Google’s Norvig: PageRank Is Overhyped

norvig-keynoteSpeaking today at SMX West in Santa Clara, Google’s Director of Research, Peter Norvig, said that PageRank is overhyped and probably needs a new name.

His comments came during the morning keynote session in a conversation with Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan and Chris Sherman.

After being asked about search technologies that he thinks are over-hyped, Norvig eventually pointed out that the public’s focus on PageRank is misguided and it may be time for a new name.

One thing that I think is still overhyped is PageRank. People think, yeah, you do this computation on the web graph and then you just order all the pages by that [PageRank]. Yes, that computation is important but it’s just one of many things. And people say, “Oh, well you’re stuck if you don’t have that.” We never felt that way. We never felt that it was such a big factor. It’s got the catchy name and the name recognition, but we’ve always looked at all the available data….

There is this confusion that there’s this one component that’s called PageRank, but the whole thing [Google's algorithm] has [also] been called that. That was a mistake. We need some better branding.

Google has taken steps to de-emphasize PageRank already, as recently as last October when it removed PageRank from Webmaster Tools. There’s also been discussion about the idea of dropping PageRank from the Google Toolbar, but that hasn’t happened.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: SEO | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • increase-traffic

    The new Google PR update is coming now in March (not sure what specific week). Then I should not worry about increasing backlinks in order to try to rank higher?

  • syscomm

    I look forward to seeing the changes they will bring related to Google Page Rank!

  • ContentArticleWriter

    If it is overhyped, then how come that is the only thing SEO experts and web marketers talk about? When I get orders my clients only mention the importance of PageRank. So what is the point to backlink building then?

  • wearepower2

    PageRank is long term reputation of website. Backlinks collection served a purpose to improve PageRank. Many manipulations with link building created ongoing scam which causes degradation of honest webmasters and the invasion of scam websites with the good PageRank but worthless web content or offer. If you enter any search topics (keyword phrase) in Google search today you will find many website in between the “Giants” with low or no PageRank at all yet highly positioning according to relevancy and content worthiness, which is, in my opinion the only way to go. Readers need fresh content and buyers need honest websites to trust. Backlinks today are just showing the search engine users that you website, article, blog is worth to enter. We; SEO Services created taboo out of PageRank and Backlinks in order to increase our prices.

  • TheMadHat

    Can we please stop talking about page rank now? I haven’t looked at it in over 2 years because it’s a useless metric and has absolutely no value whatsoever.

    So for the first 3 comments, stop building backlinks if your only point is to increase your page rank. And if that is actually your reason, get a new job.

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