PageRankled: A Friday post

Update: This essay is mostly pointless, for reasons explained by Seth Finkelstein. See his comments or the update in midstream. (A pointless essay at W.a.R.? Well, no earthshattering surprise here…) For the record, though, I’ll leave the essay in place.

It’s been almost three months since Cites & Insights moved to its new home.

Three months and three issues.

Readership? OK. Hard to be sure how it compares; Urchin and Weblog Expert measure things differently. I know that the old site’s still getting a fair number of hits–actually, the average visits per typical day hasn’t dropped all that much, but there aren’t the usual issue-publication spikes. That’s reasonable: The new issues aren’t available at the old site. (Overall traffic on the old site is only down about 20% in the months since the move as compared to the months prior to the move.)

I think there are fewer readers for the most recent issues; it’s hard to be sure. There are more than enough to keep me writing. And readership for any given issue continues to grow over time. It’s likely to be a very long time before I ever have another essay that appears to have more than 19,000 readers (most of you can guess which 23,000-word, entire-issue essay that was).

But I was reminded today of just how much of one non-negotiable currency went away with the move. I got around to loading the Google Toolbar on my current version of Firefox (and have since moved the desired Google Toolbar items to the Bookmark toolbar or the Navigation toolbar, so I can keep the number of open toolbars down).

One amusing/impressive/terrifying portion of the Google Toolbar is the PageRank item.

This blog has a surprisingly high PageRank (6 at the moment), just as it has a whole bunch more daily visits than make any sense to me.

Cites & Insights had an even higher PageRank: 7, the number that search engine optimizers are supposedly willing to donate limbs to reach. Why not? Librarians are heavy linkers, and C&I has been around for a while.

The new site? Zero. Nada. Not even up to 1. See next paragraph: It’s really dropped from 7 to 6.

Update, Sunday, October 15: While I’ll leave this essay in place, turns out that the toolbar PageRank is out of date. Seth Finkelstein pointed me to a tool that checks Google’s data centers; they consistently show a PageRank of 6 for I’m not quite sure what 6 means in the scheme of things, but I know it’s plenty good enough. (This blog and my home page have the same rank. Eventually, I expect that the new C&I site will make it back to 7. No hurry.) Thanks, Seth–and as for the essay in general, the right summary may be “Never mind.”

I‘ll check every six months or so and see how long it takes to reach a nominal PageRank.

Fortunately, PageRank really is non-negotiable in this case. I’m not planning to add external ads to the C&I home page (if there are ads, they’ll be for my own books, if I ever get around to doing them). I took the ads off W.a.R. because they were taking up space and not yielding worthwhile revenue. For the highest-readership issues, most people don’t arrive via the front page in any case: They go directly to a PDF download or an HTML essay.

4 Responses to “PageRankled: A Friday post”

  1. I get, using web SEO tester tools, that has a PageRank of 6.
    Note that’s technically not the same as

    I’m not sure why those are not being merged.

    There’s also something odd about your site configuration, where I couldn’t connect to it with ‘lynx’, the text-mode browser, getting a 403 Forbidden error, although normal web browsers work fine. You might want to fix that glitch just in case it’s confusing spiders.

  2. walt says:

    Seth, I\’ll assume that the SEO tester tools use something different than Google\’s PageRank–or that Google\’s getting confused. Thanks for the info.

    To be honest, I didn\’t know there was a \”\” (maybe Blake established it automagically?). The site you tested is the home page as I consistently provide it [although, technically, that\’s probably an alias for my original domain registration,].

    PageRank of 6 is just fine by me.

    I have no idea how I\’d fix the lynx glitch; I think I\’m using fairly standard WordPress. Maybe Blake (who reads this from time to time) will have some idea. (Or maybe it\’s a side-effect of the increased server-side security?)

    Of course, my page rank isn\’t important; readership is, and it\’s highly unlikely that random searches would yield much of any readership that\’s of interest. Thus the Friday post: Curious but not very important.

    Hmm. I just noticed that my personal home page ( also has a Google PageRank of 6. That\’s also a little strange. I\’m guessing that C&I will gradually move up as new articles get links. I updated the two links to C&I pages in Wikipedia, but can\’t really do much about a few hundred (few thousand?) links elsewhere.

  3. Ah, see the full output of e.g.

    The toolbar data is a bit out-of-date. Real Google has it as a PR 6.

    If it was PR 0, it wouldn’t rank for a search on Cites and Insights.

    If you know the Boise State sysadmins, you could have do a permanent redirect to gets a lot of links from and this blog and it’s also in the DMOZ directory

  4. walt says:

    OK, that clarifies the issue. Dropping from 7 to 6 is No Big Deal. I’ve adjusted the now-pointless essay (Emily Littela springs to mind).

    I think I’ll leave The primary content of the home page is a redirect–but I’m also urging people to change links that they know about. Meanwhile, most traffic to that site is directly to one of the issues or essays; my current understanding is that those issues and essays will be around for a year or two, so I think I’ll let it be.