Please allow me to clarify a few things.
- Sites aren’t assigned PR, PR is assigned to individual pages.
- PR is not for sale – it is assigned by Google and will not neccessarily transfer with the purchase of a website.
- If a page has a PR 5 with little or no corresponding trafffic it is likely fake or being manipulated to inflate the value of a sale and therefor not likely to transfer with a purchase.
- PR is internally updated in real-time but only made public once every few months, so there is no way to know the real current PR.
In my opinion it would be very foolish to value a website based upon PR alone. Traffic would be a much more reliable metric and you should understand the source of the traffic to determine the likeliness of those sources continuing to generate traffic after a purchase is consummated.
I believe you underestimate Google’s ability use granularity beyond the level of a website topic. All major search engines have the ability to analyze relevance down to the individual HTML elements.
Google in particular uses prominence and proximity to determine relevance at an even more granular level within individual elements. They have done this from the very first beta versions of their search engine. Sergey Brin and Larry Page have extensively documented this ability in their earliest public documents of the Google search engine technology while still students at Stanford.
Tom, I have enjoyed your intelligent and articulate posts and believe you will have little difficulty grasping the core principals Google employs when you read their documentation.
Constantly referring to website topics as an indication of relevance is not useful since search engines are far more granular in their analysis of relevance. It would be more accurate to say that search engines never try to determine website relevance since it has no practical application in their technology.
Website topic relevance remains primarily a technique of website directories and search engines were invented to overcome the limitations of such techniques. When one attempts to inject the goals of a website directory onto the performance of a search engine I must question that persons fundamental understanding of the role of a search engine. Search engines were developed to specifically to go beyond the scope of a website topic and determine relevance within individual sections of individual documents. This is fundamental.
I would like to see this forum become a source for reliable and accurate information. I do not mean to hurt anyones feelings by pointing out what I believe to be inaccurate assertions and I welcome that scrutiny in my own assertions. Please point out where I am wrong.
My basic assertion is that search engines where designed to determine relevance of sections within documents and to impose “website topic relevance” would be highly detrimental to their efficacy. So any discussion of that implies “website topic relevance” as a factor that relates to SEO is based on a false premise. However, if members of this forum continue to make this assertion over and over you will eventually convince some readers that this false premise is somehow valid, which in my opinion isn’t.
The bottom line is that website topics have absolutely nothing to do with how search engines determine relevance. So it is no mystery why often there seems to be no connection between website topics and relevance. Search engines simply don’t work that way. However to imply that relevance of any kind doesn’t matter is a severely flawed notion. Relevance, in my opinion is absolutely paramount, not at the site level, but at the document level.
There is nothing wrong in saying that website topics don’t matter, they actually don’t. But to say relevance doesn’t matter is misguided at best and could be highly misleading.
I ask you to look beyond your initial conclusions and ask yourself if you are looking at your results with the same granularity of a search engine.
If you receive a backlink from a page on Wikipedia about “Applied Physics” to your page about applied physics, is it accurate or useful to call such a link “irrelevant” simply because Wikipedia’s home page main topic is not about “applied physics”? Yet that is how you constantly refer to backlinks that are, in my opinion, clearly relevant from the perspective of a search engine.
Does it matter more what you perceive as relevance, or what Google perceives as relevant? I would suggest that it is far more useful to understand how Google determines relevance rather than create our own constructs.