Google restructures its PageRank methodology (3052)

admin//October 25, 2004

Google restructures its PageRank methodology (3052)

admin//October 25, 2004

A recent change by Google (in early 2004) has knocked a few companies out of their top spots. Companies are noticing that their No. 1 placements for certain keywords on Google are gone overnight. What happened?

Google implemented a change that was nicknamed “Florida.” This change has created huge controversy because many people are accusing Google of trying to increase revenues by forcing companies to buy keywords on Adwords (Advertisements on Google).

After a little research, an algorithm named Hilltop was found to be responsible. (Please bear with me while I explain the details and how it can affect your website). To understand this algorithm, we must first look at the Google search engine. A tool called PageRank is used by Google to drive their search engine, you can read more about their search engine technology at http://www.google.com/corporate/tech.html.

Basically PageRank looks at pages and gives them votes based on their incoming and outgoing links. If Page A is linked to Page B, then Page A is sending a vote to Page B saying that this page is relevant and then the PageRank of Page B goes up. If Page A is an important page with a high PageRank it will have a weightier vote and the Page-Rank of Page B will go up even more. If Page A is not relevant and has a small Page- Rank, its link (or vote) will not have as much impact.

In fact, there are some websites that sell their PageRank; often they are university sites with thousands of incoming and outgoing links. These sites have huge PageRank and most of the time the university does not even know the power of the links they are selling (so you can get them really cheap).

The problem with PageRank is that it has trouble filtering out spam and differentiating between sites that have relevant information and those that have irrelevant information. The fix that Google adopted was called “Hilltop,” which was created by Krishna Bharat at Compaq Systems Research Center and George A. Mihaila, a professor of computer science at the University of Toronto. Here is a brief explanation of how Hilltop works:

&#149 It counts the number of relevant and meaningful links (related to the topic) coming into the website.

&#149 The websites that have a large number of meaningful links and volume pages are named “authority sites.”

&#149 These authority sites usually see higher rankings under the assumption that they are of greater value.

&#149 Websites with little hyperlinks, links not related to their topic, MLM affiliates, and affiliate program links are devalued.

Here is the old PageRank Formula and the new PageRank formula that includes the Hilltop algorithm:

Old Google Ranking Formula = {(1-d)+a (RS)} * {(1-e)+b (PR * fb)}.

New Google Ranking Formula = {(1-d)+a (RS)} * {(1-e)+b (PR * fb)} * {(1-f)+c (LS)}.

Even this new Hilltop program had flaws, so Google implemented a two-step process that combined Page-Rank with Hilltop. To get top rankings you must satisfy both, which meanings receiving a number of quality inbound links from authority sites (PageRank) combined with relevant inbound hypertext links (Hilltop). Just as it has been in the past, content is king and linking is more important than ever.

As a business owner, you now need relevant inbound hypertext links. This is the new change that has taken place with the implementation of Hilltop. This new factor means that Google will look at the relevance of the pages that link to your site. When searching for links to point at your website, choose those pages with a high PageRank (4 or higher), and make sure that the actual link they place on their website has some of your most important keywords.

A few conclusions can be drawn from this new program. 1) Google is not trying to force companies to spend more money on keywords; they simply are trying to improve their search results. 2) Search engine optimization (SEO) is now more complicated than it has ever been. Since Google handles 75 to 85 percent of the searches on the Internet, companies need top rankings on this search engine to survive. This means optimizing your pages for PageRank and Hilltop.

Brad Chase is founder and president of Progressive Health Nutraceuticals (www.progressivehealth.com). He may be reached at 343-6781 or [email protected].