Posted by: Marshall Sponder | July 27, 2008

Microsoft BrowseRank favors Social Networks

Ha, Ha, Ha ….. I bet Google would not really want to employ an algorithm like Microsoft BrowseRank (see Microsoft Search BrowseRank Research Reviewed) – look what BrowseRank would do to the top search results (though the diagram from SEOBOOK doesn’t say what the search query was to generate those results – and they are, after all, hypothetical, since no one has instituted Browserank yet).   According to Aaron Wall at SEOBOOK:

“…Another big issue with BrowseRank is that it highlights many social media sites. The issue with social media is that any piece of content is generally only relevant to a small number of people and most of the content is irrelevant to the population at large. Unless the search engine had a lot of personalized data promoting the general purpose social media sites would be blunderous – surfacing lots of results that are irrelevant, spam, or both.

One of the big advantages PageRank has over BrowseRank is an economic one.

An economic advantage to whom?  Google? It sounds like Pagerank, for all it’s problems, offers Google many advantages to leave intact – advantages that better systems at ranking results – would threaten.  Who would have thought that “Google” actually stands “against” progress.     But then again, the results are hypothetical and no company or system is entirely of one mind.


  • People are more likely to link at informational resources, thus surfacing those pages and sites higher in the search results.
  • This gives Google’s organic search results an informational bias which makes searchers more likely to click on Google’s paid ads when performing a commercial search.
  • Google also has the ability to arbitrarily police links and/or strip PageRank scores to 0 with the intent to fearmonger and add opportunity cost to anyone who gathers enough links pointing at a (non-corporate owned) commercial domain. This layer of social engineering coerces publishers to create the type of content Google likes to rank.

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  1. One thing I think folks may be missing is that Google already looks at behavioral metrics as part of the ranking systems. This really isn’t a ‘new’ thing – likely as much a marketing move than anything.

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