First up the issue about Google and Page Rank and why I think it’s a “busted flush”?
OK a little bit of Page Rank History.
Firstly, Page Rank (PR) as a “Concept and Marketing Tool” is not owned by Google. OK this might come as a bit of a shocker to most out there who believe Google own the Page Rank Concept but sadly this is true.
The Page Rank Algorithm was developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin whilst both were students at Stanford and therefore the copyright of the Page Rank Algorithm (as with most patents / concepts of this type) is owned by Stanford University and exclusivity for Google to use it is granted by way of a “lease / agreement” between Stanford and Google Inc. Both parties have done very well out of the arrangement with Stanford profiting almost to the tune of $500M in stock options exercised at the time of the Google IPO (it is estimated).
What this means is that Google as a Commercial entity have only a set time period for their exclusive use of this patent before the “competition” muscle in and try to exploit (should they so wish).
Shortly after Google started to use PR as part of their marketing offering it didn’t take long for the Internet Marketing (IM) community to realise that here was a pretty important “cog” in Google’s overall ranking Algorithm that was so exploitable it was almost untrue.
Overnight (seemingly and with painstaking effort and construction) whole High Page Rank Networks were created and links were sold, money changed hands and fortunes were made almost overnight.
The trouble with this was that none of this lovely money was flowing in Google’s direction and they were the developers of the concept.
Remember the good old days when all you had to do to rank well in Google was pop along to the likes of the Digital Point Forum or Warrior Forum, strike a deal with a couple of vendors and within days “the juice” of those newly bought nice High Page Rank links was flowing through to your Web site and rankings were seemingly assured.
Yep, money was easier to make (if you were a seller) and almost overnight, as I said earlier, fortunes were being made and then almost as quickly the first of the dreaded updates hit and just as quickly fortunes were then lost.
This abated the (seeming) abuse of the Page Rank concept for a short while till folks found that all the Update had done was eradicate existing Page Rank and that the loophole in the concept was still there and that new(er) sites could be developed using the existing methodology.
Over the years since, Google have come out with one update after another under “the guise” of refining Search and making SERPS results more meaningful and supposedly more accurate but as most observers report after each and every update there are results featuring and ranking in Google that the aforementioned Update was supposed to eradicate so the upshot of all of this that actually Google as an organisation is “full of Bull” and these exercises are nothing more than “muscle flexing”.
A way of strong arming reluctant people into their Adwords Campaigns.
Not nice, especially as let no one try to fool you, Adwords is an expensive Sand Pit to play in and I’m not denying that it can’t be made profitable, it’s an expensive learning curve for all except one…….Google.
But the final nail in the Page Rank coffin lies with the expiration of the exclusivity of the Patent. Microsoft, Yahoo et al are all hovering over the Patent and now are well aware of the inner most intricacies of how it works and various hidden aspects that all but the hardy serious researchers have missed and given the time span before the competition get commercial access to the rights for Page Rank, Google have to start to downgrade its usefulness so as not to appear too stupid when they finally trash it in an attempt to drive the opposition from the scent.
They can hardly turn round on the eve of the Competition launching their own equivalent and then say “well we never thought it was worth much anyway” and remain remotely credible so they have to start the downgrading and denial process early. Hence the latest “Page Rank is now only one of the 200 or so factors we consider in our Algorithm” as opposed to the old days where “Page Rank” was the seeming “Crown Jewel” or “First among Equals” in its methodology.
Nope, the only thing that hasn’t happened to Page Rank is that no one has yet read out the Last Rites to it so don’t pin the future of any marketing program around anything that even refers to Page Rank as any form of credible component.
Next up, the rapidly diminishing amount of accurate information from Google Searches. Google are now claiming that there are certain items of Search Term referral data that for data protection issues, they cannot reveal to Web Site owners. This is actually increasing and in certain quarters it is believed that sooner or later they are going to encrypt all Search Data from Web Site owners.
As the guys at WordPress.com said recently:
UPDATE: In September 2013 Google started to rapidly expand the number of searches that it encrypts, which results in a higher proportion of “Unknown search terms” in your stats. According to some sources, this expansion will eventually result in encryption of all Google searches. This is being done for privacy reasons by Google when someone searches at Google.com, before a visitor arrives at your WordPress.com site. Therefore we don’t have any way to unhide the search terms. We recognize this means a loss of stats information for you and we will look for other ways to show you how users arrived at your site.
This whole Google activity is again, yes you’ve got it, complete bulls**t for several reasons.
Firstly if it was being driven purely for proscribed legal reasons then why ain’t anyone else doing it then Mr Cutts? And secondly, how come you are quite happy to provide similar data to users of your Adwords Service?
Oh sorry, forgot they are paying you money so you have to provide more data but knowing Google I’m sure if they could they’d be quite happy to try and limit that information too.
The best quote I heard recently was from one of my colleagues on a forthcoming SEO Venture and we were discussing why we should publish information via Kindle and using Amazon as a platform etc. He said “it’s simple Steve, I want to work with someone who is happy for me to make money, is going to help me make it and isn’t going to go out of their way to financially cut my legs off without warning every few months”.
Makes sense to me.