Matt Cutts On Separating Authority From Popularity In Page Rank

In a recent vlog, Matt Cutts brought up the issue of separating page popularity from page rank. It’s something that many people have questioned as past Google algorithms have looked to target popular pages for search queries, although Cutts was quick to suggest that Google would be introducing algorithms that would search for true authority in the future.

Cutts explained that “popularity is a measure of where people go, whereas page rank is much more of a measure of reputation”. His example was that porn sites, whilst attracting a lot of traffic, would hardly ever be linked back to, so there was little authority with these sites. On the other hand, government based sites that don’t have much popularity often have plenty of authority.

Cutts explained that Google currently had some algorithmic changes in the pipeline that would look to make the most of authority rather than popularity. The changes would try and figure out which sites were best for the specific queries being searched by looking at the authority of the source.

Therefore, if someone has worked tirelessly providing information on a website about the travel market, then they have the authority to rank higher in Google. Whilst this site may not be visited often, it is far more likely to provide the answers to a search query to do with travel. This all means that more attention will be focused on specific content on pages and not just the popularity of a page.

Overall, Cutts was trying to address the issue by explaining that page rank was not down to popularity. His news regarding the new Google algorithms is also encouraging for those of us who have put the work in to become excellent sources of information for specific search queries, so the hard work could pay off in the future.

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