Musings on Google PageRank calculations

by Rudd-O published 2007/10/10 00:30:00 GMT+0, last modified 2020-12-03T02:20:31+00:00

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, del.icio.us, 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?