Elements of Page Rank
Neither your copywriter nor you should confuse Page Rank with the position you occupy in the results when you search for one of your keywords. Though they are quite connected, your page rank plays just one role in your position. I think of it like a quality or validity score. Most everything discussed on these pages and in relation to search engine optimization is all about making incremental progress toward a higher position, sometimes influencing page rank and other times not. In addition to the content items mentioned on the previous pages, there are “infrastructure” components for which the value cannot be overstated. More on these in a bit. While Google used to use Page Rank as the sole determining factor in establishing positions, this is no longer the case. Page Rank is just one aspect of your “grade” as determined by Google, but it matters to your copywriter because it matters, or should matter, to you.
Page rank is exponential
In page ranking, it is often five to ten times more difficult to move up from a PR1 to a PR2 and from a PR2 to a PR3. We aren’t going to spend too much time on PR8, PR9 and PR10 sites because here you’re talking about the Microsofts, Facebooks, Yahoos and Googles of the world, the kingpins of popularity. For most small businesses, the jump from a Page Rank of one to a two is pivotal because it takes you out of the world of, say, anyone who might have thrown up a single page site on a whim – you really don’t want to be lumped into that crowd. To go from a two to a three is monumental. This is what separates the vast majority of sites out there, from those that take their organic search business seriously. Often, the difference between a PR2 and a PR3 is whether, assuming all else is equal with your search engine optimization, your site will show on the first page of listings because your page rank will “settle the tie,” so to speak. To go from a 3 to a 4 is epic, to use a word of the times, because now you’re really taking about some rarified air.
When you begin to talk about PR5, PR6 and PR7, you tend to be talking about the sites of major businesses and retailers, institutions, news outlets and the like, including blogger sites who’ve excelled at providing informational content, getting backlinks and engaging an active following or fan base. Their sites are huge, well validated repositories of content that are maintained for freshness. That’s why getting backlinks from these types of sites is so valuable … which, in turn, positively impacts your own page rank, though perhaps not as much as many think. But that’s not the whole story, either, because geography, freshness, user-generated content and social signals now play their algorithmic roles in helping the engines determine which sites should come up first and when.
Increasing Your Page Rank
Page Rank is an evaluation of how well you’ve done in creating a website in which the engines feel confident. Think of it as core character and trustworthiness. The overall size of the site and the age of both the site and the page play key roles. Think about it: a fly-by-night site that somebody put up to sell snake oil doesn’t deserve the same status as your website, so make sure it doesn’t! Other factors you want to be contemplating in the pursuit of a higher page rank include whether or not the site is listed in DMOZ and in which category. Inclusion in the Yahoo directory also plays a role in your page rank, as does anything else that confers expert status onto your site.
Technical elements in page-ranking
Many page rank technical elements serve to validate other search engine optimization elements. For example, suppose an engine awards you a first page listing because it sees lots of keywords and alt tagged pictures on your site that would seem to be relevant to the searcher’s query. But now let’s suppose when it sends traffic to your site that people don’t stay very long. Not a good sign. So they track that, too. Page traffic, page selection rate, time spent on page, bookmark add/removal rate, how they left, where they went, time spent on your domain… all of these (and more) influence your page rank. A decent SEO copywriter may be able to get them there for awhile, but a great copywriter keeps them there.