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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Google Pagerank Tips

The purpose of this posting is to get into all the little nitpicky details that can affect PageRank which must be addressed and considered once you have mastered the basics of how to structure your website or blog, and how to use links properly. These tips are the icing on the cake which is your basic plan of accumulating Google PageRank points. This article assumes that you already have a good understanding of what Google PageRank points are and how they work. If you have not already done so, we highly recommend that you read the article How website structure impacts Google PageRank first.

Links = votes in Google PageRank The basic premise of links in Google’s eyes is that any website or webpage that is linking into another website or webpage thinks that the content there is worthwhile, and is casting a vote of approval for it. The more votes or links that a particular page or site has; the more valuable and important it must be. All votes are not equal, and how much weight a vote has to carry will be determined by the PageRank points it has to assign. This will depend on how the overall structure of the site impacts the voting page, and how many links that page has both pointing towards it and going out of it.

Links don’t always have to be external to cast a vote. One way to increase your PageRank is by adding new pages and posts to your site. Since each page has 1 PR point to contribute, each post which has valuable and original content will contribute PR points to your site, as long as it is properly linked. Not only is having a steady stream of good content essential for PageRank; this is also one of the biggest factors in how many readers you will have, how much traffic you can generate, and whether or not other people want to exchange links with you.

How external Links affect PageRank

Bad links coming into your site from places like link farms or other sources of low repute will neither help nor hinder you. Google recognizes that you cannot control who links to your blog or website, so incoming links of a bad nature don’t count against you. Outgoing links to these same sources will count against you though, and should be avoided at all costs. Make sure that you are very choosy in which sites and pages you give links to.

When deciding whether or not to trade links with a site, the PR of their main page is not the only factor to consider. Most people who have only a basic concept of how the PageRank points work would think that an incoming link from a site whose main page has a rank of 8 would be much better than one which has a 5. This would only be absolutely true if both of the links in question being offered were going to be posted on the main page. As it is, this is impossible to answer without more information and is far too simplistic a way of looking at things. Automatically assuming this to be true based on having no further info is not accurate. Anyone making these types of assumptions is not thinking through how PR points work and how votes are weighed. Let’s use the two sites above as examples and see why this is true.

Site A has a PR of 8 on the main page. They wish to trade links, and will place a hypertext link to my site on their Links page with a brief description. The links page only has one incoming link to it, which is from the main page of their own site. No external links from other websites are giving it any added weight. While the PR of the main page may be good, the PR of the links page is not. It has too few incoming points to boost it enough to outweigh the too numerous outbound links it is housing. It has reached the stage where any points that were available to distribute are so watered down by being shared among all of the outgoing links on the page that none of them are really gaining much benefit to their PageRank. This is the best possible result, with the worst one being that this page has so many links and such little content on it that Google doesn’t give any value to the incoming link at all.

Site B is someone with a smaller but still reputable site whose main page has a PR of 5. They would also like to trade links, and offer to write an article reviewing my website or blog. The article will be linked to from their main page, and the only outbound link on the page containing the review will be pointing at my main page. All around this is a much better choice for me to pursue than Site A, even though this site has a lower PageRank. One reason is that any PR points that are available to be gained will belong only to my main page, because there are no other links competing for them. Another is that since they are writing an article, chances are good that people will visit the page to read it. The traffic and other possibilities like bookmarks could increase the PR of that page containing the article, which means more points would be available to be gained. If the article is well written and makes my site sound interesting, it will give the people viewing the link much more of a reason to actually click it and check my site out than a link next to blurb would. Also since there is a page containing content involved, this article will show up in search engine results whereas the other link probably will not.

All URL’s are not equal in Search Engines

Recognizing that each website or blog has numerous different URL’s that can be used to arrive at the main page is critical. Let’s use this blog as an example. All of the following will cause a user to land on my main page when put into the browser bar:,,, and For navigation purposes, it does not matter which one is used because they all arrive at the same destination. When it does begin to matter which one you use is where it starts to concern incoming links affecting Google PageRank. The reasons for this is because spiders and web crawlers are not sentient and thinking beings who can look at these four items and reach the conclusion that they mean the same thing. Spiders will see them as being totally unique and different URL’s, and all of them can and will have a different PageRank score according to Google.

If you do not choose and stick to the same specific usage every time you create a link to your main page it will mean that you are potentially watering down your PageRank by distributing it randomly among these URL’s. You are much better off for one to have a very high PageRank at the expense of the others having very little than you are for them all to score lower on an even basis. This is because they really aren’t four different things, and you only need one that is getting good results to drive the traffic to your main page. Granted you may not always be able to choose which one gets used as a link. If a reader likes your site and decides on their own to create a link to it someplace, they will use whichever one they want to. Any time you do have an impact though, including when discussing trading links with someone else, you should specify which one you prefer to be used in order to try to get the best results you can.

Sites without a PageRank

There are three reasons why a site may not have a positive PageRank assigned by Google. It is often easy to figure out why they have no ranking if you know what to look for, and this is helpful when trying to decide how to deal with them and the content they contain. If you cannot figure out why a site has no ranking or it looks to be due to any other reason than the fact that the site is a very good one that is simply brand new, it is not a site you will want to associate with at all. You should either avoid the site altogether, or check back later to see if it has been indexed. Linking to sites like this even with No Follows can make your own site look bad.

Sites that are very new may not be indexed yet. These may be fairly easy to identify because they will probably be smaller in size, and may not contain a lot of pages or postings. Any postings they do have that contain a date stamp will be pretty recent. You should also expect to see lower member levels and activity rates on any features such as comments, forums or guest books. The only way to really gauge the value of such a site, aside from waiting until Google indexes it, is to do so yourself. Things to look at would be the quality and frequency of posted content, how the site is designed, and what types of links it has coming into and out of it.

The second reason a site may not have a PageRank is that it is poorly designed. This can happen even if the publisher is posting good content. A few examples of things that can cause this are the presence of a lot of dangling pages that don’t link to anything else, or having a pop-up landing page that stops traffic and therefore PageRank from applying to the main page of the site. Having too many links which are not tagged as no-follow can also cause PageRank to tank; even if they are valid ones pertaining to content. This is especially true in sites that are small or where the links are all located in one place, and is made worse if the site isn’t properly structured. While these sites may actually have well written and informative content, they still are not sites that you will want to make outbound links to.

The third reason a site doesn’t have a PageRank is that it has been penalized for something by Google. Link Farms fall into this category because they have no real value to visitors. Sites that contain too many affiliate ads won’t get positive rankings. Some affiliate links are fine, but if a site has so many that its purpose seems to be leaning more towards affiliate marketing than providing content, Google won’t index it. Sites that are deemed to be supplementary in nature also don’t get indexed. Pages that contain a lot of content which is cookie cutter in nature or is not original content can be penalized as having no value.

PageRank via toolbar

Toolbars sometimes estimate PageRank and should not be used as a gauge when the results may matter. The values they give should be taken with a grain of salt and if used, only used as a general idea of the status of a website or webpage. If you need the real data on the PageRank of a site or page, take the extra moment to look it up manually and don’t rely on the toolbar. Want to see an example of a toolbar doing this? Log onto your blog or website and create a new page or posting. Then navigate to it using the toolbar. You will notice that the toolbar gives a PageRank for the new page. It is impossible that this is valid information, because it could take up to a month for that page to even be indexed. Google certainly doesn’t provide PR results for new pages in less than 5 minutes.

So where is the tool bar getting the ranking from? It is making an educated guess as to what it thinks the PageRank may be when the page indexes. The problem here is that it will do this any time it doesn’t get a solid answer for the PR of a page or site. This includes sites that may never be indexed because they are being penalized by Google. Using information from a toolbar which is estimating may provide you with a false positive value for a site which has no ranking, and in all probability won’t be getting one on the next update either. The only true authority on what Google’s opinion really is; is Google themselves.



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