I’m a PR 5!

by admin on July 27, 2011

As many of you probably know, Google uses a measure called PageRank to evaluate the “importance” of Web pages. It’s a simple scale that goes from 0 to 10, with 0 being the least important and 10 the most. I found out only a couple weeks ago that you can actually check the PageRank of your site and others, for example at www.prchecker.info.

In case you’re curious (as I was), here are some PageRanks of some other sites, mostly chess-related. Let me just make one disclaimer: It is possible to have a great website that doesn’t score high on PageRank, and a not very great website that does score high. PageRank has nothing to do with content; it is based only on the pattern of links coming into your site and going out. (Of course, one way you can get a lot of links coming in is to have good content, so indirectly the PageRank may say something about the quality of a site. In fact, that’s the whole idea of using it as a search tool.)

With that disclaimer out of the way, here are how some of your favorite sites rank.

10: This rank is only for the kings of the Internet: Google, Facebook.

9: www.yahoo.com, www.wikipedia.com. These are Websites that are extremely general and important but not at the very top.

8: espn.go.com (ESPN, the TV sports network), www.harvard.edu. These are slightly more specialized sites, but obviously very authoritative in their field.

7: www.chessbase.com. The only pure chess website I could find with a rank this high.

6: www.chessclub.com (Internet Chess Club), www.fide.com (the International Chess Federation), www.chessvibes.com, www.chessdom.com, www.chesscafe.com, susanpolgar.blogspot.com. To get a rank this high, you need a high-volume site with a team of people maintaining it. The only chess blog that ranks this high is Susan Polgar’s. Her ranking is well-deserved, because the site has a ton of news, but I suspect she has help.

5: www.uschess.org, www.chess.com, www.newinchess.com, www.chessninja.com/dailydirt (Mig Greengard), www.thechessmind.net (Dennis Monokroussos), www.danamackenzie.com/blog (yours truly!). Some real surprises here. I can’t believe the official USCF website isn’t a 6 or higher. Same with New in Chess, a leading chess magazine, and chess.com, which has a URL to die for. Mig Greengard and Dennis Monokroussos deserve their rankings. I definitely do not belong in such company.

4: lizzyknowsall.blogspot.com (Elizabeth Vicary), nezhmet.wordpress.com (Mark Ginsburg), pogonina.com (Natalia Pogonina), fpawn.blogspot.com (Michael Aigner), www.uschessleague.com. This is a reasonable PageRank for a good chess blog. I should really be here, not in the PageRank 5 group. I would move Elizabeth up to PR 5, because she has many followers.

3: www.hikarunakamura.com (Hikaru Nakamura), kaydentroff.blogspot.com (Kayden Troff), chessadventures.blogspot.com (Anonymous). As these examples show, PageRank is quite different from fame! If you’re famous but your blog is too narrowly self-centered, doesn’t have enough links to the outside world, or isn’t updated often enough, then a PR 3 is your destiny.

2: www.bradenbournival.com. I found it really interesting to hunt for pages with PageRanks lower than 3. They’re not so easy to find, because by definition they don’t have a lot of links going to them and they don’t show up very highly on Google searches. Braden Bournival’s is a quirky little blog, and I think it’s not bad at all. Check out his description of the strengths and weaknesses of well-known U.S. players, along with a theme song for each of them! I had to laugh when I got to Irina Krush, whose theme song was “Maneater”! (Because she’s beaten so many men at chess.) Why is this blog only a PR 2? My guess is that it’s because his posts are sporadic (his blog was out of commission for several months) and his quirkiness may be off-putting to some people.

1: timothytaylorartist.com. Now this one really came as a shock me. It belongs to a well-known International Master, who has had articles published in Chess Life! I’ve met Tim and played against him. Why does he pull only a PR 1? Well, the graphics are a problem (the boards are painful to look at, and the page layout is like Blog Standard) and, to some extent, the attitude is also a problem. Give us a reason to want to read your blog, Tim. Mark Ginsburg’s would be a great model to follow.

0: www.xx2e.info. This one you have to see for yourself. If you dare. And if it’s even there any more. It has a page design that makes you ask, “WTF”? It claims to be about checkers, chess, backgammon, etc. The posts are completely random, and strongly resemble spam messages (i.e., some robot just scraped some text off the Internet). There is not really any indication that any human is running this website. Half of the links lead to error messages written in Japanese. (Including, when I checked just now, the home page. To get a link that worked, I had to link to one of the posts. But I wouldn’t count on the above link working for long!)

My hypothesis is that Google reserves PageRank 0 for web sites that aren’t really web sites: e.g., spam sites, or sites run by robots. I sure hope I haven’t infected my computer with a virus …

One final note: All PageRanks mentioned in this entry are current as of July 2011. If you’re reading this article in, say, 2013, they have probably changed.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Marc July 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm

chesslecture.com is also a 5. Although the site is still live, it is not clear that they plan on publishing any more videos. As a contributor, can you shed any light on their recent break?


Dan Schmidt July 27, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Marc – the chesslecture.com site says: “Notice! Due to hardware problems, we are not able to upload new lectures at this time.
We expect to resume publication next week, and to catch up shortly thereafter.
We apologize for the inconvenience, and we ask for your understanding.”


admin July 27, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Dan and Marc,
Yes, to see the message you have to log in.
I don’t know any of the details about the technical side of the operation, but it seems as if they’ve been having technical problems for quite a while, and now they seem to be worse than ever. I wanted to record a lecture last week and couldn’t. First time that has ever happened.


Jason Rihel July 28, 2011 at 4:47 am

The Boylston Chess Club has a page rank of 4 for both the Blog and the main website.

The Marshall Chess Club gets a page rank of 5, despite not having updated news since June. Their blog, which has not been updated in a year, gets a page rank of 3.

Interesting, but does this page rank mean anything practical for the sites?


Dan Schmidt July 28, 2011 at 5:24 am

“Interesting, but does this page rank mean anything practical for the sites?”

It indicates how high up the site will appear in Google searches, so it’s very important for any commercial site (or one that has ads).

I hope chesslecture figures out their problems. I’m still months behind on my Learn From Your Fellow Amateurs viewing…


Matt July 28, 2011 at 10:21 am

The ChessLecture.com situation is a joke. I really hope they don’t plan on charging members for the month of July because that would be a slap in the face.

The only reason a technical problem couldn’t be fixed within 10 days (as it’s been 10 days since the last video) would be because of lack of money. I think all the members want is some honesty and more information. We understand that sometimes issues come up and people will be much more understanding if we are told what is going on. Maybe the explanation on the home page is correct or maybe it isn’t. Either way, the home page stated that videos would be published again from early this week. To me, that’s by Tuesday at the latest but still no more videos have been published and the home page message hasn’t been updated to say what the delay is.

It’s poor customer service and I have to assume ChessLecture.com is now losing members, making any financial issues even worse. I don’t know how they plan on catching up with the videos. They were days behind even before these technical issues occurred.

That’s my rant over with. 🙂


Matt July 28, 2011 at 10:26 am

Update: ChessLecture.com has now updated the message on the home page. Apparently there is an internet outage and also a hardware problem. I still don’t think it should be taking anywhere near as long as this but at least we have a little more information.

I still trust we won’t be charged for next month (I think July was already billed) or, at worst, will only be charged half price because only half the videos have been published this month.


Marc July 28, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Wow, I’ve been logging in to CL.com every day, and I did not even notice the announcement. For such an important notice, they sure chose some fine print. This problem highlights a big weakness of the site: lack of any user forums. That’s where details should be posted, and members could ask questions about membership details, etc. We should not need to have this discussion here.


admin July 29, 2011 at 3:47 am

Matt and Marc,
I’ve been wondering how I can respond to your comments, which I think are very justified. I don’t want to be critical of an organization that has given me a platform that I never dreamed of having. On the other hand, I am totally disappointed by the lack of transparency in the operation.
All I can say is that I will make your complaints known to my contact at ChessLecture who runs the technical side of things, What he’ll do about it, if anything, I cannot tell you.


Scott April 9, 2015 at 9:05 am

I guess I am a little late to the party reading this, but several of these sites have changed. I am surprised that we dont have more state chess associations up there in the PR 5-7 area. Some get tons of traffic everyday.


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