A little SEO seriousness test to start off with: What do you think when you see ‘PR’? Public Relations? Yes, that’s the most common abbreviation of PR indeed, but I bet some of you surely thought of Google’s PageRank in the first place. Congrats, you are serious SEO professionals. For the others: Google has been using Pagerank for some time already to determine the quality and importance of one’s website and the PR is one of the 200 factors influencing your rankings in Google.
Now Microsoft, in cooperation with (Asian) academics, is challenging the Pagerank algorythm by launching their own BrowseRank. Similar to Pagerank, Browserank will give the search engine an indication of the importance and popularity of a website.
More than imitating Google, Microsoft has announced the superiority of Browserank because of it’s detailed user related information. Browserank will not only take the number of links in consideration but also, unlike Pagerank, the time spend on the website and the way in which the visitors visit the site. Filling the current holes in Pagerank, Browserank hopes to give a more human touch to search results than Pagerank currently does.
The authors claim that “Experimental results show that BrowseRank can achieve better performance than existing methods, including PageRank…in important page finding, spam page fighting, and relevance ranking.”
Nevertheless Microsoft still has a lot of catching up to do if they want to play a bigger part in the search market. Failed attempts to acquire Yahoo seem to be moving Microsoft to in-house search development. Browserank is already one innovation, in collaboration with the academic world, that might get Microsoft on the track to contribute to improved search results.