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Page Rank Isn't The Best Barometer Of Online Influence

Vanessa Fox goes toe-to-toe with Steve Rubel in this piece, disagreeing with his assertion that a site's PageRank is the ultimate barometer of its influence in the online world. Rubel's argument, in a nutshell, is that since Google uses a number of factors to determine PageRank, and since Google is the primary starting point for most Internet users, its assessment of a site (i.e. the site's PageRank) is the best measure of whether you're producing quality content. Not so, Fox says.

"I agree with him that we need better measures and the ones that we have are looking through a glass darkly (at best), but PageRank is probably one of the worst measures around," Fox says. "At the simplest level, PageRank (both toolbar and internal) is a measure of a page's link popularity."

She says that toolbar PageRank, in particular, is almost useless because it's infrequently updated, it can easily be gamed, and it often isn't an accurate reflection of actual SERP rankings. Meanwhile, the way Google calculates internal PageRank is still relatively obscure.

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