by: Kirk Bannerman
It's all about location, location, location!
In the past...back in the days when Google was IT when it came to natural search results...everyone was very focused (or shall we say obsessed?) on Google page rank.
Now that Google is a public company and the search business has become competitive (most notably due to the serious search capabilities now being offered by Yahoo and Microsoft, via MSN), Google has become much more "private" or secretive about things like page rank, backlinks, etc.
As a matter of fact, many are of the opinion that Google is now intentionally displaying outdated page rank and backlink information on the Google Toolbar in an effort to mask the true workings of Google and to frustrate the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) community, which had become fairly skillful at "playing the Google game". If this is the case, then Google page rank fixation is now pure folly.
Another factor that is closely watched by webmasters is the Alexa traffic rank. This traffic rank is based on three months of aggregated historical traffic data from millions of Alexa Toolbar users.
However, the Alexa user base is only a sample of the Internet population, and sites with relatively low traffic will not be accurately ranked by Alexa due to the statistical limitations of the sample.
Alexa's data come from a large sample of several million Alexa Toolbar users; however, this is not large enough to accurately determine the rankings of sites with fewer than roughly 1,000 total monthly visitors.
Generally speaking, traffic rankings of over 100,000 should be regarded as not reliable because the amount of data that Alexa has available is not statistically significant.
Who said the emperor is wearing no clothes?
With the questionable current accuracy of two of the hallowed benchmarks of search popularity, where does that leave us? It leaves us exactly where we should have been in the first place, not obsessing over Google Page Rank or Alexa Traffic Rank, but instead focusing on the most important thing of all...and that is, what is your position in the listings when a person searches for your key words.
For both search engines and real estate, it's all about location, location, location!