unexploited by competition (Yahoo & MSN) and unscrupulous webmasters. Thus, if a page was created after a certain date, it will not have its PR updated until the next update, though Google continuously calculates and updates internal Pagerank to rank the search results soon after your pages get or lose backlinks. The toolbar PR is not recommended as a current rank but as a rise of any webpage at the time of the latest toolbar update by Google.

Low Pagerank is not necessarily a bad thing

Page rank is a floating point number including decimals that is given to each webpage by Google. This number is then rounded up and put on the 0-10 scale and displayed on Google toolbar. Some web page may have an internal PR of 3.943269 while the toolbar PR is only 3 and some other page may have an internal PR of 3.0000012 while the toolbar PR is again 3! Also Google usually gives PR0 to new web pages, so if such a page lags the PR update deadline, then its toolbar PR will be 0 until the next update though it gets plenty of backlinks. Thus, we can never tell for sure that which page is better to get a link from as we can not see the true PR of a page.

PR sometimes might be just an estimate by Google!

Pagerank can be estimated some times in case of dynamic URLs. If you take any established page and just add a variable to its URL like this,

< www.yourdomainname.com/article.php >

< www.yourdomainname.com/article.php?title=greenbar-addiction>

Since Google hasn’t actually crawled the new page, it tends to estimate the visible PR of that page. The estimate is most likely the same or one level below to PR of an older page which is a part of the URL of new page. So if the older or established page has PR6 new page will also “display” the same or PR5, although the page may not even exist!…so its importance might not be, what it seems.

PR can also be faked/ hijacked for selling the links off from it!

It is a known loophole in Google’s algorithm that a site which redirects to another web page will get the Pagerank of landing page. So if it redirects to Google then will get the current PR of Google or any high PR website to which it is redirected. Moreover such a deliberate redirect is often made sneaky (by CGI script), that serves only for search engine spiders and not for human visitors.

The fake PR can be detected by checking the Google’s cache or snapshot of the suspicions page (whether it is same or some landing page) but it is usually a quite recent version of a page. Therefore if a snapshot is taken after the removal of redirect, the page may keep on showing its fake PR till next toolbar update even with no redirect and original cache!

Conclusion: Until now it’s gotten to the point that there are too many variables, and toolbar PR is not necessarily a good representation of link quality or trustworthiness therefore the bottom line must be…the visible PR isn’t something that we should inevitably keep any faith in.

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