Website or webpage ranking means how popular is a website or a web page on internet. Search engines and other analytic sites rank websites and web pages using various criteria including contents, links on the referring sites popularly known as backlinks and number of visitors per day. Indeed, none of the sites like Google, Yahoo, Bing, Alexa and others give exact criteria that they use to rank a website (may be they are scared that they can be challenged or people lose trust on their ranking system). This article is not written to inform the readers that search engines and other analytic sites provide ranking for websites as it is a common knowledge: there are some other important questions which are set to discuss in this article such as (1) how far we can rely on the assessment of search engines and other analytic sites ranking system? (2) Do the search engines and other analytic sites really give accurate picture of visitors? and (3) Can we can really rely on their page ranking?
It is not possible for analytic sites to rank inadequately the popular websites because if they do so everyone will question on the reliability of the system of ranking. Reliability of a system can only be tested when one checks how much it is reliable in assessing or analyzing non-famous websites.
The author of this article is managing 100s of websites and have access to view back-end traffic statistics; hence it can comfortably be said that relying on page ranking system of Google, yahoo, Alexa or similar websites is quite unreliable. It is interestingly marked that search engines like Google has ranked low traffic and less contents sites much higher compare to the sites which have high traffic, higher number of web pages, rich in contents and updating continuously. For example, Google ranked one the author’s sites as PR 2 which is far less traffic and contents from the site which is ranked as PR 1. PR 1 site was registered 6 months earlier to the PR 2 site but Google ranking system has also ignored this fact. Another site which claims to evaluate commercial value of a site showing a site consists of only 6 pages where as the site has around 40 pages. Yahoo pays a lot of importance on backlinking for ranking but its calculation is not very reliable. Similarly the sites that calculate backlining give very different results. Moreover, no one can tell how many times a site is evaluated for ranking purpose in a year.
All sites, that provide analytic review, use software or robots that crawl the internet to gather information. thus it would be naive to expect that any software or a robot has the ability to assess billions of websites accurately. Besides, all these robots follow the design of the developer to gather information and they are designed in such a way that help to achieve the owners’ interests and not its clients therefore analytic sites continuously change criteria of assessing site popularity. For example, when the most popular search engines found that the ‘traffic exchange sites’ threatened to their revenue they excluded the hits and visits from traffic exchange sites. From the author point of view, visit is a visit whether it comes from the exchange sites, search engine or any other referring sites and they should be calculated. Frankly speaking, there are billions of sites which are attracting good number of visitors even though they are not highly ranked or not easy to find through search engines. For example, the author ‘s hosting company is was difficult to find through search engines a few years back. Similarly, there are social networking and social media sites that might not be so attractive for search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing but have reasonable number of visitors.
Keep it in mind, search engines and ranking sites, in these days, deliberately do not give accurate picture of visitors of websites because they are scared that webmasters will start advertising on non-famous websites, which will be much cheaper, of course. Even if you advertise on so called non-popular websites (as per search engines), the advertisers will get some some referral visits from those websites (webmasters can confirm it by visiting their back-end statistics). Of course, if a webmaster advertise a website on a analytic site, the analytic site will improve the rating of the advertising website in its own system; however, the improved ranking in one analytic site does not necessarily improve the rating on the other analytic sites.
Crux of the article is, page ranking of search engines and similar sites is though important; their ranking system is not 100% correct therefore page ranking should not be taken as sole criteria for assessing popularity of a website. Those who are interested in finding out the real popularity of the site must assess it by using number of methods including asking the website owner to provide back-end statistics.
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