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My Google Toolbar tells me that most sites I visit are 4s or 5s in the world of Page Rank. I noticed, however, that when you land on the Google home page, Google gets a 10 out of 10. I guess that’s not surprising – I’m sure Saddam Hussein would have won “Ms. Iraq” if he had wanted to in his day.

But this got me to thinking: what other sites get a perfect 10? I thought I’d start with Google’s competitors. Sure enough, none of the big search engines qualified for the honor. Here are the scores:

Yahoo: 9/10

MSN: 9/10

AOL: 9/10

Ask: 8/10

So my next idea was to look at the leading search engine optimization companies. Surely one of these companies has found the secret sauce to achieve a 10 out 10 ranking, right? Upon further review, however:

iCrossing: 7/10

iProspect: 6/10

SEO-inc: 8/10

BruceClay: 6/10

OK, how about the pure content Web sites – the places filled with oodles of helpful articles or user-generated content?

FindLaw: 8/10

Craigslist: no ranking reported (I think this is because Craigslist recently changed their URL structure.

MySpace: 0/10 (this could be a toolbar issue)

For good measure, I also checked out some Web sites that often claim to have perfect 10s, but in a different sense of the meaning. The results:

Playboy: 0/10

Playgirl: 3/10

Penthouse: 0/10

Perfect 10: 4/10

In the end, I had to actually type in “page rank top 10” into Google, for which I did find a Web site with a list of sites which had received 10s. Among the winners were six for-profit sites:

  • Adobe
  • Macromedia
  • Apple
  • The New York Times
  • Real Media
  • The Stat Counter

Why these sites are the chosen few, I have no idea. I suppose it is a combination of good content, good SEO, and maybe a little luck.

I will say that the last site – Stat Counter – did surprise me. This is a company that apparently gives you free tracking software for your Web site (up to a certain number of visitors, after which they charge you). The site layout is clean and the content seems reasonably good.

Here’s the nut though: on the left frame navigation, it’s pretty clear that Stat Counter is selling links a la Text Link Ads. In other words, folks aren’t paying for a link because they expect a lot of traffic from Stat Counter, but rather because they know the value of a PR 10 link to their own ability to show up highly in the search results. This is pretty surprising, simply because you would think that Google wouldn’t want one of the few PR 10 sites selling off links. And not just any links, mind you, but links to SEO firms (INeedHits, ProBoostGold, WorldSubmit, Axandra, etc).

So what does it take to be a 10? Good content? Software sales? Dumb luck? Aside from simply being Google (that one I get), I’m a little miffed. I do know this: if anyone at Stat Counter wants to link up Blogation on the home page, I’ve got some leftover champagne from my wedding with your name on it . . .