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The Google Toolbar and SEO

The Google Toolbar and SEO
by Alec Duncan,

The Google Toolbar is a must have for any serious search engine optimizer and anyone who searches the internet on a regular basis. Here’s why…

The Google Toolbar has improved significantly since its introduction and now offers a number of useful features. The main focus of this article, however, is on those that aid in search engine optimization. So without further ado, here’s the Google Toolbar unfolded.

Upon installatïon of the full Google toolbar you will notice a small bar near the center that may or may not be partially filled with a green color as displayed in the image below.

This is the Google PageRank indicator. PageRank is one of the ways that Google rates your website and plays a role in the position of your site in Google’s search results. Site ranking is determined by several variables, including PageRank value and the number of inbound links. Sites with a higher PageRank generally have better rankings than other sites, all other factors being equal. I have personally noticed a significant improvement in the search engine placement of our Search Engine Optimization site ( whenever our Google PageRank has risen.

The Google toolbar enables you, at a glance, to view the PageRank of your website as well as your competitors’ sites. This feature can aid you in your link-building strategy since links from sites with a higher PageRank than yours help to raise your site’s PageRank. Although some websites prefer to link only with those sites that have a PR 4 or higher, LilEngine accepts links from any useful and related resources. Links from sites with a PageRank of 4 and above are an added bonus. To initiate a link exchange with LilEngine, write to:

A Side Note
There are times when the Google Toolbar will display your website as having a PageRank of zero. If your site previously had a PR greater than 0 and you notice this, watch it for awhile or close your browser and reopen it to double-check. At times, this feature appears to be a bit buggy, possibly due to updates, etc. at Google.
Cached Version

When Google spiders your site, it records the latest version of your site which can be viewed by using the drop down menu associated with the Google Toolbar Page Info button and selecting “Cached Snapshot of Page”. To see the cached version of a specific page, your browser must be on that page when you use this toolbar feature.

How Can This Help You With Your SEO Campaign?

If you have optimized your website in the hope of increasing your search engine placement in Google, the “Cached Snapshot” will indicate whether or not Google has updated their database with the new version of your page. If the Googlebot visits your site regularly, the cached version of your site will be updated more frequently than otherwise.

Backward Links

The Google Toolbar also has a pretty useful feature that displays all the web pages that link to your web page, which Google counts towards your PageRank. This information isn’t regularly updated and it may take between 1 – 3 months before changes are seen. Backlinks deal with quality and not quantity. A site with 1000 mediocre backlinks may not have as high a Page Rank as a site with 800 high PR backlinks.


You have the option of adding a highlight feature to your Google Toolbar that highlights all instances of your search term on the web page reached from your search. This can help you see how many times your competitors use specific keywords on their pages and you may modify your SEO campaign accordingly. You may also use this to chëck your own pages and see if you are or are not using enough of your target keywords on your page for optimum search engine placement. Besides those features listed above, there are also some other cool tools on the Google Toolbar such as:

Popup Blocker: This only works in IE 5.5 or later but is a great addition as we all know that there are many sites on the web that bombard you with popups. Some of these even go as far as to prevent you from going anywhere else. Annoyance factor 10/10.

Google Web Search: You can easily search the web using the Google Search Engine via the Google Toolbar by typing in your search terms in the search box area and then clicking enter or clicking the ‘Search Web’ button on the toolbar.

Translate: Easily translate sites into English that you may be interested in for one reason or another.
Unfortunately there is no version of the Google Toolbar for browsers other than Internet Explorer 5.0 and greater but hopefully they will be adding this in the near future.

There are many more features available with the Google Toolbar. Learn more and download it here.

About The Author
Alec Duncan is the founder of a Search Engine Optimization resource site. Visit for search engine optimization tools and strategies. Get a frëe Google ranking tool on your site.


Camilla Todd
Camilla Todd is Head of Digital Marketing at WNW Digital and manages Search Engine Optimisation, PPC, Social Media campaigns and Brand Awareness for WNW Digital SEO clients. You can follow her on Twitter @camilla_wnw, email her at or phone on 01392 349580