Web Applications in Bournemouth & Front End Development in Bournemouth

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Google Page Rank – To Ignore or Not

google

What it is

Well, lets start with the very basics. To find your PageRank you need to install the ‘Google Toolbar’ onto your browser, you may also need go into the options and tell PageRank to display on the toolbar, it is not always enabled by default.

PageRank is NOT an overall measure of a site’s SEO or importance, all PageRank tells you about a site is how many and how valuable the links that are pointing to that site are in general rather than giving a view of the site for any particular keywords. PageRank(PR) is rated from nothing to ten, with the infamous ‘grey bar’ being below zero meaning that the page hasn’t got any links or hasn’t been assigned a PR yet by Google.

The PR you will see in your browser toolbar will not be up to date either, generally Google only update the PR displayed in the Toolbar every 3+ months so most of the time the number that is displayed there is more historical than anything else.

PageRank and your position in the SERPs

Your PageRank and position in the search engine results pages are only very slightly related. Your PR is only a very vague and general guide to the number of links that are coming into your site, as these links cover all keywords and sites a lot of that PR is going to be ignored on any search. When you do a search your site will be matched for relevancy against the query the searcher used; if it is very relevant and trusted then it will be displayed quite highly.

As links are only one small (but important) part of SEO; just obtaining thousands of links won’t help much either, only links that are relevant to the searcher’s query will pass much importance on to the site receiving the link. You can see that even a site with a very high PR (7-8) could quite easily not appear on the first page for any searches, while lots of high value links are coming into this site if they are spread over a large number of keywords they could easily have no combined effect on any search.

Basically PR is not a metric that actually means anything; at the very best it should be taken as a vague guide to the number and value of links that a site has coming into it. If these links aren’t relevant to the searches the site wants to appear in however it isn’t going to help and nothing about PR tells you that.

Recent Changes

So, if we are ignoring PR, what’s the best way to work out the real value of a web site?

Well, in general it depends on the type of site.

For an e-commerce site, the best judge of the site will always be how much the site is selling. Visitors are good but if they aren’t visitors who are interested in purchasing then there isn’t too much point in them being there; the trick here is finding out if the visitors are not purchasing because they don’t like your website or because they didn’t want to buy anything from you in the first place. Checking the queries that where used to get to your site or how the visitors got to your site in general is normally the best way to work this out which will tell you if you need to target more specific keywords for your site or if you need to improve your store design to make it easier and more appealing for visitors to find and purchase the products they are looking for.

For other sites, the best judge is normally the number of visitors to the site and the bounce rate. If a lot of people are just looking at one page on the site and then leaving its normally an indication that either the site wasn’t what they where looking for or that the site isn’t very user friendly.

Generally a website has a purpose, your overall goal should always be for it to fulfil that purpose and everything else is secondary to this. It is very possible to get too obsessed with PR or SEO and forget that the web site has a job to do and if it isn’t doing that then there isn’t much point in having it there at all.

Summary

In general PR is just a way to get an overall idea of the number of links pointing towards a site and their quality; the higher the value the more and better quality of the links that are pointing towards a site. This doesn’t imply any specific trust or ranking position in any search engine as these are all dependent on many other factors – most important being the relevancy of the site itself, its content and the trust with the search engines. Don’t assume that a higher PR site is always better; spammy links may increase your PR but they aren’t likely to do much to your position in the search engines for the keywords that you want to rank on.


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