Porn Sites, PageRank & Popularity

Porn sites debunking SEO myths. Say what? Today, we take a look at a video by Matt Cutts explaining just that:

Is PageRank determined by popularity? Yes and no. Your site’s popularity is a factor in your PageRank but it’s not the only one. Among many other things, PageRank also includes reputation. Matt explains how even though porn sites are highly popular, they are often not linked by reputable sources like CNN and The New York Times. This explains why .gov and .edu sites (other reputable sources that aren’t as popular) have a higher PageRank than lower quality sites that aren’t reputable (porn sites).

Are porn sites (and other low quality sites) penalized by Google? The video shows that the porn industry isn’t necessary targeted as a whole to be penalized but there might be some other explanations. The question also brings up a good point, since porn sites often feature many link exchanges, ads and affiliate links to other low quality sites. As a whole, Google frowns on this.

What does Google consider trustworthy?Reputation, trust, and authority are all words in Google’s vocabulary in ranking high quality sites. Google trust includes PageRank although Matt claims that it’s not really an algorithm, but more of a way how Google determines the usefulness and relevancy of a page. In other words, Google looks at pages in the eyes of an average visitor and judges the page on whether it’s delivering what it’s promising and in what manner.

What do you think and does this video help clear up the often misconceived notion that PageRank is solely based on popularity?