Chris Faber: (02) 9716 9744 or 0418 224 784

Andy Griffiths: (02) 9876 8107 or 0407 226 472


Some thoughts on PageRank (PR)

During a recent research expedition on the internet reading about Search Engine Optimisation of all things I came across this quote "As far as search engine rankings are concerned, the higher your PageRank the more your pages can compete well in the search results for competitive keywords. Without a reasonable PageRank (at least four), you may as well not bother trying to compete for high rankings for competitive keywords."

I might have explained a few of these points differently but the only part that seriously troubles me is the bit "without a reasonable PageRank (at least four), ...". Maybe it's my incorrect interpretation of ".. for competitive keywords" that's causing me concern, but I think this statement requires closer examination.

Speaking of examinations, who's heard the line about doing exams that any score above 51% is wasted effort? While this logic has a certain appeal it is misleading. Results of only 51% won't get you very far in life and they won't get your website to the top of the search engine listings.

Would you be happy if your doctor only scored 51% on an important exam and this was sufficient to let him / her see patients? How could you be helped if your condition was covered in the unknown 49%.

Here are some things we know about Page Rank:

  • Page Rank is a Google invention
  • Google calculates Page Rank using a complex algorithm that relies on the number and value of links pointing to a web page
  • The publicly available Page Rank is only updated a couple of times a year, so most of the time the value we see is out of date
  • It is only one of many factors that Google uses to determine your position in search results
  • Most website owners would be better off ignoring Page Rank and leaving their SEO specialist take the necessary steps to improve the results for the website without focussing on a specific Page Rank

I know a number of websites that compete very effectively with PR 2 and I also know of others that are not close to competitive at PR 4. Every website exists in a specific environment. It has its own set of keywords and possibly a different set of competitors exist for each keyword. The number of those competitors and their value (not just the Page Rank) will determine who finishes on page one of a Google search and who is not in the race.

Broadly speaking, the higher the Page Rank the better your results. But no specific Page Rank will provide certainty. Google isn't successful because it has a Page Rank 8, 9 or 10. It is successful because it is good at what it does. Because it is successful, more websites link to it. Because websites link to it, it has a great Page Rank. So focussing on getting your Page Rank to 4 is putting the cart before the horse. By all means encourage websites to link to your website, but make sure you provide something worth visiting.

While I'm offering a different opinion on the writings of another SEO provider, I find the last statement in the image difficult to believe - "... because of our interlinking and directory submission practices - you are assured of a PageRank headstart, and often debut with a PageRank of four or five."

Why do I raise an eyebrow on this claim? Largely because it goes against the conventional wisdom of the general SEO community. Any page that has a PageRank of 4 or higher has a significant number of quality inbound links pointing to it and most SEO consultants feel that going from no inbound links to a sufficient number to achieve PR 4 or higher would almost certainly raise warning flags at Google and could see the site penalised. Anything that doesn't look natural to Google may produce the opposite effect to the one intended. I don't mind entertaining a maverick view from time to time, but I need some logic involved that I can follow. I can find no logic in this claim that mitigates the risk of getting it wrong.

If this discussion raises a few questions (or eyebrows) for you please feel free to contact MidBoh. We are happy to discuss the points raised or to discuss your requirements and how we might be able to help your business grow.

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