With the abundance of free website builders, lower cost of entry into business and an infinite amount of resources available to start-ups, it has become increasingly easier for a business to have an online presence. This of course means an increase in competition no matter your industry.
With this oversaturation of the market and Google continuing to push organic search results further down the page in favor of paid listings it is becoming more and more difficult to get noticed on search engines without paying Google.
Why do you need to improve PageRank?
To understand why you need to improve your PageRank, you need to understand what PageRank is. Though it’s true that Google recently announced they will no longer update the ‘PageRank Toolbar’, PageRank will still be a factor in where your site shows up in a search engine results page (SERP).
PageRank is Google’s system for ranking web pages. A page with a higher PageRank is deemed more important and is more likely to be listed above a page with a lower PageRank.
Google describes PageRank:
PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.”
The more “votes” (links) your website has the higher your PageRank. The higher your PageRank, the higher your website appears on a Google SERP. The higher your website appears on a Google SERP the more traffic your site receives. And so goes the cycle of increasing PageRank to increase traffic…
Now that you understand why it’s important, let’s look at how you can begin increasing your PageRank.
1. Combine Your “Votes”
Like in a political campaign, you want to have more “votes” than your competition. And, like in a political campaign, you wouldn’t want to split those votes. What most business owners don’t realize is that Google sees http://www.yoursite.com and http://yoursite.com as two different websites and will split the votes depending on where the 3rd party site is linking to.
This can be avoided by placing a permanent redirect on either URL to redirect to the either. That way any “vote” (again, a link to your site from another site) will be applied to the correct URL, no matter the designation a site puts at the beginning of their hyperlink to you.
2. Optimize Your Content For Google
I often preach to our clients, “If you make it easy for Google to index your site, you will be rewarded.” Google bots scan your page looking for:
- Page Title
- Meta Description
- Alt tags
- All text on the page(s)
- Links to other pages
These are important because these are where you will need to place your most important keywords. Put yourself in the position of the person using your site. Title your page accurately and relevant to the content of the page. Include an accurate description and include common search phrases. When linking to other sites, use descriptive link text rather than “Click here”.
3. Business Directory Submission
As we discussed in step 1, attracting as many backlinks (links from other sites to you) as possible plays an important role in boosting your PageRank. One way to do this is to submit your business listing including your website URL to as many business directories as you can find. Each submission will count as a backlink to your site.
This can be extremely time consuming and near impossible to keep up-to-date if your business moves, changes phone numbers, changes domain names, etc. This is why we released our automated business directory scan tool which allows you to automatically submit your business to over 50 major online business directories.
4. Update Frequently
Google is constantly sending bots to crawl your site for new content. The more frequently these bots, or spiders, return to Google with new pages for indexing the more active your site appears to Google. The more active a site is to Google the more trust Google places in that website URL as having up-to-date content and information. Google hates to send their users to old stagnant content and because your site is updated on a daily or weekly basis, your site is more likely to surpass out-of-date content in a SERP. Create a blog and post as frequently as you can about topics related to your industry that your potential audience is searching.
5. Don’t Overdo The Advertising
Google is getting smarter everyday. They have trained their bots to scan website content and determine a percentage value of “informative” versus “advertorial” content on any given site. Not only can they determine the percentage of a site that is advertisements, they can also determine how it plays into the overall user experience of a site. If your site is heavy on advertising, low on quality content and/or the advertising gets in the way of the user, Google will penalize your site.
6. Avoid Duplicate Content
Google won’t penalize your website for displaying duplicate content (ie. content taken from another source), it just will not show that content in the SERP. Google’s goal in their own words is to, “present the most relevant and original content and omit the rest.”
Avoid spinning existing content as your own. Find ways to creatively write quality content and you’ll be rewarded. Stealing, and even rewording someone else’s content is not only a waste of your own time, it simply doesn’t work.
The #1 search result receives 30% of all click-throughs. If you combine the top 3 results, they account for 66% of all clicks! True, PageRank does have a direct correlation to site traffic. However, there is no denying it’s importance in the overall impact it has on where your site appears on the search engine ranking page and how likely your potential visitors are to find your content.