Welcome back Hypertransitory readers, you’re just in time for another Hypertransitory Mystery -this time it’s the mystery of the unexplainable Google PageRank.
I never really stressed too much over PageRank, mostly because I didn’t understand it and didn’t really care to.
Then one fateful day I got an alert from Google that my site had been promoted to PR4. Some SEO site was trawling the web for places to request links from, I guess. They published my address along with a bunch of others on their site and Google picked it up.
After that I started getting annoying link requests (some of them downright sleazy), but aside from that not too much changed.
A Tale of Two Sites
So the homepage of Hypertransitory.com is PR4. Mind you, it’s just the home page, my entire site is not PR4. Most of my pages have no rank at all.
The drama started when I was doing some minor maintenance on my online novel site True Tales of the Soryan Order. Imagine my surprise when I glance at the Google Toolbar and see that the homepage of that site is a PR5!
Not believing it, I also checked in the Firefox add-on SEO Quake. It gave me the same results.
Hrrm. So Google is thinking that the front page of my novel site, which maybe gets 100 hits per month and is relevant only to itself, really, is more important than the front page of Hypertransitory.
Even though Google tells me not to worry about PageRank, I’m just very curious as to why this is.
Here’s some of the factors I investigated trying to get to the bottom of this.
BACKLINKS: Checking the backlinks for Hypertransitory (using SEO Quake) and it came up with about 24 Google backlinks, most of those links are PR0, with one PR3 and one PR5.
Doing the same thing for soryanorder.com, I get about 9 results from Google, most of which are actually from Hypertransitory and from soryanorder.com itself!
For some reason there were dramatically more backlinks showing in Yahoo. I’m not sure if this is something Google takes into account?
Not that backlinks are all that counts for PR. Doing some detective work, I found this PageRank article from Smashing Magazine. It’s from 2007 but I still read through it to try to figure out the disparity between the rankings of the sites.
The things is, Google is so secretive about this stuff that much of it ends up being speculation and not fact.
AGE: Hypertransitory.com is definitely older than Soryanorder.com. I bought Hypertransitory all the way back in 2002, while Soryanorder.com was purchased in 2010. Hypertransitory has not been *active* all that time, though, but for longer than soryanorder.com.
UPDATES: I usually update this site about once a week these days, but soryanorder.com really hasn’t been updated since last fall! It can’t be that important, can it?
OUTGOING LINKS: If you check my Hypertransitory home page, there’s a ton of links going out. Maybe it’s bleeding PageRank away instead of keeping it for itself?
Whereas the Soryan Order home page has far fewer links going out. Could that be the key?
This is an article I found that explains the “PR leakage” issue in layman’s terms (from 09-2010).
WHAT THE DEAL, YO?
Does this even matter? I checked out this article from Info Carnivore about Google’s 2011 Official Stance on PageRank, where he states that Google has downplayed the importance of PageRank (which is borne out by the link to Google’s own site above).
It doesn’t really do me much good to have my novel site be PR5. I guess I’m happy that Google considers it that important, but I’m the type of guy that likes to know why, and it annoys me that I can’t see a clear reason for it.
Honestly, that site should probably be a PR0, and maybe a PR1, and this site that I actually put work into should be PR5, but again, I don’t think there’s any clear benefit to me even if it was (unless one of the spammy link offers turned out to be above board, I guess).
So I think this one is going into the Robert Stack pile of Unsolved Mysteries, for now.
I may play around with the links on the Hypertransitory home page just to see if I can affect the ranking at all. According to several of the links above, the toolbar isn’t updated regularly anyway, so I might not see the results for a long time (even though Google will still factor in your site’s true PageRank when ranking the pages, not the delayed one in the toolbar).
Back to you…
If anyone has any insight on the nature of PageRank or can see exactly what’s going on with those pages please feel free to let me know. Obviously I just took a cursory look but I’m sure SEO pros must have other methods to investigate.
So until next time, this case is going cold…
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