Online business should be easy, if not for the quest to improve PageRank. You build a website, you share your knowledge through a series of articles, and people should come for the useful information. But with millions of websites sharing similar information that you have, search engines had to find a way to determine what page is most useful to a user. Thus, page ranking was born.
A page rank signifies the importance of a webpage in relation to a search query. A high ranking page that has been considered to be more important is listed on top of search results page over other pages on the Internet with less importance.
In other words, Google, like any other search engines, are businesses whose success relies on providing the most relevant search results. If they fail on providing what their customers want, then they are bound to doom.
What is PageRank?
PageRank is a system that Google used to conduct a sort of elections by counting the number of votes that a page gets to determine its authority on a given topic. A vote is determined by factoring in the number of links bound to a page, taking also into consideration that some links are more important than others. The scores acquired based on links, are then used along with many other things to determine a page’s rank.
Let’s look at it this way:
Google interpret a link coming from webpage A to webpage B as one vote from A to B. So if webpage B gets ten links, it gets 10 votes. But what if web pages C, D, and E with the same topic get the same number of votes?
Google also analyze the pages that cast a vote. A vote cast by a more important page is deemed to share the importance to the webpage that receive its vote. Therefore, it is weighed heavily.
From the illustration above, you will find that both B and C receive equal amount of links. But since B gets a link from E which is more important from the rest, B gets a higher rank than C. The Importance of E is determined also by the number of votes that it gets, among many other factors.
Aside from the number of links and the importance of each vote, Google also look at the relative importance of the votes cast.
Since it is the desire of every search engine to bring the most relevant result to a query, they also look at the relevance of the link coming from other sites. If the web page that cast the vote is totally irrelevant to the one who receive it, then it is not counted.
So why do search engines put so much emphasis on links?
That is because search engines are programs and not humans who can read the words behind the texts to discern the real meaning of an article. They rely on people who can tell them that a webpage has so much value.
Of course, if a webpage receives so much links, it just goes to show that Internet users must have found something worthy on that webpage to be shared to his readers.
How Do We See a Page’s Rank?
Now that we know that in order for your site to get a high rank, a vote from an authority site should push you up. And if you are really keen on improving your site’s page rank, you will be interested to know the rank of each page to check if a website is worthy to build a relationship with.
A webpage’s rank is not visible to an ordinary user if you have not installed the Google Toolbar. It is an option available for Internet Explorer and Firefox. Just for illustration purposes, let’s see how it looks:
See that tiny green bar? When you pull up a website, that rectangular box, which is the PageRank meter, is populated automatically with green to show the current page’s rank. If the PageRank meter is completely filled with green, that particular webpage scored 10 out of 10 on Google’s ranking algorithm. If the meter is empty, the page rank is zero out of ten or 0/10.
Now, a twist
I tried to search for movies, and here’s the result I got from Google.
You will find the first among the list is movies.com, followed by youtube.com and the third on the list is imdb.com. Now, I opened up each page to see their corresponding ranks.
The first on the list, movies.com, has a page rank of 6/10
YouTube, which made it to second list, ranks 8/10
Whereas, imdb.com which is the third among the list, also ranks 8/10
Now when I went down further, I have seen allrovi.com on the8th list which ranks 0/10, and below that, on the 10th in the list, is Wikipedia that has a PageRank of 6/10.
The Big Question
Why did movies.com which is ranked 6th made it on top of the list and allrovi.com, with 0/10, made it on the first page of search results outbidding Wikipedia?
PageRank is only a score that represents the importance of a page. If you get a link coming from an authority site, the importance of that page could be transmitted to yours. But that is not the only factor that search engines consider to rank your page. There are many other factors and many other systems aside from PageRank, that search engines used to produce search rankings. The orders in which the websites are listed on search results depend on what is being searched on.
Because if search engines use PageRank as the only determining factor to rank a page, they will not be able to give the best results to a search query.
Let’s take our case above.
We all know that YouTube and Wikipedia have many other pages on their website aside from the movie page. When I searched, I used the keyword “movies.” And what came on top of the list is movies.com. Although YouTube ranked higher than movies.com, the weight or score of the URL was also given importance, in addition to a webpage’s rank.
Later on, I will also show you some of the most important factors that many Internet experts believe to gain scores from search engine’s ranking. But for now, let me just conclude what we have learned from PageRank
Key Points to Remember
PageRank is a system used to determine the importance of a webpage.
PageRank is just one of the many factors used to determine a webpage’ ranking on search results.
A high PageRank does not guarantee that your website will be on top of every search results.
Tips To Improve Your PageRank
Before I lay down the ways by which you can improve your rage rank, let me just reiterate that search engine’s algorithm is made up of a lot of factors. Getting a score on one doesn’t guarantee that your webpage will be ranked higher. The tip is: if you can score on most factors, then your site would definitely get a good rank on search results.
Aside from inbound links, which is considered to be weighed heavily by search engine to determine page ranking, these are the other factors by which you can get additional scores.
1. Use keywords on your domain if you can. If not, make sure that you use keywords on your URL
Going back to our example above, the keyword that I used when I made the query on Google is “movies”. Now, let’s take a look at each website’s URL. The first website that Google chose to be on top of the list when I did the search is movies.com. The second website’s URL is youtube.com/movies.
If the first website has chosen a different domain like the second on the list, I doubt that it would make it on top. Considering that all things being equal, the very reason that Google chose movies.com to be on top is because of its domain. YouTube, if it did not include movies on its URL would probably go somewhere below, like Wikipedia.
2. Keyword Density
Keyword density is the ratio of the keyword against the number of words contained in an article.
Let’s take the keyword “page rank” as an example. If the keyword “page rank” is used five times in a 100 word article, then the density is 5%. If a keyword falls below 5%, it might be considered by search engines that the page is irrelevant to a search query. If the density is too high, it might activate search engine’s spam filter and a web page may be penalized and put on the lowest ranking.
Although I believe that it makes sense for search engine to consider a keyword’s density to find the relevance of a webpage in relation to a search query, it might also be good to consider the readability of your article. If you find that by trying to achieve 5% keyword density seem to massacre your article, use related keywords instead.
3. Use keywords on your page title and subheadings
When we look for a topic in a book, we normally look at the table of contents where we can find the title of each chapter or article. The title serves to give an indication of what the article is all about.
Search engines would like to think the same way as humans; thus, giving weight to the title and subheadings.
4. Page layout
Quite recently, Google launched the page layout algorithm improvement , where they declared that pages that don’t have much relevant content above the fold (which is the visible portion of a web page without scrolling down), due to large block of ads displayed, will be ranked lower on search results.
The change on algorithm was a result of customers who complained that after they clicked on a link from SERP, they find it difficult to find what they are looking for, mostly because of ads. Google is in the business of providing the best possible result on their SERP, and I think that’s quite understandable.
There are still a lot of factors that search engines consider when ranking a web page. Some of them would be the age of the website, your location, and other experts believe that using keywords on the first and the last few sentences of your article is also being scored.
If you are using a machine to understand an article, everything that has been mentioned actually makes sense. And since search engines do not divulge their algorithm, we can only rely on the analysis of experts.
There could be more than 500 factors involve in Google’s scoring and really, it doesn’t make sense to guess what they are. And the best advice to improve your PageRank is still to focus on producing the best possible user experience on your website.