Does Page Rank Matter?

Matt Cutts did another update on Page Rank recently. This started the usual fire storm of questions related to Page Rank, and blog posts by others. One excellent post on the topic was made by Jim Boykin.

Jim makes the point that Page Rank has minimal direct impact in rankings. There are two things that Page Rank influences directly:

  1. Crawl Order – Google crawls the web in top down Page Rank order.
  2. Crawl Depth – Google allocates more “crawl budget” to higher Page Rank sites.

So Matt and Jim are right. Obsessing about page rank is a waste of time. It’s like checking the level of oil on your oil tank when you are really interested in knowing how warm it is in the house. Doesn’t help you.

However, I completely understand people’s interest in Page Rank. Smart business people set up systems for measuring their business. A former boss of mine used to refer to these as “dials and gages”. Measuring your business is a crucial part of running it well.

In the webmaster business, understanding how you are doing with Google is basic to long term success. After all Google has 50% or more market share, depending on which month’s reports you read. People want to know how they are doing with Google. And Page Rank is a very public gage of your Google progress.

So go ahead and look at your Page Rank. We do. However, don’t spend more than a few seconds a month on it. It’s a very crude measure of your progress with Google, and it does not directly influence rankings.

Spend your quality time examining your stats and logs to see the how people are coming to your site today. This will give you a very meaningful measurement of your progress with all the search engines (e.g. traffic, pages crawled, keywords used). If you don’t have a good stats package, then get one. It’s worth its weight in gold.

Spend your time analyzing who is linking to you, and how you can entice other people to link to you that will directly influence your rankings. Assuming a properly structured site with good content, links are the currency of improved rankings. This means learning how to identify the right links to improve your rankings, instead of getting links to improve your page rank. These are very different things.

Look at these two sets of metrics to make money. This is how the big money is made on the web. Look at Google Page Rank to get a warm fuzzy feeling whenever it goes up. This is how you get … well … warm fuzzy feelings.


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