There seems to be a Google Toolbar Pagerank update underway. Instead of the normal announcement, I thought I’d list what I think Google PR is actually good for because for most, it’s totally useless information. Oh, and of course, how to increase your PR if you won’t be persuaded otherwise.
For the purposes of this quick article I’m very much muddying the line between Toolbar and REAL PR – two different, unsynchronised mechanisms as I understand them.
What follows is obviously my opinion based on observations I’ve made. Years ago I used to manipulate PR quite effectively, now I don’t even bother.
First - I think you only need a high Google PR if you have a LOT of pages. Otherwise, a high PR alone is quite useless. I still think PR may be a defining entry level requirement for pages to get into Google’s main, competitive results, but that’s it. For me PR is akin to having a ticket to a party. If you have one, you’re in – if not, your out, and in the supplemental results (a sort of alternate version of Google where not all filters /requirements are turned on because they are uncompetitive terms).
A PR 5 page will not necessarily outrank a PR 0 page because in the wild, other metrics matter more. I’m basing these opinions on the notion Google is still using Pagerank in some way – just not as an important ranking measure.
- If you have a lot of pages, a lot of PR is good if you are spreading about properly
- Getting a link from a high PR domain is cool, but only of real use in a PR donation sense if the actual page your link is on has a decent PR (ie is well linked to itself) and doesn’t have a hundred other links on there.
- Pages on your site which have a grey bar *might* be an indication of a potential issue or indeed G might have a problem with OR
- It can also be a simple sign you’re not linking to pages often enough in the site structure. Then again…. it might be just a bug with the toolbar.
- A high PR might be an indication of the popularity and reputation of a site, but then again, it might be a hijacked PR sourced by a crafty SEO who’s spotted a conduit that can be exploited.
- A page’s high PR might be a good indication of the popularity of that page, and a 2 second test to determine the canditure of that page to get a link from, and I still use it as such
I do think Google has gone a long way over the last 18 months to radically change the way either PR is donated, or radically reduce from which pages PR is donated.
I think a lot of it is to do with click / crawl depth. For instance, forums don’t pass a lot of Pagerank these days compared to what they used to, but maybe that’s because they’re just bigger. Most low quality directories don’t seem to pass a lot of PR. Social media sites seem to suffer the same problems as forums. I don’t think blog comments pass a lot of PR either.
The fact is nobody knows how it works these days, it’s probably far removed from the original pagerank paper, and while it may still be a defining entry level requirement for competitive SERPS, it’s not an important element AT ALL when it comes to ranking pages that are already in the SERPS – there are other, much more important influences.
How To Improve Your Pagerank Score
First, if you want a particular page on your site to have PR, make sure it’s original content, and unique enough that Google would want to keep it in it’s index. For instance, a list of links often goes Grey. Pages with duplicate content, and those not linked to often enough in the site structure is also a surefire way of going grey.
- Get links from real sites
- Get links from pages than in turn have links to them
- Links from articles with a few links that You are the main focus of are excellent
- Getting a link in the Yahoo directory for instance, still looks like a great way of getting an instant PR boost, great for new sites, but it costs Ã‚£199 for a year
- Getting a link on a trusted domain’s resource page (ie for jobs, events etc) like a university or government site
- Buy an old or expired domain, or comandeer an old domain network that has PR, and transfer PR in by way of links or 301s.
In the end, you should not be thinking about improving your Pagerank. Pagerank is an after effect.
Just get links from real sites and forget about Pagerank.
If you’re Toolbar Pagerank score is reduced this PR update, it just means the links you have are passing less PR or the links you had have been removed. That’s nothing to be worried about if you’re actively promoting your site, and it won’t have an impact on your traffic or rankings, if you have a smidgeon of PR left.