If you use the Google toolbar when surfing the web then you have probably seen the little green colored box that refers to Google’s Toolbar PageRank(PR); their proprietary tool that simplifies which websites are more important than others on a scale of 1-10 (or zero if you have no PageRank).

Here are a few websites and their Google Toolbar PageRank(PR):

  • The California Department of Motor Vehicles has a PR 7
  • CNN.com has a PR of 9 (pictured below)
  • The search engine, Dogpile.com, a PR of 8
  • Most websites average in the 2 & 3 range, with optimized sites getting into the 4 and 5; And some how, some way, singer George Michael has a PR of 6

…Obviously, there’s a lot more to it.

Page Rank for CNN

If you are getting a PR of 1 or 2, there are reasons why this is your rank, and there are ways to improve it. But first, let’s go over how Google PageRank is determined.

According to Google, “The software behind our search technology conducts a series of simultaneous calculations requiring only a fraction of a second. Traditional search engines rely heavily on how often a word appears on a web page. We use more than 200 signals, including our patented PageRank™ algorithm, to examine the entire link structure of the web and determine which pages are most important. We then conduct hypertext-matching analysis to determine which pages are relevant to the specific search being conducted. By combining overall importance and query-specific relevance, we’re able to put the most relevant and reliable results first.”

Fun Fact: PageRank was coined by Google co-founder, Larry Page, while attending Stanford University and building the first versions of Google. You can (and should) read Google’s site about PageRank found under corporate information.

Here are 3 things to know about PageRank:

  • The value difference is expotential, and similiar to the Richter scale which measures an earthquake’s release of energy. Therefore, to lift your PR of 4 to a PR of 5 is very significant. To raise it from a 6 to a 7 would be much more significant even still.
  • Even if two sites have the same PR, there are other factors that still apply. For this reason a site with a PR of 4 can outrank a site with a PR of 6, mostly depending on its relevancy to the search.
  • PageRank values are updated about every 90-120 days. For this reason, if you are using an SEO professional and don’t see your PR increasing, don’t worry, internally Google is seeing the efforts but the Toolbar PageRank may not update for awhile. If you hire a good company and keep your fingers crossed you might just jump two or three spots!!

How can I increase PageRank?
If it was easy and only took a few minutes a day, SEO companies would not be in business. The general concept to understand is that Google ranks pages, not sites. All your pages make up your website, and because most pages link to the homepage, which is essentially like the Sun in our solar system, it typically has the highest PageRank. However, if you have a particular page that is your “big” service or product, and want to make it like a “Jupiter,” then improve the content on that page and improve the interlinking to that page, e.g. we did this above for the word “SEO.” (See Image below).

SEOmoz image 1

*Image by SEOmoz

You can also boost a Jupiter page’s PR by creating more quality content pages below it and linking those. (See below)

SEOmoz image 2

*Image by SEOmoz

Conclusion
PageRank is an important element of improving your website’s ranking, however tactics used to improve your PageRank only will not guarantee success. Don’t forget that getting a person to your website is half the challenge, and the next is to keep them there and have them buy a product or contact your company for services. When discussing your products or services with an SEO company be sure to make it clear what your specialties are, so those pages will carry a greater emphasis over others.

If you have questions we ask that you post them below in our blog. We’ll get back to you within 90 minutes during regular business hours, or perhaps in the middle of the night when we are up thinking of how our 401k plans are doing lately…

Cheers,

The Obu Team

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