You’ve just built your website and you want to show up on the search engines. You start reading about SEO and one of the first things that jumps out at you is something called “Google PageRank.” You know about the big dog of the search engines, but what is PageRank and why is it important in what you’re trying to do?
Any good marketing coach can explain that easily. If your site is placing high in free (organic) search results, you’re getting free advertising. Notice the word “free.” That’s always a good thing. Building a strong PageRank (PR) by getting good quality links coming in to your site takes time, but it isn’t going to eat a hole in your pocketbook.
You want to work on raising your site’s PR to get “authority” with the search engines. A site with “authority” gets better visibility in search results. Really understanding the algorithm behind your site’s PR will likely have you reaching for a bottle of aspirin. In the beginning, just concentrate on understanding the basics and how they relate to your efforts to promote your site.
How Is PR Defined?
Google says PR is all about the “uniquely democratic nature of the web” and “using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value.” Basically, a link from one page to another is a vote for that page. However, not all votes in this democracy are equal. Some votes come from higher-quality pages and are weighed more heavily. (Other factors in determining PR include the relevance of search phrases on a page and actual traffic to the page.)
How Is PageRank Expressed?
PR values are expressed on a scale of 0 to 10. Sites from 0 to 2 are probably pretty new to the Web and have few incoming links. Sites that have made it to PR3 to PR5 are fairly well established; PR6 and above are really popular and have a lot of high-quality links. There are very few sites that make it to the PR7 to PR10 range.
The ones that are ranked that high are usually owned by big corporations or major media outlets like the Wall Street Journal (PR8). Improving your site’s PR by getting relevant, high-quality, incoming links is one of the most affordable SEO methods at your disposal. Rather than trying to get to a specific number, just concentrate on improving your number.
Is My Site’s Homepage The Only Page With PR?
No, each page in your site will be assigned a PR, something that is emphasized in marketing coaching as a valuable tool. You can use relevant interlinking to distribute PR throughout all your pages.
Huh? Well, just hang on to that thought for a minute. For right now, just understand the concept that some pages in your site may earn a higher PR than others, and that you can use that to your advantage.
PageRank Passes From One Page To Another
Here’s how it works. A page with a high PR passes some of its value to a low PR page over a link. You can use this to promote your site in a couple of ways. When your site’s pages are interlinked in a relevant way, PR gets distributed more evenly throughout the site. Also, you can “court” relevant sites that belong to other people through your link-building campaign. This is really how your site starts to gain “authority.”
Start By Building Your Index Page’s PR
Generally, marketing coaches will tell you to begin by working on your home page’s PR. This can be time-consuming, and not just because you’ll be building relationships with other site owners. You have to do your time in what’s popularly called the Google “sandbox.” This just means that new sites like yours probably won’t get any PR at all for the first few months you’re on the Web.
How Do I Check My PR?
There are a number of free, online tools for checking PR including PRChecker and SearchStatus. At PRChecker you type in a page’s URL to see its PR. SearchStatus is a FireFox extension that shows a site’s PR at the bottom of your browser. (It also shows your site’s Alexa rating, another method to measure online “importance.”) You can also install the Google Toolbar for Firefox or Internet Explorer and enable the PageRank function.
Is Building My PR All I Need To Do?
A marketing coach will tell you that having a strong PR is only one part of your SEO campaign. For instance, say you’re looking around for a site to link to yours. You find one with a high PR, but it’s a site that sells links. Move on. Their high PR number doesn’t do you any good because a link from that site to yours will have a lower quality and will pass less authority to you.
Understanding the basics of PageRank is essential in putting together a high-quality link-building campaign for your site, but don’t get fixated on the PR number and ignore other important facts. Just gain a basic understanding of what PR is and how it functions and use that to your advantage in building a reputation of authority for your site.
About The Author
Marketing online since 2004, Paul Marshall can help you market on a realistic budget. You can learn about his professional Internet Marketing Coaching and Consulting Services on his home page: StrategicWebMarketing.net He also offers affordable SEO services (and d-i-y Coaching), which you can learn about at: strategicwebmarketing.net/seo.html. Get to know Paul, just visit Strategic Web Marketing.net today!