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Q: Google Search Results: PageRank and Why do I rank #1? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Google Search Results: PageRank and Why do I rank #1?
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: respree-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 26 Aug 2002 09:49 PDT
Expires: 25 Sep 2002 09:49 PDT
Question ID: 58650
Google SEO Experts:

I'm completely puzzled by this one.  There seems to be a lot of
discussion about Google's PageRank.  Quality external sites linking to
a site's page boosts the popularity of that page, which Google appears
to place a significant amount of weight in its search results

Not that I'm complaining, but I have a #1 Google ranking on the search
term "Andrew Wyeth Master Bedroom."  I'd like to understand why. 
There doesn't appear to be a lack of competition (there are about
2,200 search results found). The perplexing thing about it is that the
PageRank for this number one ranking page is ZERO (0).  Obviously,
Google has indexed the page, but there are no inbound links to this
page.  Here's the question.  If Google deems this page so unpopular
(i.e. PageRank = "0"), how can it achieve a number 1 ranking in the
search results? Additionally, I have hundreds of other (product) pages
indexed by Google utilizing the exact same methodology (with respect
to meta tags) and a #1 ranking is nowhere in site. Odd, huh?

I am looking for links to articles on how this can happen.

The URL in question is:

The Google search phrase is:
Andrew Wyeth Master Bedroom (with or without quotes yields the same

Am I wrong in the assumption that Google places a 'significant' amount
of weight on PageRank.  I don't think I'm wrong.  There is too much
evidence suggesting it plays an important part.

Thanks in advance for help.
Subject: Re: Google Search Results: PageRank and Why do I rank #1?
Answered By: morris-ga on 26 Aug 2002 11:08 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

Your are #1 without quotes, with quotes you don't show up at all, and
the #1 is  which shows up #2
on the without quote search. This is for the search phrase you have
given, Andrew Wyeth Master Bedroom. If you reorder the words, Master
Bedroom Andrew Wyeth, you become #1 on both searches. The use of
quotes limits Google to exact matches, which explains why you don't
show up at all when the wrong order is used.

Now, according to my Google Toolbar, your page 

indeed has a page rank of "0". What it does have going for it is a
great Title. Google overweights title tags in searching, before
applying the page rank filter. For example, your page: 

is # 4 on Google when bradford house andrew wyeth is the search
phrase, or #2 when it is in quotes.

Another example, you are #1 on Google for Madame Stumpg and Her
Jean-Baptiste, without quotes, and you are #1 and THE ONLY SITE with

The title tag is the crucial factor when it comes to Google returns
for long phrases on esoteric subjects. Since most people are competing
for traffic on popular subjects (sex, computers, health), the page
rank comes into much greater play with them. The crucial thing to
remember is that page rank is an "after the fact" filter, once the
target pages have been narrowed down through the search phrase.

I'm going to give you a few pages that talk about the importance of
the title tag, though I hope the explanation and examples above have
clarified the situation for you.

In the article "Title Tag Strategies" on the Search Engine Strategies
site, they state "Your title tag is by far the most important tag on
your web site from an optimizing stand point. Actually, in my
professional opinion, the title tag is probably the single most
important element of your web site along with your keyword rich text.
This will be contrary to what many others are trying to teach these
days. Most will tell you that your meta tags are the web optimizing
hidden secret to success. Sorry, they are wrong. If meta tags were the
answer, everyone would be ranked number one wouldn’t they? "

Michael McKown writes "Title tag: Probably the most important tag of
all, very important to website promotion for a few different reasons.
Keywords go here."

These agree with my personal experinece, which I summed up in an
article about using Google Adwords to optimize your site:

Your site should do very well when people search on the Artist name
and Painting title together.

Google Search Strategy:

importance of title tag in google

Request for Answer Clarification by respree-ga on 26 Aug 2002 12:22 PDT
Thanks very much for your prompt response.

Your explanation seems reasonable, but I'd like some clarification.

While I do not disagree with you that the title tag is of huge
importance, I'm not so sure I agree that Google 'overweighs' the title
(as quoted in the article you referred me to).
"Try it out. Search for any topic on When Google displays
the search result, the very first line is the title tag. You can view
any page you choose and I assure you that the title tag will match the
top line on the search result. This title tag is almost like a master

I'll back my conclusion with one of the examples you used.

Keyphrase: bradford house andrew wyeth (without the quotes)

My page, which comes up #3 in Google, contains an 'exact' match of the
keyphrase.  Yet positions #1 and #2 on that search do not.

#1 Ranking Title: Andrew Wyeth Prints and Paintings (PageRank 4)
#2 Ranking Title: Your guide to the Brandywine
Valley (PageRank 5)
#3 Ranking Title (me): art prints and posters: Bradford House Andrew
Wyeth - (PageRank 0)

You'll notice 'andrew wyeth' appears in #1 ranked site, but 'bradford
house' does not.

Interestingly, the #2 ranked site does 'not' contain either 'andrew
wyeth' or 'bradford house.'

QUESTION: Given your view on the importance of the title, can you
comment on why I don't rank higher than #1 and #2 in the example
above?  The above example, as with my original question, appears to
support that PageRank (or some other component) is given more weight
than title.

Thanks for all your help!

Clarification of Answer by morris-ga on 26 Aug 2002 14:04 PDT
You were actually ranked #4 when I tried it:

The top return

has a page rank (4),repeats "andrew weyth" three times in the text and
"wyeth" a 4th, has "Andrew Weyth" in the title, and links a photo of
"Bradford House". While you would beat them on a simple title duel,
they have more than enough good content to get them in the running
where the page rank can trump you.

only has "andrew weyth" and "bradford house" once each, but that's
enough to get them in the running for our search phrase, and their
page rank is 5. This page also features very limited text, and none of
the key words we're looking for are in the Meta Tags, so it's an
excellent example of a good page rank paying off.

has "Andrew Weyth" in the title, the exact "Andrew Wyeth Bradford
House" in a picture link, and many other "weyth's" including in
keyword tags. However, it's page rank is only 3. However, if you
search in quotes, this is the only page to beat you, since they
include the exact phrase, and have a page rank.

What we are seeing is that page rank does make a difference, but only
when the pages have already been vetted by Google's basic sorting
algorithms. I probably took a shortcut when I used the word "esoteric"
to describe pages for which the title tag beats all. For example, look
at the #10 result,

They have Weyth in the title, "Bradford House" repeated three time for
picture links for different sizes. Where they fail our criteria is not
having "Andrew" in the text, although it repeats many times in the
underlying HTML in ALT tags for the pictures. They also have a page
rank (2) yet you beat them handily. The 5 other rankers in the top 10
include two 3's, 2 4's, and a 5. The page immediately after you has
everything required to compete for #1 in this search, except the title

I guess I'm relying quite a bit on personal experience when I say
Google overweights the title tag. I've seen dozens of instances where
simply changing the title of a page causes it to leap from off the
charts to #1 FOR A PARTICULAR SEARCH PHRASE, or at least make the top
5 if there isn't serious competition. You aren't alone in questioning
this logic, I'd be lying if I told you this was the majority position
of SEO world, it's just one of several core approaches.

It's not a spamming technique, it's a question of proper labeling.
But, if you're in a category, like "Build a PC" where there are
hundred of ranked sites that have "Build a PC" right in the title, you
aren't going to get anywhere with a change of title tag unless you can
come up with a longer title containing something people might search
on, like "Build a Solar Powered PC." Even without quotes, this search
ignores all "Build a PC" pages that don't include solar power, so if
you actually wanted to build a site that got in the top five for this
search, you could easily do it.

The power of the title tag is to make you a biggish fish in a smallish
pond. While Andrew Weyth, for example, is a famous artist with many
pages mentioning him, very few do so in the title like you do, so you
reap the benefit.

respree-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Great.  Thanks very much for both your answer and well explained clarification.

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