Pagerank, Content Farms, Search Quality and Black Hat SEO

Last update : June 29, 2013
PageRank is a link analysis algorithm, named after Larry Page and used by the Google Internet search engine, that assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents. PageRank has been patented; the patent is assigned to Stanford University and exclusively licensed to Google.

The PageRank of a website is shown in the Google toolbar. The PageRank score was however removed by Google in October 2009 from the Webmaster Tools, because Google has been telling people for a long time that they shouldn’t focus on PageRank so much. PageRank is not an important metric for search engine optimisation.

Several providers continue to find the  PageRank data useful and offer free PageRank checkers, for instance at the website

The term content farm is used to describe a company that employs large numbers of often freelance writers to generate large amounts of textual content which is specifically designed to satisfy algorithms for maximal retrieval by automated search engines. Their main goal is to generate advertising revenue through attracting reader page views. Critics allege that content farms provide relatively low quality content.

Search engines see content farms as a problem, as they tend to bring the user to less relevant and lower quality results of the search. On February 24th, 2011, Google announced that they were making a substantial change in their ranking algorithms to purge low-quality informations in the search results.

A black hat is the bad guy in a western movie. In computing slang it refers to a computer hacker. Black Hat search engine optimization is defined as techniques that are used to get higher search rankings in an unethical manner. Some of these techniques are keyword stuffing, invisible (hidden) text, cloaking, duplicate content and doorway pages.

Further informations about the Google search algorithms are available at the scriptol website.