Last week I brought you part one, “Accessibility” of our detailed SEO strategy. Without question, I’d argue your second focus should be on a Google concept called Page Rank.Simply put, Page Rank is popularity. Yes, it is sad but true, websites play the same game for visibility that we played in high school; popularity is a factor in determining how many eyeballs turn your way. Search engine optimization is not just about keywords, content, and (as we discussed last week) accessibility, your efforts there are worthless of the engine don’t consider your site popular, relevant, or of interest. Your site can be perfectly optimized (well… you can try) but if others don’t promote your site, engines won’t consider it relevant and won’t promote you.
How does page rank work?
I’m going to assume you run a website about digital cameras. By now you should have identified the most popular keywords for your site (digital camera, photography, canon, hp, kodak, etc.). As an experienced SEO, I’m sure you’ve sprinkled those keywords throughout the site so engines consider it relevant to someone searching for, say, “kodak” If you haven’t done that, we’ll get to it because relevance is how accurately a webpage matches a search phrase. Yahoo!, Google, MSN and Ask figure out what your page is â€œaboutâ€ by looking at itâ€™s content so relevance is as important as PageRank but I want to keep these posts to one topic and one topic only. The actual calculation for determining relevance is a closely kept secret which we’ll get into in another post, simply look at your page and tell me if it has those words in the title, header, copy, and links. If it does, your site relevant.
Since we’re getting off topic, I’m going to assume your digital camera website is relevant.
As an engine determines your site’s relevance, it also takes into account popularity to decide, out of the hundreds of millions of websites, in which order each site should be displayed for a search. If your competitor has a digital camera site and you both have equal relevance, that which has the higher page rank will show up first in the results. Obviously, you want to show up high in these results.
Position = Relevance X PageRank
Page Rank is a measure of how popular Google perceives the popularity/authority/quality/credibility of a web page. They publish this Rank as a number from 0-10 (with 10 being the best). I have another website with a PageRank 4 and I’m still working on the “PR” for this blog.
The most important factor in determining page rank is how many other web pages are linking to yours. Think of a link as a vote for you so the more links you have, the more popular you become. Where it gets fun is that not all links are of equal value so your job is to work on getting the right links to maximize your time spent working on your site’s popularity. This is where websites deviate from the high school popularity contest analogy. Pages with a higher page rank are worth more to your page rank when linking to you; essentially, the more popular sites get more votes such that one link from a site with a page rank of 6 is probably worth 1000 links from page rank 3 sites.
How do you get link? Well there is no ideal answer to that one. If you have a blog, sign up for exchange networks like Blogexplosion and blogrolling networks like well, Blogrolling. For the most part though all you can do is contact websites, introduce yourself, and ask for a link, post, or article about your site.
Now, go to work acquiring links!
Though I want to add one thing to what you should consider. Search engine read the copy/text in the link from another site to yours. As you contact people to request links, keep this in mind and ask that they link to you with keyword rich text. For your site, a link reading “Kodak Digital Cameras” is better than “digitalcamera.com” because of the keywords used.
All that said, I can distill popularity and PageRank down to 3 considerations:
1. Page rank is popularity and popularity goes a long way toward your appearing in the top of search results
2. Improve your popularity by getting other websites to link to yours
3. Target the popular sites (those with their own significant PageRank) and ask that they link to you using keyword rich text
Whatâ€™s Your PageRank?
Install the Google Toolbar (the PageRank feature is not turned on by default so be sure to enable it).