PageRank is Obsolete

I have a number of websites that I run.  One of them, the Restaurant Thing website, gets a lot of traffic and has quite a few outside links to it

Another, the Ottawa Events site, has no links to it save the ones on this very blog, and it’s not linked to very much, so in Google’s eyes, the Ottawa Events site isn’t very important.

But if you search for Ottawa Events on Google, take a look at what you get.  The #1 link has only two events listed for December.  The #2 link is a database that has a lot of stuff in it but very little of it is timely.  The #3 link is “Events This Week August 2005”.  The #4 link is events going on in August and September.  Hardly relevant. 

When you search for Ottawa Events on MSN, the Ottawa Events site is the #3 listing.  Even though the site has only been up for a couple of months, and even though there are no links to it. 

Those are two criteria that Google makes a big deal of – how long a site has been around, and how many links there are to it.  But the first of those doesn’t really mean anything – a good site can be created in no time, and an old site can surely suck – and the second has turned into a game that the search engine optimization folks play. 

I get asked all the time to put links in my site in exchange for reciprocal link.  This would make for better placement on Google, but I just don’t want to clutter my site with irrelevant links.

The problem with PageRank is it leaves the ranking of the page up to the Internet, and the Internet is hardly trustworthy.  It also tends to create cliques – circles of sites that link to each other, like the A-List Bloggers.  But it doesn’t expose new, unique content until someone else has discovered it and propagated links to it.

I’m not switching my searching to MSN quite yet, since Google has so many cool bonuses, but I think that the core search results that MSN is generating these days are often better than Google’s.  That’s significant.