With the new PageRank rollout apparently finished, Google has done a humorous job of assessing our blog family.

Our entertainment adjunct, http://celebrity.rightpundits.com, gets about 12,000-15,000 minimum daily visitors, regularly over 1,000 daily repeat visitors, and has about 700 incoming websites including links from a lot of highly rated gossip blogs. It consistently contributes 5-6 worthwhile posts each day to the blogosphere. In Google’s PageRank estimation, this remarkable blog is a PR4.

Our wonderful volunteer contributors to http://celebrity.rightpundits.com have their own blogs that range in size from a few hundred daily visits to 3,500 daily visits. Three of them are PR5 and one is PR4. All of them increased in PR over the last cycle except for one. All of them are less relevant in the real world than our entertainment blog. They are all fairly assessed compared with similarly positioned gossip blogs except that one of the PR5’s is too high.

The PR4 rating for http://celebrity.rightpundits.com reveals an apparently significant problem in the algorithm. And as an aside, why was one of the most respected celeb bloggers on the net downgraded to a PR4?

We have actually tried to help Google and the blogosphere recognize our relevance by vigorously fighting an often-losing battle. http://celebrity.rightpundits.com is ripped off dozens of times each day by RSS thieves who steal posts and call them their own because at least THEY are able to recognize the value of our posts. We block image hotlinking, religiously delete and then block the abusers from trackbacks, and we go through the trouble of masking the RSS feed for abusers (when it is possible) with the WordPress “antileech” plugin. We deliberately use the “more” feature to further limit the theft.

I have talked with other bloggers about these maddening RSS thieves. Some look the other way because they feel the leechers might even help their standing by increasing the incoming links. That approach is not for us because we are not so smart.

Next I present the curious case of http://sports.rightpundits.com, Joe’s aborted experiment in the wide world of sports, which gets about 100 daily visitors (mostly all to one post), 0 repeat visitors and has 4 (!) incoming links. To avoid total meltdown, a grand total of three posts have been sheepishly placed on that blog in the last 4 months. This is an irrelevant blog we do hope has a future, but for its entire existence has been on life-support.

In the PageRank algorithm, this blog also rates a PR4! http://sports.rightfielders.com inexplicably earned a bump from a well-deserved PR0. Another domain that resolves there that was simply registered for fun and is used nowhere on the net also scores a PR4. Curious indeed.

And speaking of Joe’s Midas touch, the 709 lifetime visits on Joe’s abandoned blog also rates a PR4. By process of elimination, it must be true that yesterday’s one total visit was me. If you want an SEO expert, I’m sure that Joe will offer his services for the right fee!

http://www.bellezzegossip.com gets about 2,000 daily visitors, a few hundred repeat visitors, 40 incoming websites, and is labored over for hours each day by our charismatic European blogger. That blog rates a PR3. PR3? It takes effort to find examples of blogs between PR0 and PR4. To my jaded eye, PR4 seems to be merely Google’s acknowledgment that humans exist. I know this cannot be universally true, but to me PR3 is unusual enough that it seems to suggest a penalty. Why is http://www.bellezzegossip.com a PR3? Is the blogosphere so hegemonious that the Italian language is intentionally devalued?

Inexplicably a second URL that resolves to http://www.bellezzegossip.com actually rates a PR4! That URL was also registered for fun and has only been cited a few times on the net by mistake. In other words, we have the same blog with two URLs that have two different PageRanks, with the mistake URL rating higher. Explain that one.

Which brings me to http://www.RightPundits.com itself, the prideful parent domain for all of these blogs and our flagship political blog. http://www.RightPundits.com also rates, you guessed it, a PR4. PR4 is the rating with about 1500 daily visits which is pretty good in the political blogging world, several hundred incoming links from like-minded websites. a focused mission, and excellent writers.

Now please do not suggest that conservative thoughts are earning a PR penalty. Computer formulas do not work that way. Conspiracy theorists may unfortunately note, however, that some conservative blogs you all know were reduced in the last PageRank update for reasons that cannot have anything to do with how humans value them.

Before anyone sanctimoniously states that PR doesn’t matter or shouldn’t matter, let me remind you that we live in the real world on Right Pundits blog. PageRank matters because Google matters. Writing is a wasted effort unless it is read, and Google’s near-monopoly position (which was earned in my libertarian opinion) among search engines means that it has great influence over your readership. PageRank has nothing to do with good writing, but it has everything to do with influential writing.

And I realize that computer algorithms are models, that models are theoretical estimates, that they are often modeled poorly, and often need changed to remain useful. Models come with a standard deviation, and some data points will be unfortunately outcast in Mu.

I also realize there are things we might do to boost PageRank that would add no human value at all to our blog family. And there is an awful lot I don’t know about SEO, partly because the whole topic just bores me to death.

Are useless permalinks really that important to the algorithm? Shall I click a radio button that provides URLs to our readers that incorporate keywords that are endlessly strung together with dashes that nobody will ever notice except to frustrate everyone’s mouses? Do readers really want that undesirable outcome valued? And do we really have “too many” categories, and if so, why doesn’t the SEO literature at least agree on something as simple as this variable? Do our extra URLs diffuse the PageRank even though they aren’t used? Does the appropriate use of subdomains dumb down the entire blog family to the lowest common denominator?

This post is one part rant, one part informative, one part ignorance, and two parts a plea for help. Is anyone willing to help me understand our bewildering pagerank results? Does anyone know someone who knows someone? Benevolent help is appreciated, although paid help must be an option on a conservative blog which values capitalism as much as we do.