What is PageRank?
PageRank (PR) is a webpage classification system established by Google (to be more specific, by Larry Page) to determine a website’s popularity. The ranking goes from 0 to 10. Popularity is measured by the number of links to your site. The more (good quality) links there are pointing to your site, the higher your PageRank and the greater your chances of being well referenced on Google. It should be borne in mind, however, that PageRank is only one out of numerous criteria used by search engines to determine your place in the rankings.
Knowing your site’s PageRank
To improve your site’s PageRank, you first need to know it! There are several tools which can obtain this information quickly for you. For example, Firefox users have free toolbar extensions «SearchStatus», or «SEO Quake». If you use Chrome, you have the official plugin «Open SEO Stats». For Internet Explorer, you can download the free Google toolbar.
Improving your PageRank
So you get the idea – to improve your PageRank, you need to persuade other sites to link to yours. Please note that the infamous «link swapping» method, which as its name suggests consists in two sites agreeing to link to each other, is completely ineffective and is also forbidden by Google! We therefore recommend that you avoid this tactic. The best answer is to do the thing properly. Below are some useful tips:
You might, for example, write a «guest» article for another blog and include a link to your site in your signature block. There is no point in adding further links in the article itself or in sending 10 articles to the same blog because only the first one will count. If your article is a good one, the blogger will be happy to accept both the article and the link. Bear in mind that Google’s aim is simply to provide quality content to people who are looking for it. So there is no point in spamming people with a lot of irrelevant links all over the place.
Not all links count
As mentioned above, you need to consider the pertinence of links pointing to your site before you go running after them. After all, if your site/blog is about gardening, then a music blog pointing at your site will not improve your PageRank. The aim of this system is to make quality sites stand out, including through evaluating the quality of the sites which «recommend» yours. Consequently, the more links you can get from sites which have good PageRank, the more the likelihood of improving your own. To give you an idea, websites with a PageRank of between 5 and 9 (Facebook) are generally ranked high by search engines.
Set up links between your own pages
Whilst it can be tricky and time-consuming getting links from other websites, you can (and should) ensure that your own pages link effectively amongst themselves, thereby improving their quality. Actually, every page has a stock of «points» which it can assign to the others. For instance, you could attach a button, your logo or your signature, with a link to your home page, on every page of your website.
Ensure your website content is good quality
Remember that the point of PageRank is to direct other people to your site because your content is considered pertinent. Before chasing after links, first make sure that you have quality content to offer. This way, you will motivate your visitors and other bloggers to forward your articles without you even having to ask.
Take part in discussion forums
By regularly posting pertinent content on discussion forums, you increase your own credibility and your «e-reputation». We all know that nowadays, it is getting harder and harder to find quality content by people who really «know what they are talking about». So help other people evaluate your expertise by meeting them halfway. You thereby increase the chances that they will visit your site and share your content. Please note, however, the point is not to post on forums just to increase your visibility, but to show the world that you really know your stuff! Remember that, more often than not, links on forums are «nofollow», which means they are not taken account of by Google.
Directories and comments
This must be the longest, most boring and … most ineffective method in the history of Link Building. It is recommended by many blogs on the subject of PageRank improvement and visibility but please consider that most of these methods are now out of date. The same applies to comments. Commenting on a whole bunch of blog articles and adding a link to your site may help you become better known but it certainly won’t improve the quality of your website or your position in the search rankings.
To sum up…
Improving your PageRank can be long, hard work, if this is your only strategy to help you climb up through the search engine rankings. If your time is limited, the best advice we can give you is to concentrate on improving the quality of your web content and the relationship between you and your visitors. If your site content and the articles you post are both of high quality, your visitors are sure to help to spread the word and your referencing will improve accordingly.