Does Google Manipulate Page Rankings for its Properties?


The other day I was using a page rank checking tool to compare one of my websites versus the competition. Having recently read the news that three of the top Google searches during 2006 were names of social networks, I decided to run a little experiment.

To recap, the most popular Google searches for all of 2006 were:

  1. Bebo
  2. Myspace
  3. World cup
  4. Metacafe
  5. Radioblog

As most users know, the “tops dogs” in terms of tracking user traffic are: ComScore and Alexa. Here is a list of the most popular networks according to ComScore, as of May 2006:


During 2006 the most popular was without question Myspace.

Based simply on user traffic (which we also might think correlated to backlinks and other page rank goodies), one would think that the networks with the highest Page Ranks would be those networks that are 1) most popular based on user traffic and 2) those networks most often searched for.

However, this is not the case ’“ especially for those networks owned by Google. I have posted my results below and highlighted the Google owned networks in pink.

The first ranking that looks odd to me is Orkut, Google’s social network, which is rated as highly as Myspace (both PR8) and ranked HIGHER than Facebook (PR7). HMMM.


Google also owns the mobile phone networking site (PR7). Amazingly, according to Google page rank Dodgeball has the same rank as (both PR7) and Bebo (PR7) even though Bebo was the most popular search term in all of Google.

I am no SEO genius, but something seems fishy to me.


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