Mostly Everything

Google PR is just a number and this is my miracle explanation why

Putting things in perspective, I believe the issue about the Google PR numbers game is at most, a relative discourse. Yuga says that bloggers should not rely on Google PageRank and Riz exposes the idea that PageRank is a wonky statistic.

Let me give an analogy of how Google PageRank works in the light of print industry. In the beginning, a lot of media buyers would rely on ONE thing when it came to advertising on print. That THING would be the claimed circulation figures that a publishing sales team would present forward. Anybody could claim a readership of 10,000 copies nationwide but in reality the print run receipt would only amount to 1,500 copies. How bad! How evil! But why is this done? There would be such arbitrary things to consider such as pass on readership figures which were all transcribed from an in house formulae which nobody had any idea how it was calculated.


Magazine stand visibility was another thing. So many of the same mag issue adorned the wooden displays at bookstores. Did it mean that the magazine sold well? No. Not really. It could simply mean that the particular issue was overstocked. There was so much market visibility BECAUSE there was very little conversion to sales. And magazine stands wouldn’t care less anyway as they stock on consignment.

What’s my point? There are so many things going on when it comes to determining what really brings influence forward. A magazine may only have 1,000 readers but what if their ads are all targeted towards the market? Advertisers still don’t realize this because the truth is, they don’t want to, and don’t have the time to dwell on such things. That’s the broker’s job.

The Google PageRank issue is proof that the online publishing / advertising industry is still in its infancy. PageRank, Technorati links, actual traffic … these are but figures which are arbitrarily defined by the industry as measures for influence and reach. But there has to be a system somewhere – a system that’s easy to understand and Google has made that system a no brainer for advertisers to grasp, using a scale of 1 to 10. And hey, who can contradict the number 1 company in the world? That’s advertising made simple.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast and sitting Techbology Editor for The Philippine STAR.

He is also an EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

11 replies on “Google PR is just a number and this is my miracle explanation why”

There’s a huge difference between how PR, Technorati links and Traffic are regarded by the online publishing industry.

Google PR is just a mythical number — no definite public formula that everybody can scrutinize and agree on. Technorati inlinks is empirical — meaning what you see is what you get. Except of course byt he fact that Technorati only counts linking blogs and no other sites. At the same time, their count is a hit or miss as well since they do nto crawl all blog providers like livejournal, multiply, etc.

As for traffic, I believe we can all agree that say if everybody uses Google Analytics or Sitemeter, one can accurately determine who’s on top and who’s not. There will be no question if my Google Analytics says 5k pageviews a day and yours have 10k pageviews.

There’s a huge difference between perceived influence/reach vs. actual numerical data.

true. IMO, the parallel is more like.

Google PR: Philippine Web Awards
Google Analytics: Actual Monthly Subscription Sales
Technorati Inlinks: Actual Readership

Actually, The publishing industry in the UK makes use of the National Readership Survey ( To ascertain how long the reach and how well the paper is doing. And often times the results of these data are much awaited – mainly because its a source of pride and a good tool to market the newspaper and even on-line space.

It is also important to note that the company or organization doing the survey is not the one running the business ie it pays for them to be balanced.

The data from such surveys are of course balance out on the other end by sales figures of newspapers or subscriptions.

And to a certain extent awards given by out each year.

Why am I stating this? Preoccupation with statistics generated by a biased business is unreliable because it is open to several criticism and counter claims. Yes. numbers are impressive but they have to come from an unbiased source or at least be checked for fitness and can pass a review.

When you submit findings or results it has to survive the test of credibility. Was the methodology and analysis sound? Also is the finding supported by other sources of data or studies?

I mean if you are going to rely on descriptive statistics to prove a point or even a rank. Make sure it is backed by other data from other sources. Hopefully, not the one involved in the business itself.

The online publishing industry is still growing and it will not probably hurt to adopt some of the measures of performance used by its predecessor.

Overall reliance on a number, an un-triangulated set of statistics seems foolish.

juned! i forgot to mention in my post that nowadays we have a new survey used to measure media penetration in the philippines. that survey is called the Synnovate Survey. it measures print and broadcast via random telephone surveys if i am not mistaken. by far it seems to be the most accurate measure of influence and consumer penetration. they also survey what goods readers of magazines own (tech magazine readers that own cars, cameras, phones, etc)

Just a correction. Readership is not quantified with the number of copies printed. basic masscomm and journ principle is each printed copy is viewed by up to 6 persons, because that’s the estimated average of members in a household. It’s called shared readership/viewership (if about TV).

Don’t compare readership stats of print or broadcast to that of online publications. There’s no such thing as shared viewership online.

Jayvee, There is however instances when a single profile/account can and has been used by more than one individual and sometimes at the same time. This is true for Newspapers and their databases. A company or a family can have only one account and have it used by several individuals. Although there are moves that have been done to limit this so that a profile can be used only one at a time. So in certain instances there is a shared viewership.

@just dropping by, you can still do a relative comparison of print vs online. look at juned’s comment and you will see why. in the same way that a nespaper is shared by one household, a computer and internet connection is also shared by one household.

IMO Google PR is just a tool used by Advertiser to gauge if a site has a lot of “visitors” or has a lot of website linking to it. Personally I would rather gauge my sites popularity by the number of subscribers and/or comments made by readers.

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