Articles for Webmasters     How to Push your Site up the Rankings with Google PageRank

It used to be that you could get virtually any website at the top of the rankings with just the judicious use of keywords both behind the scenes and in the actual text. Those days are gone. The fact that you could manipulate search engine rankings really ticked off the search engines themselves and they devised different ways to test the validity of a site. One of the best known examples of this is Google’s PageRank system. So, how can you make PageRank work for you?

In the past a simple algorithmic search could see a fairly pointless website ranked real high. If the site was built around the right keywords in the right places and its text was keyword stuffed then it might fool the search engines and move up the ranks. Great as this was for the site’s owners it didn’t do much for the reputations of the search engines. Sites with no real intrinsic value to a visitor could rank high and sites that were useful could sink without a trace.

PageRank looks to change the way that the system works by giving specific values to web pages. The higher the PageRank that a page gets the more likely it is to occupy a high position in a search. Whilst keywords can still have an effect here this change simply makes it harder to get a search ranking without merit which is good news for website visitors on the whole.

If you look at this another way, the keywords and the way that they are used on a site can show a search engine how relevant it is. But, the added functionality of PageRank can take two web pages with the same keywords and keyword use and establish which is actually better in terms of quality. Keywords don’t matter in this instance, the higher PageRank quality rating will get the best search engine ranking.

So, how have things changed? Well, essentially, now it’s all about links and what they do for a site. Links have long been a coveted SEO tactic but they are much more important now in PageRank terms. This system basically analyzes the links that lead to a site and gives them a value. Each link that comes into a site is viewed as a positive ‘vote’ on its behalf.

So, for example, if you run a news site that is linked into by another news site then this will stand in your favour here. Things, however, are not that simple as PageRank then analyzes the site that links to your site to assess its value. If this site in turn is deemed as being valuable by PageRank then its link to your site increases in value even more.

As you can see having a link is not, in itself, enough to give you maximum benefits. What a site needs is not just the link but a valuable link. So, for example, in the news site context let’s say your link comes in from Reuters. Now that would be an extremely valuable link. This site is high in traffic and has a significant reputation. If, however, your link comes in from your local weekly newspaper then the link, whilst of some value, won’t necessarily get the ‘double whammy’ that the Reuters link would.

One of the great things about the PageRank system is that you can use more than one link per page. As you can imagine this gives you a lot more scope to try and build up votes for a page and for your site in general. But whilst it makes sense to get in-bound links wherever you can it is still important to think of their quality. A low quality link can have a negative effect on how you are ranked by the system in just the same way as a high quality one can improve it.

Often this is not something we actively think about. In general traffic terms a link equals increased traffic which is always a good thing, right? Not always in this context. If you do find that a site that could push down your ranking has linked to your site then you may need to use the ‘nofollow’ attribute value. This will tell Google, and most of the other major search engines, that the link should be disregarded.

Finally, do remember that links are not the only issue to be considered in ranking. Any site will stand a far greater chance of being perceived as valuable by a search engine if it contains robust and useful content that will add value to its visitors. So, don’t ignore what your site has to say!

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