October 31, 2007

Google now has Pagerank In != Pagerank Out ?

I sat out the Great Google PageRank Massacre Of October 2007 during last week, where several sites, including some high-ranking blogs, saw their PageRank displayed as dramatically lower than usually (the best example was the front page of YouTube supposedly going down to a score of 3/10, a level which can usually easily be achieved by a minor blog - that was an amusing proof that at least some changes were not due to Google hand-editing results). I thought I'd wait for the data to settle before examining it. What was so interesting during the initial part of the uproar was The Silence Of The Googlers (i.e. the people who work for Google). Not a peep, and that spoke loudly.

Also significant, nobody seemed to reliably report any ill-effects from the change. Given that blogs were affected, there was of course plenty of noise, but nothing major.

Then the oracle of 'plex spoke, saying:

The partial update to visible PageRank that went out a few days ago was primarily regarding PageRank selling and the forward links of sites. So paid links that pass PageRank would affect our opinion of a site.

Going forward, I expect that Google will be looking at additional sites that appear to be buying or selling PageRank.

I speculate that Google has now formalized what they've been doing crudely before, and separated the quantities of PageRank-for-ranking and PageRank-for-transmitting. Before, if a site had a high "in" PageRank, that meant the site had a temptation to sell it. Now, a site's "out" PageRank may be minimal, now matter what the incoming linkage. As a bonus, displaying the "out" PageRank will make the displayed data even more confusing.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in google | on October 31, 2007 09:06 AM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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Not relevant to this post, but Im using your comments because I can't locate your email address... I ran into Richard Smith from "Boston Software Analytics" this morning at an FTC workshop. I thought his presentation on cookies was a little light since he didn't talk about browsers much. Is there anything you can share regarding this firm?

Posted by: Frank Paynter at November 1, 2007 09:43 AM

Not much - more extensive reply sent in email.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at November 3, 2007 12:57 AM