Google has revolutionized the way businesses operate on the web. Entire industries have been formed to meet the match of the most powerful search engine in the world. With such a force in the world of internet marketing, it is natural for new features to come and go.
One such feature, or byproduct of Google, is their PageRank tool available on the Google Toolbar. To understand what this feature does, you must first understand PageRank – another Googleism. PageRank is a numeric value, between 0 and 10, assigned to each webpage. Furthermore, PageRank is based on “votes” from other web pages. Google, for instance, interprets a link from page A to page B as vote. Google uses this as an indicator of an individual page’s value to the end viewer. If many sites link to yours, Google assumes your site is of value and relevant to a web surfer.
With that said, Google’s Toolbar, when in use, gives a visual representation of a website’s PageRank. The feature comes under fire at this point, it has been rumored that the PageRank (PR) feature is lagging behind – possibly up to two months behind. Meaning, if you have several hundred new links to your site, you will not see immediate increase of your PR.
If you don’t pay attention to the PR score anyway, you have nothing to worry about. However, that is not the case for thousands of businesses, webmasters, internet marketers and Search Engines Optimization “Experts”. Many times, they view a website’s PageRank as the best yardstick to gauge a website’s popularity.
In contrast, there are no obvious ties between strong search engine rankings and strong PageRank. It is entirely possible to have a well designed website, strong search engine rankings (placement on search engines results), yet have poor PageRank.
As a website owner, it is important to not get discouraged over a low PR score. PageRank is not the only way of measuring your online weight. Here are other things to help monitor your website’s success:
Are Your Goals Accomplished?
Any website should have a plan, just as any business should have a goal or plan. Has your website met or exceeded these goals? What are your sales? Are you keeping your visitors longer than 30 seconds? Are your visitors purchasing your product? What are your returns?
Lacking in any of these areas can indicate trouble in places other than your PageRank. Perhaps your sales letter is weak or maybe your product could use improvement. If your sales are lacking, look to your product, not your PageRank.
How are you doing on other search engines? Yes, there are other search engines. Many, Yahoo!, AOL, MSN, and AskJeaves have their own way of measuring a website’s relevancy to a topic. Often times, they disregard PR anyway. Be sure you are not focusing on only one indicator of your online success.
Not All Links Are Created Equal
Just because you have 1 million links to your site does not mean you will have great success. If you have 6-7 powerful links, you may have the same PR as a site with 6,000-7,000 links.
Associate yourself with websites similar to yours. By linking with related sites, you are increasing your chances of 1) being found by a search engine, 2) being found by a human visitor – your ultimate goal.
Just as not all links are created equal, you should be on the constant lookout for places you can link with. Having more powerful links will help you. For example, if you are a commercial mortgage company, link with commercial brokers who have customers similar to those you want.
As in any business, having exposure in key areas is beneficial to your success. Partner with websites and companies that can capture your target market and send them your way. Be sure you allow links in return, otherwise, you risk losing that partnership.
As I tell my clients, don’t build a website solely for search engines, unless your target is search engines. Ultimately, many of us are trying to get qualified people to our business. You should have them in mind throughout this entire process. There is a fine line between artistically appealing (to your human visitors) and content appealing (for your search engine visitors).
If you have strong sales already, PR isn’t much value. For example, Google (PR10) and MSN.com (PR9) will have strong traffic regardless of their PageRank.