Ever browse the Google Directory? I enjoy how they have the listings ordered by PageRank as opposed to alphabetically, but I’ve always wondered about the PageRank bar in front of the listings.

They are different from the PageRank displayed on Google’s Toolbar and there are no values assigned, so you can’t mouseover the bar to see if it’s a PageRank 6 or 7, or whatever it may be.

Clicking on one of the PageRank bars takes you to an explanation about the green bars:

Google Web Directory Help:

Web Pages Ordered by PageRank
Unlike other directories that can only list web pages alphabetically regardless of how good they are, the web pages in the Google directory are ordered according to Google’s patented PageRank technology. This means that the most relevant and highly-regarded sites on any topic are listed first … not buried deep within a list of other pages. You can read more about PageRank and how it works by clicking here.

What do the horizontal green bars mean?
The green ratings bars are a measure of the importance of a web page, as determined by Google’s patented PageRank technology. These PageRank bars tell you at a glance whether other people on the web consider a page to be a high-quality site worth checking out. Google itself does not evaluate or endorse websites. Rather, we measure what others on the web feel is important enough to deserve a link. And because Google does not accept payment for placement within our results, the information you see when you conduct a search is based on totally objective criteria.

What I found interesting in this explanation was that the display is supposed to indicate what other people on the web feel is important and that Google doesn’t evaluate or endorse websites.

The PageRank display is made up of a pos.gif (green) and a neg.gif (white) totaling 40 pixels to represent the importance of the web page listed in the directory, such as the display for the World Wide Web Consortium listed in Computers/Internet. Looking at the source code we see:

pos.gif” width=”38″ neg.gif” width=”2″

All PageRank 10 web pages listed in the directory have a pos.gif of 38 pixels and a neg.gif of 2 pixels. Well, that is all except for one – yep, you guessed it – Google.

Google is listed in Computers/Internet/Searching/Search_Engines/Google/ and if we look at the source code we see a pos.gif of 44 pixels, 6 pixels larger than anyone else’s green bar, and no neg.gif at all, instead there’s a cleardot.gif.

pos.gif width=”44″ cleardot.gif width=”40″

What I don’t get is the additional clear gif of another 40 pixels; maybe they expect their PageRank to increase to a PR20?