“The more visits of the page made by the users and the longer time periods spent by the users on the page, the more likely the page is important. We can leverage hundreds of millions of users’ implicit voting on page importance.” And so claims the findings of some Microsoft researchers in partnership with some Asian academic fellows in a research report on BrowseRank: Letting Web Users Vote for Page Importance.
The paper pointed out some problems with PageRank as it proposes a better way of valuing website in what it calls as BrowseRank. Among the points highlighted by the report against PageRank is the fact that is vulnerable to getting gamed by people through link farms. A strategy for rasining a website’s PageRank through multiple links coming from various sites that were created or were commissioned to link to a particular website to boost its search engine ranking. The paper also pointed out that PageRank’s indexing process doesn’t consider the time spent a user spends on a particular site.
The report then argues that:
“Experimental results show that BrowseRank can achieve better performance than existing methods, including PageRank…in important page finding, spam page fighting, and relevance ranking.”
The research is still on a continuing process and the researchers hope to further elaborate on the BrowseRank method of measuring the importance of website. But what the paper failed to mention is the fact that Google’s PageRank is not only dependent on links to websites but also on some other signals which its algorithn used to determine the position of websites on search engine results page.
For all its flaws and shortcomings, Google’s PageRank is still an industry accepted standard for a lot of things relating to website importance and values. And it would take more than user behavior analysis to disprove its importance and accuracy.In fact, we’re already anticipating another round of Google page rank update in the coming days.