Visit any internet marketing forum and you are guaranteed to stumble upon a thread about Google PageRank. Members will boast they have seen an increase and others will complain theirs have dropped. Others will wear their PageRank as a badge of honour because it is higher than others commenting on the topic at hand.
What is the coveted PageRank value these people are talking about?
These people are talking about the value visible in the Google Toolbar, the little green bar that signifies the relative popularity and importance of a page. It can have a value from 0 to 10, with 10 assigned to the most popular sites and arguably the most important sites.
What many people forget about this item is it differs from the actual value used to determine the relative importance of a webpage. People confuse the two and make the assumption the higher the PageRank displayed in the toolbar for their sites, the better they will rank for their keywords.
There’s no simpler way to put it. Toolbar PageRank is not a measure of how much traffic a site receives or where the page will rank in the search engines.
It is an approximation only. It is a snapshot in time while the true value changes constantly.
Again, just to for emphasis, it has nothing to do with the amount of traffic a site receives. It reveals nothing about how a site will rank for its keywords.
What is important are the elements that influence is value and the activities you use to improve it.
PageRank was conceived as a method to determine the importrance of page based entirely on link popularity. However, it has evolved to incorporate other factors such as relevancy and outbound links.
Relevancy is self-explanatory. Link popularity refers to the number of pages that link to a particular page. Pages with higher link popularity contain more weight and will typically influence PageRank more because they themselves are considered important based on their number of links. This importance becomes somewhat diluted when there are more outbound links from that page because the outgoing weight has to be spread across all those outbound links.
These items are constantly changing and you normally have no control over who who links to your website.
For that reason alone, PageRank in itself can’t be used to determine where your site ranks in the search engine results or how much traffic it receives. Other factors come into play and its these other factors that are part of Google’s complex search algorithm.
Google has actually indicated the following about PageRank:
PageRank reflects our view of the importance of web pages by considering more than 500 million variables and 2 billion terms. Pages that we believe are important pages receive a higher PageRank and are more likely to appear at the top of the search results.
PageRank also considers the importance of each page that casts a vote, as votes from some pages are considered to have greater value, thus giving the linked page greater value. We have always taken a pragmatic approach to help improve search quality and create useful products, and our technology uses the collective intelligence of the web to determine a page’s importance.
Wow! 500 million variables and 2 billion terms! It’s not as simple as you thought right?
Don’t become obsessed with chasing PageRank. If it drops don’t panic and if it increases, don’t get too confident. It doesn’t mean what you are doing is right or wrong.
Think about it … 500 million variables and 2 billion terms! There’s too many things that may be coming into play.
Instead of focusing on something you have very little control over, Use your time to focus on improving and promote your site. Engage your readers socially and develop content that will attract high quality links. Use the time to increase the awareness and popularity of your site which in turn will increase traffic and ultimately revenue.
The next time you stumble upon one of those threads about PageRank visualize a dog chasing its tail. The dog accomplishes nothing by doing it but it keeps him preoccupied.
Don’t become the dog. Your competition is doing something much more important and aren’t preoccupied!
What’s your thoughts on Google PageRank? Are you obsessed with it?