What is Page Rank and How Can You Increase Your Page Rank Score?

Part of the You Can Learn Web Success Techniques series.
By Ken Brown
Editor, YouCanLearnSeries.com
Updated:
December 2, 2004

The people who developed search engines have found multiple ways to determine whose page contains the information people really want when they search on keywords or phrases. Some search engines look at keywords on a page. Some examine the title and description meta tags. Others read the first paragraph and last paragraph, compare them to other information found in the meta tags and then build their search page database from that information.

All of these different search engine methodologies are known as algorithms. If you go to the Google™ website they claim to have over 100 different algorithms to determine where your site fits in when someone searches on red headed birds of Illinois. Google™ won't reveal their exact method of rating your page, it is confidential and proprietary information.

But they do mention that PageRank plays some part in determining your position in the search from a potential customer. If you download the Google™ toolbar, one of the interesting tools on the bar is a page's Page Rank. The page rank is a log value of the number of websites that link to your page.

Fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

One of the fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the power gained from people who provide links to your web site. These links can add up to a couple of your friends getting together and putting a link to your page from their little page. Or it can be thousands of people linking to your page because of compelling content or interesting images on your web site.

Every web site that links to you provides you with a virtual point. You won't really find a scoreboard to check your actual score. The more virtual points you score the greater your page rank. Unfortunately it isn't a one to one ranking system. The best you can get is a score of 10. Google™ is the only company I have seen that has a score as high as 10. There might be others, I don't get out very often.

Does this mean there are ten web sites that link to Google™? No, it actually means there are 10 X 10 X 10 or more web sites that contain a hyperlink in some form to the Google™ home page. Theoretically, this means they have millions or more connections.

You might ask, "How about my eight friends that link to me? What kind of a score will that get me?" Probably a page rank of 1. Which is a good place to start. Hopefully at this point you want to know how to increase that number. Good.

There are many ways to encourage people to link to you. Some are good ways, others will cause Google™ to ban you from their search engine. So you need to tread lightly when deciding how to boost your score.

Let's begin with some of the good ways to increase your score. When your friends link to you that is a good thing, but with some degree of caution. Page rank is more than you link to him and he reciprocates by linking to you. See not all forms of links are worth the same number of points on the scoreboard.

If you run a gardening website and your friend runs a weightlifting site, then you are not in what is considered related fields. Your friend is talking about the bench press and you have articles about the Autumn Joy Sedum. It isn't horrible when your friend links to you but you can do better. You can score more points if the site that links to you is in a related industry.

So your gardening website might have links to a website that sells gardening tools, another site that sells seeds or actual plants and even another that is involved in landscapes and pool items. Notice the connnections to gardening? Page rank is all relative. (bad joke) It is important though that you develop links with people in related industries. It is the difference in scoring a touchdown compared to scoring an extra point.

Google™ is Watching You

Google™ is watching you and your links and is rating you based on many factors, remember over a hundred. How do you get these other people to link to you? You know your friends, but you don't know these other people. What are you to do? Begin by looking for websites in related industries. Do a search on them on Google™. Then contact them and develop a relationship with them.

Be careful when contacting other webmasters. There are bad people out there that have abused the linking process. So people are shy about any stray email they receive. Don't spam. Be upfront and honest. But most importantly, develop a web site worth going to in the first place. If your website has problems with links not working, bad design and not family friendly, people aren't going to want to play with you. So get your site nice and tidy then get to know other webmasters and owners. Then if you like each other ask to exchange links.

In their technology page, Google™ warns about "bad neighborhoods". These are web sites that have abused the linking process by engaging in improper linking practices. These bad practices might be Search engine consultants or web masters trying to get that extra edge without laying the ground work. Like the carpenter that doesn't bother measuring and just eyes a cut on a board and then wonders why it doesn't fit.

Be Careful of Bad Neighborhoods

Practices to be careful about include, shadow domains, doorway pages, people selling keywords in the address bar, anybody that guarantees you a specific ranking, and people that claim to give you links but they are from bogus search engines. Visit Google™ to see more unethical practices by search engine professionals. Buyer beware.

But I want you to notice something. See the link in the paragraph above? Google ™ has additional information available I want you to read. I would have to plagarize it to give you all the facts presented by Google™. So I summarized and then added a link to Google™. That is why you must present good content. Write articles and present products that others read and want their visitors to read.

Is that how Google™ has gotten such a high page count, by having people like you link to them in articles? Well not completely. That is a start, but there are other ways to get links. Google™ also allows you to place a search engine form on your web page. This allows your customer to only search your site for a specific keyword or phrase. But you can do even more.

I wrote an article recently that won a little contest at Developer Shed. The article was titled Eight Steps to Web Success. That article led me to create this web business tips section of my web site. But the reason I bring up Developer Shed is because they do something better than any other web site I know. They provide users with software tools that you can put on your web site. These tools allow you to do all kinds of cool stuff and they are all free.

So how do you get them? You go to the DevShed site and copy and paste the HTML onto your page and bingo you have the tools on your web site. Guess what? You have just added a link to the DevShed web site. So create a cool tool that others want to add to their site and you have an automatic link generated to your site.

This should give you a good start on understanding the term Page Rank. As you become more knowledgeable in the internet business you will read additional articles and increase your ability to enhance your own personal web site's page rank.

In review, page rank involves getting other sites to link with you. Your importance as a source of information and as a leader is inferred from the people who link to you. The old cliche, "you are known by the company you keep" is perfect when discussing page rank. The more relevant sites that link to you, the higher your page rank and by extension the greater your chance of ending up on the first page of any search.

Next Lesson: Google Patent Implications

I Ran Out Of Blog Ideas What Should I Write About - Blog Article Idea Starters - Do you ever reach that point where you don't know what to blog about next? As long as it isn't fatal, meaning you are so sick of blogging you never want to see your blog ever again, then these tips may prove useful for you.

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