For those that have been splashing in SEO waters for years, there are certain terms and concepts that roll off the tongue with little thought. But for those who are just starting to dip their toes in the SEO game, some of these concepts and verbiage can be confusing.
I’ve been swimming with the SEO sharks for about a year now, and have finally managed to catch on to some of the key industry notions.
One of the most important concepts to understand is that of Page Rank, which has served as the foundation of Google’s search engine from its inception.
21 Things to Know about Page Rank
Here are 21 important things that novice SEOs should know about Page Rank:
1) The concept of Page Rank was the idea that launched Google on a trajectory towards global domination. It was developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were students at Stanford in the mid-1990s.
2) The idea behind Page Rank was based on the academic sourcing model in which published academic work that has been cited more often will be considered more trustworthy and authoritative than work cited less often.
3) On the web, these “citations” or “votes” come from links built to the page in question. The value of these links is based on the authority and the trust the linking domain/page has, in addition to the sheer number of links aka “votes”.
4) When a webpage has developed a high level of trust and authority (based on the number and quality of links pointed their direction), they are said to have a high Page Rank. When they link to a different site, they are passing a portion of that Page Rank on to the other site. This is often referred to as passing “link juice”.
5) In order to get a good idea of what a site’s Page Rank is, you can download a free toolbar that provides you with Page Rank details of each website indexed by Google, expressed in a 0 through 10 scale.
6) Real Page Rank, the one that is used internally by Google, is not a simple 0-10 scale. It is far more complicated than that, and the specific details remain hidden under the cloak of a proprietary patent.
7) Google makes constant updates to its internal Page Rank calculator, and it is essentially updated every time the crawlers return with a new index.
8) However, the Google Page Rank toolbar is only updated a few times a year, and as such is sometimes considered less than optimal for industry professionals eager to track the rising (or falling ) of their website’s trust and authority.
9) Due to this, other tools have been constructed by third-parties that many believe are more reliable than Google’s toolbar Page Rank. Among the most respected is SEOMoz’s Domain Authority and Page Authority tools, which seek to estimate the overall trust and authority of a given page or domain.
10) Page Rank is important, but it is not the only factor that determines search listing ranks. If you do a search for a keyword, you will undoubtedly see several examples of pages with a lower Page Rank outranking those with a higher Page Rank. This is because Google has determined that other factors, such as relevance, trump the Page Rank of a certain page.
11) Pages that have a higher Page Rank are crawled and indexed more frequently than sites with little to no Page Rank. This is why new websites often have to wait weeks to get their initial indexing, while higher traffic sites can see their new content crawled within hours.
12) Similarly, websites that have a high Page Rank will have their sites crawled much deeper than sites with little or no Page Rank. Pages that are several levels removed from the home page might not be indexed at all if there is no Page Rank on the domain level.
13) Openly violating Google’s webmaster policies can result in your Page Rank disappearing overnight, and consequently your rankings in the search results will plummet and/or disappear entirely.
14) Among the many violations that can lead to a Page Rank wipe is openly (or indiscreetly) selling links to pass Page Rank.
15) As the Google algorithm is constantly changing, there can be vast fluctuations of a given website’s Page Rank over time. There are few constants when it comes to assessing your website in the eyes of Google.
16) The best way to improve a site’s Page Rank is to obtain links from high Page Rank sites. But these links need to be from relevant sites in order for them to pass positive juice.
17) Links on irrelevant sites (even if they have high Page Rank) will not provide much value and can often bring about a Google Penalty.
18) In order to deal with advertisements and other forms of unnatural links, Google has implemented a “no-follow” code for webmasters to mark which links they don’t want followed by the Google crawlers (rel=”nofollow”). The idea is that these links will not pass Page Rank from one site to another.
19) Many SEO insiders believe that no-follow links do, however, pass some Page Rank, but nobody knows exactly how much.
20) It used to be fairly easy to manipulate Page Rank to confuse the Google bots into thinking a site has a higher level of trust and authority. Recent developments, however, including the much discussed Penguin and Panda updates have made this much harder.
21) Despite this, you will sometimes still see low-quality websites boasting an inflated Page Rank. Just because a site has a high Page Rank doesn’t necessarily make it a good site. In other words, the page ranking system is still not foolproof.
Page Rank vs Advertisements
It will be incorrect to think that page rank do not have any relevance. There are many in the blogosphere who think that page rank is just a hype. It is not.
In order to earn anything from your web properties, you need to have a decent page rank. Further, it is a fact that the first thing an advertiser checks before sending an advertising proposal is the page rank, followed by site audience, traffic consistency, ad costing and other attributes.
Nonetheless, I have seen a lot of bloggers going after black-hat techniques just to increase web ranking and attract advertisers. This is a completely wrong way of thinking.
Page Rank is but a factor in site ranking. Do not abuse it or get possessive about it.