How’s your page rank? Better question yet, how’s your PageRank?

You’re forgiven if you don’t know the answers, or don’t even know what PageRank is. But Search Engine Optimization Consultants know, and over the last few weeks Google’s dropped their own PageRank, then raised it again. SEO Consultants are scratching their heads on how and why that would happen, but I think I know the answer:

Google’s afraid of anti-trust legislation being threatened by the United States Congress, and their PageRank fluctuations are a misdirect. And a pretty clever one at that.

PageRank is one of the things that makes it worthwhile for you to hire an SEO Consultant, by the way. Google assigns every page it knows about on the Internet a score from 1 to 10 (or assigns no rank at all, a de facto “PageRank Zero”), and getting to each successive rank is exponentially more difficult than the previous one. And your rank determines … how important a link from you is to everyone else.

Stop for a second and think about that. PageRank doesn’t actually mean much of anything to your ability to rank highly in search engines. It instead controls how important a link FROM you TO someone else is in Google’s estimation of that other site’s importance by virtue of having received a link from you.

Which is enough to make your head explode, right? Here’s the thing: if you have a high PageRank it might not help you as much as it does everyone else, but if you have a high enough PageRank it’s a sign that you matter.

Last year, I wrote a white paper on Google’s Secret Sauce. I explained PageRank a bit, and told you that Google was one of just a few websites that Google itself had assigned a PageRank of 10 (see page 4 of the White Paper for that information). A few weeks ago, Google’s PageRank dropped to 9, which makes no sense; Google draws over 7% of ALL Internet traffic.

Now, Google’s back up to a PageRank of 10. That’s fine, and obviously as it should be. What’s amazing to we SEO types is that this happened so quickly; in general Google only updates PageRank scores once or twice each year. So why is Google back to a PageRank 10 so quickly after becoming a PageRank 9?

It’s not exactly ego, although that would make sense. Imagine if you were Google and realized that your search engine algorithm had somehow dropped you from 10 to 9. You’d tweak things to fix that, right?

Or, try this one on: Google is coming under increasing anti-trust scrutiny by the United States Congress. What if they could claim that even they, Google, are subject to the same whims as anyone else when it comes to how their software sees them?

Yes, Mr. Senator, of course we “should” get a PageRank 10, but as you can see, our software made us a 9 for a few weeks in June and July 2011. Anti-trust violation? What anti-trust violation? It’s all software, not monopolistic business practices!

Smart dudes, those Googloids.

Understanding a bit more about why you need to understand Google and Search Engine Optimization?

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