April 2007 Pagerank Update is Underway!

April 28th, 2007

The April 2007 Pagerank Update

It’s official – as of a few hours ago new PR’s are starting to filter through the system – the April 2007 Toolbar PR update is underway! Here’s a few insights about the update and what it means to you, and some tips and tricks you might not know..

Why is my Pagerank Jumping Around?

When a toolbar PR update happens, it doesn’t happen all at once – Google has many ‘datacenters’, and your new PR will ‘percolate’ between those datacentres over the next few days to a week.

The PR shown in your toolbar is usually taken from a relatively random datacenter – for that reason, you’ll tend to see your toolbar PR jumping around alot – this isn’t an indication of any kind of penalty, or anything unusual – it’s just an indication that the PR update is underway.

You can see your PR over the various datacentres at http://www.oy-oy.eu.

What is Pagerank (PR)?

PR, or pagerank is one of the factors used by Google to calculate the importance of your site. Importance is different to relevance – you can have a very low PR site and still outrank much higher PR sites that don’t have content that is as relevant to the user’s search as yours.

People tend to get fixated on PR as it is one of the most visible forms of ‘feedback’ from Google about how your site building efforts are going – and since it only gets updated 3 or 4 times a year, people with active sites (including me) tend to look forward to it.

Should I worry too much about PR?

No. A few reasons:-

  • RELEVANCE almost always beats PR if you want good search engine positioning – such things as the words that people use to link back to your site, words in your page, your page title and headings, and words in your url all give Google clues about the relevance of your site. Some people claim that their are 200+ factors such as these that Google uses to calculate relevance.
  • Pagerank is generally out of date – it is really, in its most basic form, just a snapshot measure of how many other sites link back to you (and how many sites link back to them).
  • You can have a PR 0 site and still beat much higher PR sites in a Google search if you concentrate on RELEVANCE.

As time has gone by, Google has got much better at gleaning ‘relevance’ from a page – and with that enhanced functionality, the relative importance of PR (which was probably once the major contributor to search engine positioning) as a factor in calculating your search engine positioning has been diluted by these other factors – but it is still a factor, and it is worth aiming to improve your PR.

Tips and Tricks to Improve your PR

Well, it’s too late now for this update, but if you’d like to work towards improving your PR (and site traffic) you need to get more sites linking to you, and preferably sites with high PR. Here’s some tips off the top of my head:-

  1. LINK OUT – link to sites that interest you. This has two effects – it makes your site much more informative for your readers, and it also helps other sites (the target of your link) learn about you. Whilst it is counter-intuitive that linking out will improve the number of sites linking to you, it does. Why? Because it tends to increase your readership. A site with lots of readers becomes a site that people want to link to. Also, people with active sites tend to spend alot of time monitoring who is linking to them – write an interesting article which links to their high PR site, and it’s likely they’ll come and check out your site – if you are lucky, you might get a link from their high PR site back to you as a thankyou.
  2. WRITE UNIQUE, INFORMATIVE, INTERESTING ARTICLES – if you ever do a Google search for something and you can’t find what you’re looking for easily you have a great opportunity. Find the answer, and write about it. Chances are other people are asking the same question – and you’ll attract links if you write a good quality blog entry about it. Sites that just regurgitate / duplicate information easily found elsewhere won’t tend to get lots of links.
  3. WRITE SOMETHING CONTROVERSIAL – this is one strategy fitting under the general banner ‘link bait’. My best performing pages are those that have controversial content :).
  4. USE SOCIAL NETWORKING TOOLS – Things like mybloglog, feedburner, digg-it etc are a great way to improve your following and traffic. I can pretty much guarantee that links to my site increase proportionally with the amount of traffic I receive.
  5. MAKE A USEFUL TOOL – many of my links come from my wordpress theme, Blix-Krieg. If you put something on your site that is useful, you will attract links.
  6. USE YOUR HOST– Many web hosting companies have online forums for their users – often, these forums have obscenely high PR. Write something genuinely interesting, and link back to it from your host’s forum. This is also often a great way to help trigger an initial crawl on a new site (see my series on the supplemental index for more info on this).
  7. BE A GUEST POSTER. Many sites (including mine) allow users to submit their own articles for inclusion – take advantage of the opportunity – write an interesting, relevant article and ask the owner of a high PR site if they’d like to include it – with a link to your own site in the body.

Also check out this page on the top 13 things that won’t effect your pagerank by JLH. Actually JLH is an example of a successful blogger that applies alot of these principles – He writes great articles that are often interesting, controversial and informative all at the same time. He links liberally. He uses a broad array of social networking tools.

Now – could I please ask you folks a favour? I’ve written a WTF at technorati – I’d appreciate your votes – it’s my first experiment with social networking 🙂  Click this link to vote.

Any other suggestions, feel free to post – hell, why not add your url to your comments – I remove no-follow from all comments after 14 days if they are relevant.

All the best,



Entry Filed under: SEO Discussions

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27 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Craig  |  April 28th, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    What I found interesting in this update, during which one of my sites received its first PageRank since release in January of this year, is that not only do individual pages have PageRank but it appears an entire site may have PageRank as well.

    The reason I think this, and maybe it has been known by others for eons and I am now just getting clued in, is because the pages of my site that have back-links show as PageRank 4/10 while ALL the rest of the pages on the site, including things like my sitemap, Privacy, Copyright etc. pages, which no one in their right mind would link to, have a PageRank of 3/10.

    In any event, it is so nice to be link-loved! :-()


  • 2. DuckMan  |  April 28th, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    Hiya Craig! Thanks for dropping by mate, and WELL DONE! I’m just as excited – I added this site to my stable of sites in about Jan too, so this is my first PR update as well.. I’ve hit 5, which I’m happy with.

    Yep – PR does flow through a site – I’m trying to get my head around it too – I’m pretty sure it is dependent upon the hierarchy of your site.

    For most people the PR tends to aggregate at the index page because a common hierarchy is to have all pages linking back to the home page.

    Try checking out this thread – http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/3210994.htm



  • 3. DuckMan  |  April 28th, 2007 at 5:01 pm


    This is a link I found a while back that explains the whole show really well… and what’s best is it’s got PICTURES – which is great for dummies like us 🙂



  • 4. JLH  |  April 30th, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    I voted.

  • 5. DuckMan  |  April 30th, 2007 at 2:47 pm


    It seems the WTF’s are a little used feature of technorati – I was over there checking it out and clicked on ‘see our most popular WTF’ – with a grand total of 9 votes, our WTF is number 3 🙂

    Effect on traffic.. pretty negligible – maybe 30 people yesterday browsed to the site via the WTF.


  • 6. Thomas  |  May 1st, 2007 at 1:29 am

    Hi, this is the first time I stumbledUpon your site (coming from Matt Cutts here).

    I like your post it is easy to read and to follow.
    There might be however a small flaw with the link you put out to this article: http://www.jlh-design.com/2007/02/page-rank-discussion/

    The article itself is fine but it concentrates only on PageRank. It is ture that even without a functioning robots.txt or without one at all or blocking google, that your pages still get a pagerank.
    However, if you dont have a well configured robots.txt or you missed out on it completely – then in future you will not be indexed any more in all the major search engines (or only ranking very low).

    The robots.txt is the entry door for any spider and bot visiting your site. if that is not 100% up to speed – then never mind the odd links you are getting for your pagerank.

    I am taking up your offer and will get back to you writing an article for your site. Any special topic or my choice ?

  • 7. Thomas  |  May 1st, 2007 at 1:33 am

    edit to previous entry:
    Don’t worry about my “funny english” I am not a native english speaker, however a piece i would write for your site would be professionally edite prior to submission to you.

  • 8. Craig  |  May 1st, 2007 at 1:41 am

    robots.txt is the entry way?

    Not having a robots.txt means a search engine has full access to everything and is the default.

    Having a robots.txt that allows everything is redundant and a waste of resources.

    The only thing a robots.txt can do, assuming it is not redundant is to restrict search engine access so unless the robots.txt is restricting access to redundant pages/content or other content one doesn’t want indexed, not having a robots.txt file is better than having one.

  • 9. Thomas  |  May 1st, 2007 at 1:48 am

    Sorry, Craig but that is not entirely true!

    Using a robots.txt correctly is guiding the spiders and bots of search engines properly through your site.
    Not having on is an open door, yes – but also a waste of search engines resources to just go and look around.

    I look for an interesting write up on this that resulted from one of the recent SEO conferences. The bottom line of all the big search engine guys has been: No robots.txt or a bad one will result in not being indexed or with a very low priority at best.

    Ther as been also a piece on this at: http://www.sitepronews.com/archives/2007/apr/20.html
    that is not “the” link to the topic but reflects it quite well.

  • 10. Craig  |  May 1st, 2007 at 3:50 am

    Thomas, I think you are mistaking having a robots.txt file to overcome poor or bad navigation or multiple URLs pointing to the same content with having no robots.txt because the navigation is straightforward and logical.

    The purpose of a robots.txt file is to prevent search engines from crawling areas where they should not go. If one has no places the search engines should not go, a robots.txt file is not needed.

    In other words, guiding the spiders where NOT to go as opposed to where to go. Having a sitemap referenced in a robots.txt file is a secondary benefit but again, if navigation is straightforward and logical, the need for even a sitemap is reduced.

    There is no replacement or “band-aid” for having a site topology that is well designed.

  • 11. Thomas  |  May 1st, 2007 at 5:21 am

    where did i say that a robots.txt would substitute good naviagation or onsite navigaion at all?

    Sorry, but i lost you there completely.

  • 12. gecko  |  May 1st, 2007 at 7:16 am

    i’ve notice that bloggers tend to miss the bigger picture, everyone is going crazy over this pagerank issue and started blogging for Google and not for the readers… well, pagerank is important but what good is a pagerank 9 website when nobody cares about its existence?

  • 13. Craig  |  May 1st, 2007 at 10:00 am

    “The robots.txt is the entry door for any spider and bot visiting your site.”

    “guiding the spiders and bots of search engines properly through your site.”

    The “entry door” is a site’s entrance page, having a robots.txt file won’t tell it that. “guiding the spiders and bots” as well as human visitors, I might add, is the job of site navigation.

    A robots.txt file tells bots where NOT to go. A sitemap.xml which can now be referenced in a robots.txt, tells bots where TO go. If that is not making up for poor on-site navigation, what is?

    If one’s on-site navigation is logical and doesn’t end up producing multiple URLs for the same actual page, of what use are either, robots.txt and/or sitemap.xml with respect to search engine performance?

    Or put another way, how do you come up with such a blanket statement such as, “if you dont have a well configured robots.txt or you missed out on it completely – then in future you will not be indexed any more in all the major search engines (or only ranking very low).”

    Again, since a robots.txt file only tells bots where NOT to go or, through a referenced sitemap.xml, tell bots where to go, aren’t either of those attempts to correct for poor on-site navigation?

    If one has sufficient navigation, what is the benefit?

    gecko – very good point although don’t blame the bloggers. If bloggers only wrote about the things that are actually important, like content content content, nobody would care about their existence either. :-()

  • 14. DuckMan  |  May 1st, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    Gecko – SPOT ON.

    The reason people get so enamoured with pagerank is two-fold, in my opinion –

    1. It used to be very important in the early days of Google – if you had lots of inlinks you could game just about any search engine. Those days are now gone, but many “SEO Experts” are still hung up on PR.
    2. It’s one of the only ‘pats-on-the-back’ you get from google (other than search engine positioning) that tells you how your promotional activites are going so it’s exciting – especially for new sites – when a PR update comes around..

    More important than pagerank is, as I said above, RELEVANCE. Make it easy for the search engines to determine what your page is about, and more likely than not you will be well positioned.

    Thomas – Your English is fine – More than happy for you to submit an article – this site is about sharing knowledge…

    But, I agree with Craig – I think you may have been sent up a dry gully with advice given to you about the importance of robots.txt and how it works – but I’ve been wrong before and I’m interested to hear more about your views – was there really statements made to the effect that not having a robots.txt will result in de-indexation in the future?

    I hadn’t heard that, my gut tends to yell to me that it is wrong, but I’m interested in hearing more about it in any case.

    Robots.txt IS, as Craig said very eloquently, a great way to help guide our robot friends to places we want them, and to help avoid duplicate content – WordPress and heaps of CMS’s are known being downright unfriendly towards our poor little arachnid mates..

    Whether PR obeys robots.txt – hmm.. that’s an interesting question.. JLH says NO. Intuitively I would tend to think YES – as if the page is excluded from crawls / indexation, why would G bother assigning it a PR? But then again – that doesn’t stop other sites from linking to your site.. hmm.. even if an excluded page showed a Toolbar PR, is that really a PR for that page, or is it PR for the underlying site? I dunno – I suspect JLH is right.

    I do wonder though – if you exclude a page using robots.txt does that page still PASS PR?

    I agree completely that if you have a bad robots.txt it can kill your site in no-time flat.

    All the best,


  • 15. Craig  |  May 1st, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    ‘pats-on-the-back’, “RELEVANCE” Exactly!

    We’ve probably all heard the discussions requesting Google to actually remove the PageRank display from their toolbar as too many people end up chasing PageRank and then wondering why their SERPs positioning has tanked.

    But, it sure was nice to see my latest site receive a PR 3 overall and a PR 4 for more linked to pages although seeing all of the pages on the site indexed and each of the pages containing site-important keywords showing up on the first page of the SERPs is orders of magnitude better! 😉

    It was especially nice considering it takes me about 2 to 3 weeks just to create a single page. :-()

    English isn’t my first, nor even second language so I know how you feel Thomas. Were it my first, I could probably create a new page a day, but that isn’t ever going to happen. :-()

    Although I have been giving Thomas a hard time on the robots.txt/sitemap.xml issue, I would like to see an article about benefits Thomas may have found that maybe no one else has considered because what I have seen so far on places like SitePro and the like are anecdotal at best and like too many articles written on the issue of SEO, have a bad habit of declaring causality where there is at best, coincidence.

    Just make sure it passes Occam’s Razor test. 🙂

  • 16. JLH  |  May 1st, 2007 at 3:08 pm


    Write a page or buy a domain, excluded it from being crawled by everything in robots.txt before publishing it. Now link to it. Wait. I have, and it will indeed get PageRank.

    Of course it doesn’t pass any PageRank to other sites as it’s never been crawled, there’s no way of them knowing the content much less who it links to. It won’t rank for anything, except maybe the link anchor text. In the search results for a site: command all you see is the URL, no snippet.

    That of course is the point of me bringing it up, from a pure PageRank (little green pixels) the ONLY thing that matters is the external links to the site. That’s it. Google used to hand out warnings via removing PageRank or graybarring it, but that’s been phased out.

    Now if you are going to waste your time worrying about getting traffic and visitors ( 🙂 ), then the robots.txt is indeed important and can really hinder your efforts by only getting PageRank but not be crawled if you’ve got it screwed up.

  • 17. JLH  |  May 1st, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    I forgot to emphasize, don’t trust me, don’t trust Doc, test it for yourself. It’s free and only takes a few months to know for sure. Heck, do a big write up on it. Somebody just did a story that circulated around how the various search engines handle NOFOLLOW, I thought all that was common knowledge as I have done the experiments myself to prove what I had read a long time ago. That story got some press. If you get some real knowledge that no one knew before imagine the path they’ll beat to your door.

  • 18. JLH  |  May 2nd, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Found a real example, my sign-up page for one of my multi-blogger platform sites at http://iblogget.com/wp-signup.php it’s got a PR3 after the last updated.

    Check out my robots.txt at http://iblogget.com/robots.txt

    It’s specifically disallowed, and not indexed by Google, has always shown up in webmaster tools as a URL blocked by robots.txt

  • 19. DuckMan  |  May 2nd, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    Great – I love real life examples to add a quantitative angle to a completely ‘hunch’ based discussion – thanks JLH.


  • 20. Craig  |  May 2nd, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    JLH – You’ll know what to do if it ever hits PR 8, won’t you? :-()

    I think the SEO world is plagued by too many unprovable theories seemingly involving the phase of the moon or the positioning of the stars essentially leading to the blind leading the blind.

    Although “logic”, “observation” and anecdotal “evidence” all have their places, without proof from real world situations that can definitively prove something one way or another, they are all little more than wild guesses and I think we have all seen how far wild guesses can go to becoming a widely accepted “reality”.

    It’s nice to see your example of proof positive of what has only been a theory up to this point in this discussion.

    The question then becomes though, what if, instead of “DISALLOW” that page was only “NOINDEX”, would it then pass PageRank? 😉

  • 21. JLH  |  May 3rd, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    When it hits PR8 I’ll be selling viagra like it’s going out of style!

  • 22. 2deep  |  June 25th, 2007 at 11:41 am

    I still wonder how much effect it will all have. Will the changes solve the ongoing problems?

  • 23. theDuck  |  June 25th, 2007 at 11:42 am

    2deep – what ongoing problem are you describing?

  • 24. theDuck  |  June 25th, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    I had a look at your site (mind-zone) – for a nice, really well designed site, you do have a serious lack of inlinks – See yahoo’s take on the situation here

    So yes, I really do think ‘it’ will make a difference – you need to cultivate partnerships with other companies in your area, run press releases – all the same kind of things that you’d do in the offline world to promote a new business.



  • 25. July 2007 Pagerank (PR) U&hellip  |  July 16th, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    […] and how to improve your Page Rank between now and the likely August Pagerank Update, please see the following post. Some Other Relevant PostsWordpress Permalink Change – how long until it’s indexed? – June 22nd, […]

  • 26. October 2007 Pagerank Upd&hellip  |  October 27th, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    […] think there are a number of reason’s not to worry too much about Pagerank. I described my views about this around the last PR update in April, and I found this informative article about why pagerank isn’t something to worry about too […]

  • 27. 叶容秋  |  November 16th, 2007 at 5:38 pm


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