Jan 3, 2008

Secrets of PageRank Revealed

In the last few months numerous people have asked me the secrets to understanding Google PageRank (PR) Tool. While I don't work for Google, I've been on enough websites to get a feel for how Google looks at sites, and what determines Google's PageRank for pages. I've also done a considerable amount of research over the past year to learn more about increasing PageRank and a website's SEO, and if you were to search the headlines of most of my blog posts and website articles, you'd find my listings in the top ten often more than once for each search. Last I checked, I held #1 rank on Google for numerous search terms and this list continues to grow with every post I make into the blogosphere. The following is my guideline to help you determine PageRank for your site and also figure out ways to protect and grow your Google PageRank status.

What Is Google PageRank?

Google PageRank is the formula created by Google that ranks a web site's pages. The PageRank scale gives your site a factored score between "0" and "10". The PageRank (which I'll also refer to as "PR") is often used by other webmasters and sites to determine the quality and advertising value of your site. The Google PageRank Tool may be downloaded from several different places through Google. I found it easiest to do this if you have signed up for any of the special Google accounts, like Gmail, AdSense, or Calendar.

A direct place to download the Google PageRank Tool is to download Google Tool Bar Here:
http://www.google.com/webmasters/start/ or try http://toolbar.google.com/T4/index_pack_xp.html to download the toolbar. Once toolbar is downloaded, you then search for the PageRank BUTTON tool. Then add Page Rank Tool to the Toolbar.

You can also check your PageRank using this handle tool:

How Is Your Site's Google PageRank Determined?

Without going into the math, Google PR basically is an algorithm that takes into account:

(Q) outbound links compared to (Q) inbound links, where Q = QUALITY.

To put is simply, higher quality links are from pages with higher PR and fewer links on a page.

Simple facts of Google PageRank:

1. The more pages in your site, the higher your PageRank value.

2. Inbound links improve your site page's PR value. Outbound links may degrade your site's PR value, depending upon who you link to. I've personally found that it is wisest to link to sites with at least PR4. I will make exception only for targeted, well-designed sites that appear to be heading some place and who also offer me exceptional page placement.

3. The more your pages link to each other, the higher your site's internal page rank value. Many webmasters forget that their website is more than the home page. I've spent a decent chunk of time this past year making sure "theme" pages get inbound links coming to them, as well as the well-known home page link tactic.

When is a site in PENALTY?

When the site has Google PR "0" even though the site has high traffic volume in Alexa. Google will penalize a site's PR when they've violated Google's terms.

Another type of problem site is the "link farm" which is going after groups of links. I've been deleting link farm sites off of my website and my PR went from 4 to 5. I also added some pages, so it is unclear which PR strategy worked. Clearly, though, the link farms weren't helping my PR value. My general rule of linking to a site is (1) The site must be related to my site, (2) I need to at least remotely like the website design or at least appreciate their flow of traffic, (3) The links page must be published from the home page, and buried no more than 3 links deep. I choose to follow the same rules for my websites.

A surefire way to draw Google's ire is to create a mirror page over and over again within your site. Google doesn't favor "cookie cutter" pages; indeed, Google values unique content considerably higher than content copied from other sites. Also, do NOT violate other website author's copyrights, trademarks, or images! A violation of this nature can get you into direct legal conflict. I'm on the verge of reporting a site for trademark infringement against one of my sites, as I write this article. It is a problem on the web. Please don't contribute towards illegal activities. If a site reports you to Google as violating their copyright, trademark, or image copyrights, your site is more than likely going to be flagged as a problem and you might lose your PR value.

So, what does this mean to the average webmaster or blogger?

If you want to increase your web site's PR value, follow this strategy:

1. Increase the number of high quality content pages within your site. The easiest way to do this is with blog publishing software, such as Blogger or Word Press. I've got more information on blogging at http://www.howbloggersmakemoney.com/.

2. Increase the number of high quality content links to your site's important pages. One way to do this is to find other blogs with comment fields. Find something relevant in the blog to discuss and post, with a link back to your site. Most bloggers will appreciate the comment IF it is sincere. Yes, we can tell the difference between comment-SPAM and sincere comments, so just be a decent person and be sincere.

3. Create media buzz, which will generate more links back to you. This can be done through one of the following methods:

a. Issue a Press Release.
b. Start a Contest. Publicize it on sites that feature contests.
c. Invite Other Bloggers to Guest Post.
d. Post articles to Blog Carnivals. I am working on a complete write-up on blog carnivals, both how they operate and how to maximize traffic through blog carnivals. Look for it at http://www.howbloggersmakemoney.com/.
e. Visit forums and comment in forums, with links back to your sites.

This is a start, but there are many ways to generate buzz. Find some methods and try a few for your website.

4. If you are trying to gain PR against a competing site, avoid linking with them directly or mentioning them by name in any way that might be interpreted by Google as a link (including in your meta tags). Directly linking to an article positioned above your article may position that page above yours in Google's PageRank calculation.

TIP: There is a way around (4) above, which will enable you to link to a site without impacting your Google PR. It is called the "no follow" rule.

This is a tag Google implemented around 2005 that essentially tells Google's web search spiders to "ignore" the link. It is marked with "rel" in HTML CODE. Use it as follows:

Insert the code for no follow into the HTML script. You may see a more detailed description on this at Phil Craven's site http://www.webworkshop.net/pagerank.html.

When the Google spiders see this "rel" code, along with the ="nofollow", the spiders will completely ignore the link. This is the cleanest and simplest method to protect against outbound linkage causing PR drainage from your site.

The PageRank value displayed in the toolbar is NOT the actual PR value for your site. Actually, it is just a number within the range of 3 of what your PageRank might be, nevertheless, it is a good approximate tool for traffic.

The table everyone keeps asking me for:

What type of traffic does each PR symbolize?

To the best of my ability, I have determined that PR usually represents traffic. The range for each PR varies, but usually flows within this scale:

Pages___PR #__ Monthly Uniques ___ Approx. Ad Value/mo.

1-10____ 1-2____ 300 or less. _________ $5
11-51___ PR3___ 300 - 3K ___________ $20
51-200__ PR4___ 3K - 15K ___________ $200
201-1K__ PR5___ 15K - 150K__________ $5K
1K-5K___PR6___ 150K - 3M__________ $30K
5K-10K__PR7___ 3M - 9.9M__________ $300K
11K-15K_ PR8___ 10M - 15M__________ $3M
16K-25K_PR9___ 16M - 70M _________ $10 Million +
26K-?___ PR10__ 70M+ ____________ $100 Million +

The total site pages may vary depending upon content. The Ad Value is approximate and it must be noted that sites with far less traffic make far more ad money through their structure, and sites with far more traffic make less than these numbers. This is provided as a general rule of thumb from my best estimates.

As for the money, I've known people with PR6 sites who claim to make millions off their website. I've known one peer site whose PR6 claims to make over $1,000 per day in total ads. Another blogger with PR5 rank claims to earn $5,000 per month. My own PR5 website is not making anywhere close to that yet. So, again, this is a guideline, not a rule.

I know others who ought to have much higher PR, but their business isn't really web-related, which causes a drop. It helps to have web-rich content that circulates and pulls other web traffic in order to maximize your page's value.

Note: just because a site has PR4 does not mean that it has 10,000 users visiting per month. If the site has high proportion of INbound links and hardly any OUTbound links, and the INbound links have Google PR values of "4" or higher, the page ranked 3 may move up to a 4 based upon perceived value of the site through the quality of linkage.

Table last adjusted on January 3, 2008.

Side note: When compiling this list, I was dismayed and disgusted by the sheer number of "porn" sites proliferating around PR5 - PR6 status. Don't people have more to do than look at naked images of other people? Seriously!

My last tip in wrapping up this article is this:

TIP: Deep directory structures mess with PR negatively. It is more wise to have a shallow directory structure if you wish to maximize each page's PR value.

I wish you well with increasing your site's PR value. If you want to discuss PageRank in more detail, either comment to this post or use the Hire ARRiiVE button in the sidebar at http://arriive.blogspot.com/.

Copyright © 2008 by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. Special nod to Phil Craven at WebWorkshop.net, where I recommend you head if you want to get into statistical analysis. Phil's article on Page Rank was especially helpful to remind me of the "no follow" rule.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939. SUBSCRIBE to our feed to grow your business.

1 comment:

  1. The ranking in alexa shows the total traffic being generated in your website. There are various steps involved in improving ranking in alexa. First of all it is suggested to download the alexa toolbar. Then the content, which is written, should include write-ups on alexa search engine. But a low ranking on Alexa does not indicate that the traffic is not being generated on Google, Yahoo and MSN search engines. Given the fact that Alexa ranking for a site is calculated on the basis of how many visitors with the Alexa toolbar installed have visited that particular site, the results can be inaccurate most of the time.