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7 Ways To Increase Your PageRank

Posted by Jane on July 16th, 2007

PageRank. The illustrious tool from Google Stanford University that formed the basis of Google. A man (and a women. Sorry Jane!) should always know the tools with which they work, so a little background info before I carry on. ‘PageRank’ is the brain-child of Stanford student and Google founder, Larry Page. Hence the name PageRank. PageRank wasn’t initially intended to be used on the World Wide Web. In fact, it was PageRank which sparked the idea of Google. A new form of search engine, which allows it’s users to rank content and therefore control search results (Web 2.0 in 1995, anybody?).

PageRank is a link analysis algorithm that assigns a numerical weight to each hyperlinked document. Kinky, eh? Maybe Jeff Kee may think so, but I don’t. At least not on the face of it. But what we really have with PageRank is a tool that allows us, the Google users, to control the results that are outputted by the search engine. That means, unlike the general conscientious, Google isn’t operated by robots that crawl our Web sites. Quite the contrary. It is in fact controlled by us. It is that reason, that targeted humans really control the results, that Google is the No.1 search engine on the Internet. No robots guessing at what the best results are. No humans sat in a cube guessing what results are best. The results are driven by real world recommendations from targeted Web site users. But as bloggers, how do we use this complex yet powerful tool?

Links Links Links

PageRank is all about incoming links. In short, the more Web sites that link to your Web site, the higher your PageRank is going to be. But that’s just the start. Each link to your Web site is given a particular “weight” (value). This value is determined by the PageRank of the Web site that is linking to you.

For example, a link from a Web site with a PageRank of 6 which links to your site will carry far more weight than a Web site with a PageRank of 2 which links to your site. The more each link weighs, the higher your PageRank is going to be.

As we have come to expect from Google, it doesn’t even stop there. As well as looking at incoming link volume and the PageRank of those incoming links, Google also uses text-matching techniques to determine how relevant the Web site linking to you is to your Web site. A PageRank 5 Web site about football linking to a Web site about football is far more useful, in PageRank terms, than a PageRank 5 Web site about football which links to a Web site about real estate.

Of course, all of this information is useful because Google uses PageRank to determine the results it displays when somebody searches for a key word or phrase. All other variables aside, if somebody searched for “football”, a Web site about football with a PageRank of 5 will rank higher than a PageRank 4 Web site.

How can we improve our own PageRank?

  • Write Blog Comments – There are an ever increasing number of blog owners who are removing the “nofollow” tags from links in comments. By posting comments on these blogs, your PageRank will increase (There’s another business idea, by the way. A Web site which displays a list, split in to topic categories, of blogs with “nofollow” removed from comments. I’ll let somebody else start that one!).
  • Purchase text link ads – Purchasing text link ads doesn’t have to be expensive. Spend $30 a month to get two or three links from some PageRank 4/5 Web sites. Web site owners will often publish adverts on forums such as WebHostingTalk and SitePoint to try and find new advertisers for their Web site, so keep an eye on the forums to find new places to advertise.
  • Order a Review – Not only are these great ways to generate targeted traffic, but they are also a great way to get a good link to your site.
  • Exchange links with related Web sites – Contact Web site owners and ask to exchange links. This usually works better when you already have some established PageRank, because you’ll have more to offer.
  • Post on Forums – Most forums allow links in signatures to be followed by Google. Post enough on a relevant forum with a good PageRank, and you’ll reap the rewards.
  • Web Site Network – If you have several Web sites, link to each site from all your Web sites. I have about five main Web sites which I link to each time I create a new site. By doing that, I usually receive a PageRank of 4 straight away.
  • Quality Content – Eventually, writing quality content is going to generate a buzz and other bloggers will link to your site without you even asking.

What’s a good PageRank?

Generally, a PageRank of 4 is relatively easy to achieve and is what most people end up at. A ranking of 5 isn’t too far fetched for the average user, but probably qualifies as being just above your average PageRank. A rank of 6 puts you on par with John Chow. Generally, the step from five to six is very hard, and the step from six to seven and above is almost unheard of unless you’re the New York Times, MSN, Amazon etc.

Now might be a good time to generate those incoming links. Apparently, Google is on the verge of doing another public PageRank update. If you’re looking to get a prediction of what your PageRank will be next time an update occurs, check out the IWebTool.com PageRank Prediction tool. Nobody is really sure how accurate it is (Google don’t release all its information about PageRank, so we can only go on what very little we know). However, Kevin at BloggingTips aims to find out how accurate this tool is. Even if it doesn’t come close, it makes for some good fun.

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