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Praxis Now, PageRank and SERPs

Posted in: Marketing,Search Engine Optimisation by Richard Hearne on July 25, 2006
Internet Marketing Ireland

From SiliconRepublic:

PraxisNow, an Internet marketing consultancy, surveyed more than 300 business websites located in the greater Dublin area and found a lack of awareness of how to use the sites to bring more revenue to the companies that maintain them.

A massive 95pc of the sites surveyed were estimated to have 10 visitors per day or less on a rolling average. Close to 70pc of the sites had less than the required amount of content for Google to deem them ‘substantial’, so that they are being penalised for having insubstantial content.

Fewer than 23pc had a Google Page Rank of five or better thus further limiting the sites’ placement when search results are presented. In addition, more than 90pc of the sites did not have an opt-in facility for visitors on the home page.

Most of the sites covered for the survey had no meaningful statistics collection, which PraxisNow claimed would prevent them from knowing if the sites had lots of visitors.

First off, I think these are useful statistics. I am not in the least surprised by the findings of this survey.

But one piece of this story really stuck out:

Fewer than 23pc had a Google Page Rank of five or better thus further limiting the sites’ placement when search results are presented.

As any good search engine optimisation engineer (what a name?) will tell you, a websites position in the SERPs is determined by a number of factors, amongst the most important of which (in my opinion) are the PageRank and topic/theme of that site’s IBL’s (In Bound Links) relative to the search term. Yes on-site content counts also, but a sites PageRank is relatively unimportant in relation to its position on the SERPs.

You can perform countless searches on Google and find the top SERPs having lower PageRank than subsequent results. Many searches on Google return #1 spots with PR2′s and PR3′s. (I had a client with a PR1 site that ranked #1 for ‘bbq dublin’ for many months out of the 1.1m results returned by Google. Suffice to say they did very nicely from this search term.)

Looking at the Praxis Now website they have a Toolbar PageRank of 2 (yep, who am I to talk but give me 8-12 weeks and the next Google update ;) ). Now, I have no reason to doubt that Praxis Now have excellent marketing knowledge and know-how. I also have no reason to doubt that their seminars may be beneficial for marketers wishing to learn new techniques.

But, being honest, I do have to question their knowledge of PageRank, SERPs and Search Engine Optimisation based on the language quoted above.

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  1. Hi Richard. Your comments are interesting, in some cases correct, in others somewhat misleading. PraxisNow is a new company and has not been in existance long enough to build the inbound links that would yield a pagerank higher than 2. Your comments re the significance of pagerank is search engine placement are correct. The original press release, when submitted, used the words, “one of the factors” which was ommited in whatever publication you read. We certainly never used the term “engineer” either (not sure what article you read?).

    BTW, “bbq Dublin” has miniscule search volumes (use your tools to check this). You should point out that it extremely easy to get #1 search placement against non-competitive terms such as this. In fact, Pagerank becomes increasingly important the more competitive a search term is. Kind regards. John

    Comment by John Coburn — July 25, 2006 @ 10:00 am

  2. Hi John

    Thank you for the comment. Yes ‘bbq dublin’ may have a low number of searches but the keyphrase is highly targeted and delivers relevant visitors to their site. That keyphrase (and some associated derviatives) has resulted in about 2 visits per week, a number of which have been converted to sales.

    The point I was trying to make was that having good PR doesn’t necessarily generate profit for any web property or its offline owner. I felt your article was making too much of the link between a sites PR and its performance in the SERPs.

    Obviously for very competitive terms PR becomes a more important issue. But that said, I would rather have low PR and come #1 in the SERPs for targeted relevant keyphrases than have high PR and poor SERPs (it happens).

    The number of searches performed per day is not easy to determine. I believe Google has more than the lion’s share of all searches carried out in Ireland. Google does not make search information publicly available (excepting Google Trends). You can easily see Overture data but I dont think too many people are using their properties for Irish search.

    My reference to engineer was my (obviously failed) attempt at self-deprication. My apology if it misleads.

    Best of luck with the new venture.

    Comment by Richard — July 25, 2006 @ 10:53 am

  3. I think everyone is in agreement here on the main issue as to the relevance of page rank. To elaborate further, page rank stems from the google founders university background and the wish to benchmark the credibility of a source. You may therefore have a pr1 and be position 1 for particular search terms. PR is supposed to be a guide as to the likely credibility of the site based on inbound links and the lenght of time the site is up. It is not always correct and google dont claim it is. So, if you are buying a bbq in dublin, the pr of the site is of little importance. If you are seeking professional legal advice or a University placement, then pr is significant. Our site http://www.backupanytime.com recently went from pr 3 to pr 4 and I dont think it will make a world of difference to us. That said, it is no harm to have a reasonable pr and we will strive to increase it through the correct channels while remaining aware that search engine position is more important.


    Comment by John ONeill — January 16, 2008 @ 2:22 pm

  4. This is a very old post John. But the PR debate just goes on and on…

    If you are seeking professional legal advice or a University placement, then pr is significant.

    Absolutely not IMO. PR has no qualitative variables in it’s formulation.

    And the other point to bear in mind is that Toolbar Pagerank (TBPR) that we see in our Google Toolbars bears little or no relation to the real-time PR that Google calculates. If anything it is nothing now but eye-candy.

    Of course, all the above IMHO.

    Thanks for posting John,

    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 16, 2008 @ 3:53 pm

  5. “If you are seeking professional legal advice or a University placement, then pr is significant.”

    ok, that is incorrect but “If you are seeking professional legal advice or a University placement, then pr may be significant.”

    should be acceptable? If not, what if any is the relevance of page rank. It is surely intended to be useful to the general public. I’m not claiming to know the answer Richard but I would like to know and suspect I’m not too far wrong.

    Comment by John ONeill — January 16, 2008 @ 4:41 pm

  6. I think this is one of the great misunderstandings about Pagerank. PR contains no qualitative element – it is purely quantitative in that it is a measure of the external links pointing at a site. It doesn’t qualify where those links come from, so I could have a high PR site that gets all PR from completely unrelated websites.

    PR was intended to power their original algo. The PR we see was most probably created to power the install number of their toolbar which gathers mountains of data for Google for free. This latter point is purely an opinion :grin:

    Best rgds

    Comment by Richard Hearne — January 16, 2008 @ 5:09 pm

  7. I greatly enjoyed the Praxisnow seminars and as a non techie learned a lot. I do our seo.
    Last week our website showed up No 1 in first aid training on google but this week we dropped to three and then four.
    A lot of it seems to be, to me at least, luck.

    Roy Lalor
    LTS First Aid Specialists

    Comment by Roy lalor — February 10, 2008 @ 11:43 pm

  8. Thanks for dropping by Roy

    It’s always great when clients compliment their suppliers. I’m sure John will be delighted that you took the time to post here.

    As per the drop – yes there can be some luck, but the algo doesn’t include any luck when it comes to who goes where on each SERP.

    Best rgds

    Comment by Richard Hearne — February 11, 2008 @ 9:01 am

  9. OK,I know this is an old post and I am revisiting an issue you may have answered previously but I just dont get the whole page rank thing. If it is just quantitive (and I accept this as I wouldnt bother posting if I didnt take your answers as authoritive) what is the point of page rank. I wont mention my website in this post (I did previously) but if I scoured the web looking for places to post it, this would add no value to user experience on my site or services offerd. Has page rank become the worst type of deception possible, self deception, people posting links to their site to add a bit of green to the pr bar or is there some quality to be found in page rank?

    Comment by John ONeill — March 21, 2008 @ 11:33 pm

  10. Very old post. Answer is no – absolutely no qualitative component to PR. It was simply a measure of how popular a web page/site was based on the number of sites linking to it. There was never an intention to infer anything about the linking sites.

    But you are quite right about deception. Google have been quietly degrading the quality or the reporting for toolbar PR. I know this for sure even after disreagrding the recent penalties they’ve been hading out.


    Comment by Richard Hearne — March 26, 2008 @ 2:57 pm

  11. Thanks Richard
    I think it would be great if this became commonly known as it may prvent people from wasting their time posting on forums just to insert their link and result in the number of posts on a site being far more relative to the subject and helpful to fellow users than is often the case.
    Again thanks, I cant promise I wont come back to reread these posts and ask some more as I found it helpful (:

    Comment by John — March 26, 2008 @ 3:08 pm

  12. There is a good way to test the relevance of pagerank for serp’s, check out new press releases for fresh non-competitive keywords, you’ll see that only high PR newssites will rank on the first page..
    The debate on pagerank relevance is still a very hot topic..
    greetings Edwin

    Comment by edwin — May 23, 2008 @ 5:14 pm

  13. Hi Edwin

    Interesting observation. Dont pay very much attention to PRs in general, but the fact that they rank well may also be tied to site authority, which in and of itself may not be completely reliant on PR but also other factors related to the domain.

    Thanks for dropping by.

    Comment by Richard Hearne — May 25, 2008 @ 3:24 pm

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