SearchWiki – The end of PageRank?

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  • November 21, 2008
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

Most of you are probably seeing SearchWiki in action today. It allows anybody to edit and comment on Google search results.

Of course the first thing most of you probably did was vote your sites and your clients up to the top. I did that and regretted it ever since because every day I think we have got top rankings and then have to remember that they aren’t real.

Also voting up sites on day 1 is basically a big red flag to Google saying “I’m an SEO and these are the sites I’m promoting”. Take a look at the SearchWiki notes for some competitive keywords to see what I mean.

Google is going to get a huge amount of data from this and they will use it in some way in the future. Anybody who is sceptical of Googles ability to use user data obviously hasn’t seen how effective Google Local has been in ranking restaurants based on how good they are rather than how many links they have.

What will happen when Google allows people to give star ratings to e-commerce sites in the search results? Big brands with good customer service are going to win. Sites with high quality information & loyal fans are going to win.

PageRank was the ultimate democratic method of rankings sites right up to the point SEO’s started buying links. PageRank was just a clever model to let Google figure out which sites people were voting for online.

Now Google has a big list of sites and a huge list of users they don’t need PageRank – they can ask users to vote directly rather than relying on links. The major flaw with PageRank is that only a few percent of people actually have websites and can influence the search results.

What would Google rather have at the top of the search results? A site that spends £100,000 a month on SEO or a site that 100,000 real life Google users have given a 5 star rating?

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