Pagerank 101
January 7, 2010

by: Robert Wang |

Pagerank is analagous to the Twitter of the SEO world. Everyone wants a piece of the action, but very few get how to leverage it. In the following post, we discuss what it is, how to use it, and what tactics to avoid.

Pagerank Defined:

For all its mystery and sinister reputation, it can be explained in one line: how likely is someone to end up on your webpage? Back in the day, Google wanted a way to show how likely it was for a “random surfer” to end up on your webpage. Later on, they realized that no one browses the internet by clicking links randomly, its all driven by intent, and fixed their model. Modern pagerank is the result of that.

The more BIG websites linking to your brainchild, the better your pagerank and the better you tend to fare–and I say this with the utmost emphasis on ‘tend’.There are plenty of webpages out there with garbage Pagerank that still place within the top 3 search results in their respective fields. Most of the time, however, a link from a popular page will drive significant traffic to your door, thereby increasing the likelihood that your page is visited, and thus increasing Pagerank.

Synopsis: You care because Pagerank affects how well your search rank fares and the amount of traffic you receive by proxy.(Granted this is an extremely rough cut explanation: if you want technical details check out this excellent article from hubpages.)

The Care and Feeding of Your Pagerank:

Building Pagerank is just as much about social networking as it is about avoiding pitfalls. Like all things worth having, Pagerank is something you must accumulate gradually over the course of years through your persistent, attentive pruning.

Here are the top 3 ways to grow your page rank:

1. Be social. It’s a popularity contest. All the content in the world won’t help you if you’ve got zero web presence. Comment on other sites, send out emails, talk to people for the sake of talking. The links will follow.

2. Name dropping. Whenever you’re given the opportunity to refer your readership to a valuable resource or alternative perspective, or even a reference, USE IT. Most web savvy individuals check their analytics compulsively. They’ll know when you link to them. The nice ones will link back.

3. Link to yourself. Pagerank flows from page to page, as it does from site to site. You can distribute and grow your Pagerank, tailoring it to the pages you want to get the most exposure by tweaking your internal linking (You can test out any potential effects of link Pagerank sculpting here). Additionally, the more pages that Google indexes from your site, the higher your maximum Pagerank. The fastest way to ensure your entire site gets index is by sending your xml sitemap to Google.

Synopsis: Communicate to your web community: if your site sells leather goods, its time to start posting in biker forums. Go to town on the linking process: link to as many outside sources as you can—preferably your newfound biker friends. Submit your sitemap to all the major search engines so they can index your ENTIRE site. Finally, channel your pagerank to the desired pages through creative linking.

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things:

Here are a few obstacles that you’ll want to avoid when growing your Pagerank.

1. Buying links. Not gonna lie. It’s possible to buy links from big sites to increase your PR. Google usually catches on pretty quickly, however and removes any potential benefits. You’re better off saving your money.

2. Linking to shady sites. A good indicator is the lack of pagerank despite being online for awhile. These pages will drag you down with them. Do your homework before you accept those link exchange requests. If the site seems less than legit, just move on.

3. Traffic farming. Creating viral content is one of the fastest ways to generate fresh traffic. However if you rely on it soley, Google will take notice and penalize your efforts. Keep running those campaigns, but do so in moderation.

…And that about wraps up today’s lesson.
Till next time: stay classy.

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