Google PageRank welcome hereWho cares?

A lot of people.

The recent Google PageRank updates have caused a stir, with a number of popular blogs dropping significantly in PageRank (PR). Darren Rowse has launched an entertaining PageRank Slam competition, and pointed out an interesting Sydney Morning Herald article on the topic.

Does PageRank matter?

Google PageRank:

  • is a 1 to 10 ranking that shows Google’s view of the importance of a web page.
  • is not linear in scale, so moving from PR1 to PR2 is a lot easier than moving from PR3 to PR4.
  • can be viewed by installing the Google Toolbar for IE or Firefox.

A high PR page suggests a lot of links to it, making it a more trusted page. A link to your page from a high PR page is worth more (from Google’s ranking perspective) than a link from a page with a low PR.

As Google is the major search engine, if you are interested in search marketing then it’s hard to ignore Google’s very public feedback on how it views your site. Google is not the be all and end all of the web, but its influence cannot be ignored. For as long as Google publishes PR, it will matter to a lot of people.

When a small to medium business site launches online, it will have no PR at all. You can move to a PR1 or PR2 with initial efforts, and a PR of 3 or 4 within 12 months is probably an achievable target. Get to a PR of 5 or 6 and you are right up there in the world wide web. You don’t need any PR at all to be able to operate a business online. But it may help increase the perception of your site for some people.

Only Google knows exactly how PageRank is set. In general, if you follow a strategy of publishing good content and attracting links from external websites that focus on your subject area, then your PageRank will improve. While not as important, if you have internal links from your own posts and pages back to your topic related ‘authority’ pages, then your authority pages will improve in PageRank.

If that explanation isn’t detailed enough for you, see this article at WebWorkshop called Google’s PageRank Explained.

This is a brand spanking new site, so we don’t have a PageRank allocated yet. Over at PublicityShip we have a PR4, and I had my fingers crossed for a move to PR5 this round. We didn’t get there. Maybe we were lucky we didn’t go down, as a lot of blogs found it a very tough quarter. [Update: I posted too soon – we did get a PR5 this round.] CopyBlogger dropped to a PR4, which I personally find extraordinary – this is a site with over 26,000 subscribers. So it shows that PR itself needs to be taken with a grain of salt. [Update2: Copyblogger now back up to PR7]

One of our newer blogging clients is Simone Martin at OutfitInspirations. For reasons I can not explain, Simone’s blog didn’t get assigned a PageRank this round, which is mind boggling [Update: once again too soon, Simone debuted with a PR3] (she has amassed more back links in 4 months than we have in over a year).

One of our bloggers who increased PR was Janet Shaw, who went from PR3 to PR4. Good progress in its own right, but even more so considering Janet is blind – congratulations Janet. [Update: Other sites we work with who did well this round included AuspenMarkers.com (debuted at PR 3), Paul & Jenny Geelen (increased to PR4), Jane Genovese at Learning Fundamentals (debuted at PR3), and Ningaloo Blue (up to PR4).]

Enjoy the PageRank for your site as it grows, but don’t obsess about it. Pay the most attention to what your prospective clients are interested in, how to earn their trust, and how to offer products and services they are interested in buying. If your run a site with good traffic that converts well, you won’t be bothering with PR at all.