Higher PageRank is Still Important

Sat, Apr 26, 2008 at 2:25PM

Page rank often refers to Google PageRank, but may sometimes refer to the ranking position for various keywords on the search engines. The word Page Rank is a trademark of Google and has been patented by Stanford University.  Google's PageRank algorithm is well documented but this doesn't really help humans tamper with results since they have built in many safeguards to prevent abuse and ensure quality relevant search results. The other search engines also share things in with how they judge the value of links to rank pages.  Below we mostly investigate Google's PageRank, but you may apply these principles to most of the search engines in use today.

Understanding Google's PageRank Technology

PageRank is determined by analyzing the relationships between links in a set of documents to determine the value of the links.  Google combines this technology with advanced text matching technologies to deliver the search results you see when you type a specific keyword.   Google gives a web site more PageRank when the links and anchor text are more closely related with the contents of the pages on both the giving and receiving end of the links.   So you want to receive links from pages that talk about the same topics as your page.     Google took this approach because they see the Internet as a democratic system where each individual link is considered a vote for another page on the Internet.  However, not all votes are given equal weight, so one could argue that the few authority web sites on the Internet control most of the results your see.   There are still plenty of ways to get past Google's anti-spam algorithms and improve your rankings and there always will be, but it does becoming increasingly challenging to do so without genuine popularity.

Many smaller business focus on local rankings and this is usually a successful way to approach Google rankings.  Companies that are not partnered with authority web sites will often have a difficult time ranking for many national keywords, though it is possible for anyone to become a new authority by an increase in genuine popularity in the eyes of other users of the Internet.

The flow of PageRank throughout the Internet

When a page does have PageRank, it will share some of that PageRank with each link on its page.  (Note: links with the attribute rel="nofollow" won't be given your PageRank)  There is a dampening factor applied to the links that slowly reduce the PageRank value to 0 as more pages are linked to.  Imagine a tree when the trunk of the tree is the original source of highest PageRank.  As each branch grows out getting smaller and smaller, the weight of the links become less.   Google uses PageRank to give higher rankings to show web sites that are closer to the original source of the PageRank.

Use the Google Toolbar to See PageRank

Download the Google Toolbar Here: http://toolbar.google.com/

With the above tool installed in your browser as an add-on, you will be able to see the PageRank for the current page.  PageRank is represented as green bar.  It you hover your mouse cursor over the bar, it will show you a number between 0 and 10 in the tooltip box.  10 is the highest PageRank possible.  A higher PageRank is actually exponentially more difficult to achieve with only a select few web sites in the world having a pagerank of 8 or higher.  The home page of many web sites is now only have a PageRank of 2 or 3.  As more web sites come online, older sites with less links will seem to have less PageRank, but it is just that the system is adjusting itself based on all the new content.  Keep in mind that the PageRank number given by Google is only updated every few months so it is not always a good way to measure the value of a web site or link.  It is helpful to also analyze the backlinks, on-site SEO, and archive.org history in order to determine the quality of a link today.  A link that is relevant to your topic may be more valuable than an irrelevant link with perhaps slightly more PageRank.  A link doesn't always have to have PageRank to help you rank better, it may still increase your relevance for less competitive searches.  You want your back-link profile to seem as natural possible.  A mixture of high and low PageRank links is normal for most web sites.

How to get more PageRank

The goal of most web site owners is to increase their rankings and PageRank is one of the most important factors involved.  By working with professional SEO companies and purchasing paid placement, they hope to increase their rankings often with mixed or unpredictable results.   This is definitely a tedious ongoing job that requires the close attention of an expert.  By building links from highly valued pages of authority sites and other related web sites, your web site is sure to grow its PageRank number and site traffic.  As with many things in life, some people choose to manipulate this process by using bad "black hat" techniques.  We prefer to stick to the search engine guidelines, such as what google lists here: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35769

While you may break some of their rules and not be penalized.  You don't want to risk your future success with shortcuts made today.  Read our article on how to use anchor text to increase your relevance and rankings for more information on how to increase your PageRank both naturally and with common manipulative techniques.

Google works hard to stop abuse

Matt Cutts has a blog where he discusses all the issues he faces daily as part of the Google Anti-spam Engineer Team.  http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/

With people trying to manipulate PageRank ever since it began, Google has put in place automatic detection of search engine spam & abuse.  Be careful using black hat techniques to manipulate your PageRank.  People have used cloaking, redirects and paid links among other things to try to manipulate PageRank in the past and most of these efforts have ceased to be helpful.  Even if they are working now, they may stop working soon.

While increasing PageRank is a worthwhile goal, it is always in your best interest to think of your users.  Spend your time figuring out what will get them talking about your web site online and offline.  You want to attract as many natural links as possible.   You may even run black hat campaigns in order to build an initial following. Having a solid link building strategy will always be necessary to improve site traffic and sales.  Whether you attempt to manipulate Google or build popularity through great content and features, the choice is up to you.

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