Google PageRank is pretty elusive. On the other hand, Google has divulged enough information over the years to allow the savviest webmasters figure out how they weigh specific factors against search engine rankings. PageRank generally works by counting link quantity and quality to a web page, which provides a basic estimate of the website’s importance. Many savvy webmasters assume that, according to PageRank, important websites are more likely to harbor more links from other sites across the web.
It’s not Google’s sole algorithm, but it’s the ‘big one’ most webmasters look at when they want to know if Google’s shaking up how their search engine results pages work again. And now that looks to be the case again.
A New Page Rank Factor?
According to a recent New Scientist article, Google may be changing up how PageRank determines the quality of web pages.
This new factor is purported to determine how accurate a web page may really be. The report, which provided information from a recent Google Research paper, revealed that Google researchers are more or less exploring how to rank search pages based on a ‘facts-based’ factor.
Knowledge-Based Trust, or KBT, is the term used in the paper to describe how the search engine may potentially ‘determine web page quality based on the accuracy of its information.’
The KBT factor was said to rely on ‘endogenous signals,’ or the accuracy of factual information provided by a web source. Interestingly enough, the researchers commented that ‘sources with a few false facts are considered trustworthy.’
The factor would draw upon information (to determine PageRank, among others) using an extraction process that ‘compares facts found on web pages to those stored in a knowledge base.’ Information that would successfully match what’s stored in the ‘Knowledge Vault’ would then be weighted as an accurate web page.
In the case of a site barely making the factor’s requirements, KBT may potentially weigh facts from the website’s other web pages to determine its factual accuracy.
KBT: An Alternative Factor
The Knowledge-Based Trust Factor isn’t, according to what we know, supposed to completely replace Google’s other existing PageRank factors. Instead, it’s supposed to act as a supplement. Some savvy webmasters do have concerns about how the factor may work.
For example, not all websites exist to provide ‘factual’ information. Many exist for the purposes of entertainment, commerce, socialization and other business-related tasks.
Not only that, Google’s own growing Knowledge Base may have limitations.
Since technology and other important discoveries always break each year, a hypothetically active KBT factor might not update in time to ‘catch’ web pages that don’t always remain evergreen.
Still, the Knowledge-Based Trust factor is an interesting look into what Google’s been researching over the past few years. It’s pretty fascinating to see what the search engine conglomerate plans to do to refine PageRank and how their search engine may rank results in the next few years.