Dear Jill

I am still what is called a 'greenhorn' when it comes to SEO. I am an avid reader of your newsletter and have been cruising around at your forum.

Great place!

Today when I went to my client's website, Google told me the site's PageRank (PR) is 1. A couple of hours later, while I was on the phone I needed to call up that site again and voila, the PR had increased from 1 to 3! I thought this was all a mistake and went back using those free SEO tools for page rank checking. Well, all reports showed PR 1. I just checked on the website a couple of minutes ago, and Google tells me that the PR is back to 1. Now I am really confused. Within 8 hours my Google toolbar showed a webpage climbing from PR 1 to PR3, and back to PR1? Actually while I am writing here it's back to PR 3.

Would love to hear from you whenever you find the time.

Kind regards,


Jill's Response

Hi Jutta,

A few things about PR that you and everyone else need to know:

1. The PR you see on your Google toolbar is only a representation of your page's true PageRank, which only Google really knows.

2. The Google toolbar is flakey. As you've seen, it can show one number at one time and another at another time. This has nothing to do with YOUR page; it's simply a toolbar issue.

3. Google's PageRank number as shown by the toolbar means next to nothing.

It's not something you need to chase after, look at, worry about, wonder about, or care about. It has nothing to do with how much traffic your site will get from the search engines, nor how well it will rank for the phrases that are relevant to it.

My advice for you would be to turn off the green bar aspect of your toolbar and move on with your life. Nothing lost, nothing gained. You'll thank me for it later. :-)


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March 23, 2006

CEO and founder of High Rankings®, Jill Whalen has been performing search engine optimization since 1995 and is the host of the free High Rankings Advisor search engine marketing newsletter, author of "The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines" and founder/administrator of the popular High Rankings Search Engine Optimization Forum. In 2006, Jill co-founded SEMNE, a local search engine marketing networking organization for people and companies in New England.

High Rankings is an internationally recognized search engine optimization firm located in Framingham, MA specializing in search engine optimization, SEO consultations, in-house training, site audit reports, search marketing seminars and workshops. High Rankings has a 100% success rate for substantially improving client rankings and targeted traffic.

Jill speaks at national and international conferences and has been writing about SEO and search marketing since 2000. She's been quoted in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post. Her articles have appeared in numerous print magazines and online websites including CIO Magazine, CMS Focus, The Internet Marketing Report, ClickZ, WorkZ,, Entrepreneur, Lycos Small Business, WebProNews, SiteProNews and others. Jill has also appeared on many online and offline radio programs such as Entrepreneur Magazine's E-Biz Radio Show, SearchEngineRadio and the eMarketing Talkshow.

Search Engine Guide > Jill Whalen > Mysterious Changing PR