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NEW: Chris Thomas

SmartCompany /

Want to rank highly in Google? Don’t worry too much about your PageRank score. Here’s what really matters…

High PageRank does not guarantee high Google rankings!

Chris Thomas

Last week, The Age Newspaper and SmartCompany wrote articles about a recent change to Google’s (ranking) algorithm.

Here’s a snippet from The Age

“Swarms of bloggers and webmasters of major sites like Washingtonpost.com, Forbes.com, Engadget.com and SFGate.com noticed a downgrading in their PageRank, Google’s measure of a web page’s value.

“A site’s PageRank impacts not only its ranking in Google search results but also the price it can charge advertisers. A drop in ranking can have serious financial consequences, especially for smaller operators.”

Certainly a drop in your Google ranking position can have a dramatic impact on your website’s revenues; I’ve experienced it on several occasions myself over the years.

But let’s get one thing perfectly clear. PageRank has very little to do with rankings!

Don’t believe me? OK, here’s an example to illustrate my point.

The key phrase “search engine optimisation” is one of the worlds most fought after search terms. SEO companies work very hard to have their website rank as high as possible for that key phrase because it gives them huge marketing leverage over their competitors.

Turning our attention to Google Australia for a moment, let’s have a look at the top four results for “search engine optimisation”.

 

OK; position one is the 600 pound link gorilla Wikipedia, but check out position two – WebProfits with a PageRank 4, then ewebmarketing.com.au with a PR 5, and roi.com.au, also with a PR 5.

So you can see that web pages with lower “PageRank” can rank higher!

Sometimes low PageRank pages rank highly because the home page of the site has a very high PageRank, so all pages within the site are “trusted” to be relevant. This is not the case above for WebProfits. Its home page has a PR 3.

So how come they rank as high as they do?

The answer probably lies in the way they’ve structured their website (and that particular page). It’s a fascinating insight into how differently search engine optimisers can approach the same problem.

A quick look at their source code reveals strong keyword optimisation. No big deal – there are lots of pages that do that!

But an examination of their source code reveals an interesting SEO tactic. Perhaps the secret to their success is the heavy use of the rel=”nofollow” tag on all links OUT of the page (including their own navigation).

Here’s an example of a “nofollow” link in that page:

<a href=”http://www.webprofits.com.au” class=”caps” rel=”nofollow”>Home</a>.

For those of you who don’t know, the rel=”nofollow” prevents the Google Bot following links on a web page, but humans can follow the links.

So, as far as Google is concerned, this page is a bucket with no holes. In other words, the page is not diluting itself thematically by linking OUT to other non-thematically relevant web pages.

WebProfits uses its blog to create optimised anchor text to link back to the SEO page, so it has highly thematic and relevant in-bound links pointing to it. Blogs are a great way to create optimised and thematic links pointing back to your relevant pages within your website.

WebProfits also uses all other pages within the main site to point to the SEO page – but none of these use rel=”nofollow” tags. Undoubtedly, their SEO page is “The Prize.” Everything it does is focused towards promoting that particular page.

Of course a quick check of its back links at Google and Yahoo shows lots of links pointing to that page as well.

Lastly, it’s interesting to note that its SEO page has a higher PageRank than the home page!

You don’t often see that.

 

Chris Thomas heads Reseo a search engine optimisation company which specialises in setting up and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns, Affiliate Programs and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.

To read more Chris Thomas blogs, click here .

 

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