Thursday, September 02, 2004
16 Months Ago, PageRank Is Dead
In this article by Jeremy Zawodny last May, he declared PageRank dead. His reasoning: blogs killed PageRank, because Google was forced to give them false, lower PageRank numbers to push them down in the rankings. Obviously, Google has been adding layers of complexity and hacks to their search algorithm for a while now, so much so that the simple explanation of "democracy" does not suffice to explain how Google ranks pages. Of course, PageRank has still not been abandoned. Had it been abandoned, link spammers and link farms would not still be pulling off some of the results they do.
My suggestion is that if Google has an algorithm to lower the value of blogs, why not something to lower the value of pages with no content? I believe web directories should have penalties, even though they are legitimate pages. In most cases, a small site will find that the web directory appears ahead of it in the search results, which is just ridiculous. In fact, I would recommend that if a site is just a list of links then it should be ranked below every single site on that list. This may sound like sour grapes, but when I search for my own site, not by keywords but by its actual title, I receive results from thefreedictionary.com, wordiq.com, usnpl.com (a newspaper directory), topix.net (a news crawler), and directory.google.com before my site, which may make sense to Google's algorithm, but no one could argue is actually an accurate search.
No one who is searching for something is searching for directory pages that mention that something, they are searching for that specific thing. Google aims to have the most accurate results. If a search returns directories, and that directory has the accurate result, that means that Google did not have the accurate result, and it is pointing people to a site that does. That is what we call a complete failure in a product, and will cause Google to lose customers.
Google might also want to consider a plagiarism detector. The first two directory results I mentioned are Wikipedia ripoffs. They took the content, links and all, right out of that site, and use it to sell ads. I appreciate the linkage, but I know that's just plain wrong.