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Google's PageRank and Alexa Rank: Useful or Not?

Much has been written about another Google Slap in the last couple of days.

Goggle has reduced the PageRank of major, quality blogs by 2. You find the whole list in those posts that I have linked above. Enough comments and articles about this already.

By bringing in the Alexa Rank and compare it with Google PageRank I want to show, what this is all about.

At first, it is just an arbitrary number chosen by some company (Google, Amazon). Whenever those companies decide to change, how they calculate these numbers, it proves again, that they are just arbitrary numbers.

Why are so many people talking about those numbers then?

Those numbers are not random numbers, they have a more or less strong correlation to some real world facts as evaluated by Google and Amazon.

The goal is to make it easier for Web masters, site owners, and advertisers to compare sites and draw their conclusion about how those other sites are performing in real world figures (traffic, monetization, …)

PageRank (PR):

The range: no PR - PR 0 - PR 1 - … PR 10 (11 numbers plus “no rank”)
PageRank Explained by Google: “PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at considerably more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; for example, it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves ‘important’ weigh more heavily and help to make other pages ‘important.’ Using these and other factors, Google provides its views on pages' relative importance. …”

In a few simple words: The higher the better, higher PageRank usually means, more links, more visitors, more authority of the page. Yes, PageRank is assigned to each individual page. It is not one number for the whole site.

Alexa Rank:

The range: no rank - 10,000,000 - 1,000,000 - 100,000 - 1,000 - 10 - #1
Alexa's definition: “A listing of all sites on the Web, sorted by traffic...

Alexa computes traffic rankings by analyzing the Web usage of millions of Alexa Toolbar users. The information is sorted, sifted, anonymized, counted, and computed, until, finally, we get the traffic rankings shown in the Alexa service. The process is relatively complex, but if you have a need to know, please read on.”

More About the Alexa Traffic Rankings (↑)

Once you have managed to get listed under the top 100,000 sites of the world, Alexa gives you even more statistics.

Both measures have some shortcomings like PageRank being heavily dependent on Google's moods and Alexa is giving you a picture based on Toolbar Users only. They are far from portraying some sort of truth. What is truth anyway?

As your site is evaluated by others based on those numbers to some extent, you should at least know what those are for your sites and how you are doing compared to your competitors.

The easiest way to get those numbers is by installing Toolbars in your Web browser:

If you are concerned about security and data privacy read the legalese for those toolbars, but most importantly, start out with using a fast, secure browser like Firefox. Get it now and Google's Toolbar will be already installed. Update on 2008-08-01: This option doesn't seem to be available anymore (at least for Linux) But no problem, just install Firefox first and install the toolbars afterwards..

Any other reason, why you should have those toolbars?

Well, … Google Toolbar shows the PageRank of a site that your are browsing. But what's also cool is it integrates access to almost every Google Tool into your browser, which saves you some clicks.

Alexa shows you the traffic history of a site and lets you recognize trends easily. For this feature its much more useful than the static PageRank figure from Google. That alone is the best reason to have it installed. Also don't forget, when visiting your own site with the Alexa toolbar installed, you help its ranking a little bit (at least as long as you are in the millions or not even ranked at all. Do you want to impress those advertisers or not?


The most important figure about your Web business was, is , and will be your bottom line. Always! Your profits, that you can keep at the end of the month. Right? You'll observe some correlation between those numbers and your Web generated income, but that correlation will be more or less strongly dependent on many factors. A Google slap like this one just throws off that type of correlation altogether.

Keep an eye on those (PR, Alexa) numbers for your site and the site of your competitors, but continue to work for money and these numbers will follow in the right direction naturally.

John W. Furst

P.S.: Thanks to Journal Blogger (↑) for including this article in the outstanding Edition of The Carnival of Small Business Issues of Nov 13th, 2007 (↑).


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David Bean on :


I want to thank Google for helping me to reinforce my decision to de-emphasize the web biz ... I have made much more money in stocks than in e-biz. ... Thanks again, Google, for your manipulation and lack of transparency.

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John W. Furst on :


It's a misconception to believe that Google or any other search engine will send you free traffic for life time. Nevertheless people keep relying on free traffic from Google and income on AdSense and create even more dependency.It's comparable to trade with stock from just one company.

Be warned: Their is a different sort of "Google" in the stock market, a potentially more dangerous one, and not just one.

Rapid, unexpected change is everywhere. That's reality.That's life. Change is threat and opportunity at the same time. You find people lamenting about the weak US-dollar, high taxes, ... you name it. Any market has some sort of "Google".

Good luck with your trading business, David. --John

Checking Backlink and Pagerank on :


You can use Check Pagerank and BackLink Checker for free or Register web site names url to many place at one place. I hope this tools can help you.


Martin on :


If you depend on link or site selling as a form of monetization you’ll definitely want to increase your Alexa rank, because it’ll increase your bargaining power when it comes to ad pricing.

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