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Survey: Page Rank for Morris Federation Team Websites

About This Document

This document explains the importance of ‘page rank‘ in the discovery of websites, surveys the “open page rank” for Morris Federation team websites and discusses the implications for raising the online visibility of morris and other forms of traditional dance. The ‘action research‘ described in this document concludes by giving an example of how your side’s profile could be listed at the top of a Google search from a potential new member!

Background to This Work

The IT Resources section of the Morris Federation website was launched at the AGM in September 2021 in order to monitor developments in use of online systems, share best practices and provide advice and support to the community.

A recent survey of Google Coverage of Morris Federation Team Websites described how over 4,700 pages from Morris Federation team websites can be found in Google. But how highly ranked will such pages be – are they to be found on the first page of Google results, or will they be hidden away on subsequent pages of results?

This survey reports on the Page Rank for Morris Federation team websites, which gives an indication of the number and quality of links to websites and, thus, how highly such websites are likely to feature in a Google search.

About Google Page Rank

According to the Wikipedia PageRank article:

PageRank (PR) is an algorithm used by Google Search to rank web pages in their search engine results. It is named after both the term “web page” and co-founder Larry Page. PageRank is a way of measuring the importance of website pages. According to Google:

PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites

In brief, page rank is used by Google to identify important pages, and give them a high ranking in its search results.

About Open Page Rank

Google released a PageRank toolbar in 2000 which made it very easy for webmasters to check the PageRank of their websites. However Google discontinued the service in 2016. The Open PageRank initiative was then created to bring back Page Rank metrics so that different domains could easily be compared.

Analysing Open Page Ranks for Morris Federation Team Website

The Open PageRank analysis tool was used to analyse findings for Morris Federation team websites. In order to provide comparable statistics, only single domain websites were analysed (i.e. websites hosted on Facebook, Google sites and similar were ignored).

The findings are depicted in Figure 1.

Figure 1: PageRank  for Morris Federation Team Websites

In brief, the average (mean) page rank is 2.2 and the mode (most common value) is 3.

The findings for the 8 websites with the highest pagerank values is shown below (note the values are rounded up in Figure 1).

Figure 2: The highest ranked Morris Federation websites

Figure 3 shows the pagerank values for some of the most popular websites.

Figure 3: Page rank values for popular websites

NOTE: The figures used in Figures 1 and 2 were based on data from early March 2022. A subsequent analysis in later March showed that a number of pagerank values had decreased significantly. IT will be interesting to repeat this survey in 2023 to see how pagerank values may have changed.

Reflections on the Findings

It’s a Logarithmic Scale

It’s important to note that page ran values are given on a logarithmic and not linear scale. As described in WikipediaA logarithmic scale (or log scale) is a way of displaying numerical data over a very wide range of values in a compact way—typically the largest numbers in the data are hundreds or even thousands of times larger than the smallest numbers.

An example of the differences can be seen from the following table (note this is intended only for illustrative purposes).

110^110
210^2100
310^31,000
410^410,000
510^5100,000
610^61,000,000
710^710,000,000
810^8100,000,000
910^91,000,000,000
1010^1010,000,000,000
Table 1: Illustration of power value

So although a page rank of 2 or 3 does not seem very different from one of 5, in reality the differences are huge: the difference between 100 or 1,000 and 100,000 based on the illustration of power coefficients in Table 1.

Low Ranking Need Not Be Of Concern

If your side’s website has a low page rank, you need not be too concerned: your website can provide a useful role as a repository of information for members of the side and those with close links with the side, as well as being found by alerts sent out by email or on social media.

Raising Your Online Visibility

Although you may need to accept your side’s page rank (significantly changing the ranking can be a time-consuming activity) there are some simple and achievable ways of raising the visibility of your side:

  • Add links to your website from more popular websites: If popular websites have links to your website (especially links which people actually clock on) this will improve your page ranking.
  • Add key content to more popular websites: A tangential approach is to ensure that key content about your site is hosted on highly ranked websites.

One approach you may be tempted to take is to add a link to your side’s website from a Wikipedia article. However as described in the Creating a Wikipedia Article document you need to ensure that (a) content is provided from a neutral point of view and that (b) the content is noteworthy. This can be difficult to do, and content which fails to satisfy this criteria may be deleted.

A related approach is to upload media files about your side to Wikimedia Commons, as described in the Publishing Images on Wikimedia Commons and Publishing Videos on Wikimedia Commons documents.

The Relevance of the Morris Federation Teamfinder Service

The pagerank for the Morris Federation website is 4.59, as shown below.

Figure 4: Pagerank for the Morris Federation website

The Morris Federation website therefore has a higher pagerank than all its sides – which is to be expected!

The implications of this are that if sides update their team profile with details about their side (including photo and videos) and ensure their profile has links to any of their social media presences – information about their side will be more easily found than if they relied solely on their own website.

Currently over 200 profiles can be found using a Google search for “#morrisfedprofile”, as shown below (note you’ll need to click on links to view all results)

Figure 5: Google search for “#morrisfedprofile” finds over 200 profiles

Figure 5 shows that profiles are indexed in Google. Similar searches can be used to search for sides by dance style or location:

Search expressionResults
“#morrisfedprofile” #cotsworld21 hits
“#morrisfedprofile” #rapper15 hits
“#morrisfedprofile” London13 hits
Table 2: Searching Morris Federation team profiles

Such searches may be of particular interest to the Morris and traditional dance community, especially those wishing to see how others sides are updating their profiles. However an example of a possible query from someone who may be looking for a mixed morris side in Bridport is shown below, in which the first hit is for Wyld Morris’s profile in Teamfinder (of about 148,00 results!):

Figure 6: Google search for a mixed Cotswold/Border side in Bridport

Note that Google normally ‘remembers’ your search queries and preferred type of results so in order to receive neutral results you should ensure you select ‘inprivate/incognito browsing’ (see how to do this in Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge).

Case Study For Improving Online Visibility

The Wyld Morris website has a low page rank of 2.5. Despite this, information for potential new members can be easily found due to the way in which the Wyld Morris profile in the Morris Federation Teamfinder has been used. In particular note:

  • Team name, location and summary of dance styles are included: “Wyld Morris are a mixed morris side based in Bridport, Dorset. We dance Cotswold morris and Border traditions.
  • Information on policy on new members is included: “The team welcomes new dancers and musicians, both experienced and newcomers!
  • A number of photos have been uploaded: and textual descriptions provided (which Google can index).
  • Links to videos are provided, again containing textual descriptions which Google can index.

Further information is available in the document on Updating Your Morris Federation Teamfinder Profile.

Note that an analysis of Google search traffic on the Morris Federation website shows that in the past week (ending 14 March 2022) no fewer 34% of the pages found in searches have delivered traffic to a team profile!

Conclusions

The survey shows that websites provided by morris and traditional dances sides are mainly small-scale with limited numbers of links (incoming and external) and do not have a high ranking in search engines such as Google.

However the Morris Federation website has a higher page ranking and so adding richer information to team profiles will help raise the visbility of information for teams – and this includes teams which do not have a website!


We welcome feedback on this document. In addition we would like to hear from morris, sword and other traditional dance sides who use IT and would be willing to share their experiences. Would you like to contribute a case study?


Status of this Document

Document published: 14 Mar 2022
Document updated: 27 Mar 2022

About The Author

Brian Kelly joined the Newcastle Kingsmen in 1978 and for many years was a prize-winning Betty for them. He has also danced with Sallyport Sword DancersNorthgate Rapper and Wyld Morris as well as the now-defunct Green Ginger Morris, Phoenix Sword and Black Cap sides. He is currently a dancer with Haymarket Rapper.

In his professional career Brian helped set up a website for the University of Leeds in January 1993 – one of the first 100 websites in the world. During most of his professional career he was a national web adviser to UK Universities.

In May 1998 Brian attended the Seventh International World Wide Web Conference in Brisbane where he listened to a paper on The anatomy of a large-scale hypertextual Web search engine presented by Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page about a prototype of a large-scale search engine called ‘Google’ which was designed to “crawl and index the Web efficiently and produce much more satisfying search results than existing systems“. 

Licence for this Document

This document is available with a Creative Commons Sharealike (CC-BY) licence. In brief, this means you can copy and make changes to this document provided you give acknowledgements to the author/publisher. A suggested wording for acknowledgements is:

This document is based on the "Survey: Page Rank for Morris Federation Team Websites" document by Brian Kelly, Comms and IT volunteer with the Morris Federation.

#MorrisFedITResources #MFITResources #MFDDT

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