Musings on Google PageRank calculations

published Oct 10, 2007, last modified Dec 03, 2020

Apparently, according to the Search engine journal, Google has recalculated its massive PageRank spreadsheet. This'd be business as usual, but a series of interesting statements in that blog post piqued my interest.

You see, I'm in the unique position of having thousands of links pointing to a specific page in my blog. A big part of the responsibility for that lies squarely on the fact that I have two WordPress themes available for download -- so each deployment means I get an extra inbound link. And, let me tell you, I see at least one (sometimes more) link pointing to me daily -- keeping in mind the fact that this count only tallies up Technorati-registered blogs!

So how do I fare? Rather doubleplus-ungood. First, I only have a PageRank of 5. To paraphrase a multiplatinum italo-house track, fuck that shit.

Second: In theory, my highest ranked page should be the page of the theme, right?

In practice, it isn't. The admin themer and the XHTML validator rank more highly (as a matter of fact, they rank 4). Not to complain, but the admin themer is a stupid one-off project and I wouldn't like to be remembered for that come the day I go away (but I really hold the XHTML validator close to my heart).

My first thought was: "well, it makes sense; Google is probably detecting which links are organic and which aren't based on an algorithm that compares anchor text and, if it detects too big a similarity in the inbound links, *pop* goes the weasel".

But then I came across another observation: Another page that should be ranked very highly is the HD-DVD number controversy one. I mean, it was linked *organically* by hundreds and hundreds of blogs, plus the highest-ranking sites around the world (for Chrissakes, man: Digg, Slashdot,, Wikipedia, Reddit, TechMeme, the frigging Pirate Bay!). Yet this page is not even ranked! Why isn't it even a blip on the radar? Let's paraphrase the house hit again: come on, man! Fuck that, fuck that shit!.

What's worse: Google Webmaster Central shows I only have 385 backlinks. What the hell? I have never ever engaged in link buyout. I have tens of thousands of links in Technorati alone. Yahoo! shouts over ten thousand links as well. Why is Google insistent on ignoring the facts?

Even more so: the page singularly most referred to by Google in my blog is my day-after-pill instruction set using Cytotec. Why oh why does that have to top my list of popular pages? I mean, I don't mind, but I'm not a doctor -- I like to consider myself a free software evangelist and expert.

Why can't I get a decent SERP position on the issues that really matter to me?