Popularity Contest: How to reveal your invisible PageRank

by Hamlet Batista | July 10, 2007 | 19 Comments

podium.jpgLet's face it. We all like to check the Google PageRank bar to see how important websites, especially ours, are for Google. This tells us how cool and popular our site is.

For those of us who are popularity-obsessed, the sad part is that the other search engines do not provide a similar feature, and Google's visible PageRank is updated only every 3 months (the real PageRank is invisible). This blog is two months old and doesn't have a visible PageRank yet, but I get referrals from many long tail searches, ergo it has to have a PageRank already. 

How can you tell what your PageRank is without waiting for the public update? Keep reading to learn this useful tip. This technique is not bulletproof, but you can get a rough estimate of your invisible PageRank — and how important your pages are for the other search engines as well — by studying how frequently your page is indexed.
To understand how this works, let's talk about something you've always suspected. Search engines, like teenagers, care a lot about popularity. They visit (crawl) the most important pages more frequently, the ones that are updated daily. Why? Because updated pages are cooler and more interesting to searchers. And after all, why waste bandwidth visiting boring personal homepages that change once every few months, when all the kids want to know about the popular ones that are going all night long?

So how popular are you? To put it one way, you are as popular as you are frequently indexed. You can easily tell when a page is indexed by looking at the cached copy date. It is not surprising to see pages like digg.com that are always cached with today's date. Digg has a PageRank of 8. You can probably see pages on this blog or yours whose cache date is several days or weeks old. The tricky thing is that you need to consider the update frequency as well.

Here are the steps required to put this to work:

1. Go to the search engine you want to study (Google, Yahoo, Live, etc.).
2. Check popular blogs and news sites that get updated at least daily and check the date of the cache.
3. Repeat step 2 for blogs with decreasing popularity.
4. Create a new post and see how long it takes the search engine to crawl and index your page. If it's not your page, monitor an RSS feed and see when it was cached.
5. Create a table and rank the sites by popularity, include the indexing frequency.
6. Order by indexing frequency and you will have your site rank or importance for that search engine.

While this trick isn't perfect, it does give you a good idea of how important your site is for any search engine. And with a little work, you'll be indexing with the popular kids some day soon!

Hamlet Batista

Chief Executive Officer

Hamlet Batista is CEO and founder of RankSense, an agile SEO platform for online retailers and manufacturers. He holds US patents on innovative SEO technologies, started doing SEO as a successful affiliate marketer back in 2002, and believes great SEO results should not take 6 months

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