What is Google PageRank and Does it Really Matter?
What is Google PageRank?
In the earlier days of Google, PageRank played an important role in how the search engine displayed search results. Pages with a higher page rank would appear in the results before pages with a lower page rank. It wasn’t updated very often and is now updated even less frequently than it used to be.
A page rank is a tool that measures the importance of a web page depending on factors such as quality and quantity of other sites linking to it. At one time, Google PageRank was the most popular tool by webmasters, since Google is the main search engine that they wish to optimize their sites for.
Is Google PageRank Still Important?
Considering that it’s only updated a couple times a year, Google doesn’t appear to be placing a lot importance on PageRank anymore. It can sometimes be outdated, since the actual search engine rankings can change on a day to day basis. A page that goes viral now and receives thousands of links this month might not be as important by the time of the next PageRank update.
This does not mean, however, that it’s completely irrelevant. The fact that Google still keeps it around and does occasionally update it means that it still has some importance. Many webmasters still keep up with it and check it, although they realize that there are other important factors that go into search engine algorithms as well. It can be viewed as a broad overview of how well a site is doing. A site with a PR rank of 0 or no rank at all is still either considered brand new or of very low quality. A site with a PR of 8 or higher will still likely appear in the first couple of pages of results for most relevant keywords.
What are other factors to consider?
While nobody other than Google programmers know exactly how algorithms work or what they look for, there are some pretty good clues and SEO professionals know what techniques are effective. When it comes to back links for example, quality is more important than quantity. Quantity only matters if the sites linking to a web page are relevant sites and not just spam mills.
Algorithms are designed to be more and more intelligent. Google tries to program them to recognize quality content and to sort it out from all of the spam, junk, and duplicate content out there. Since nobody knows exactly how the algorithms are able to do this, the best thing for any webmaster to do is to focus on creating the highest quality content possible.
Important things to consider include:
- The click-through rate, or CTR of ads and backlinks
- Bounce rate of visitors
- Conversion rate of how many visitors see the ad, how many click, and how many sign up for an offer or make a purchase
Google offers tools such as Analytics to help webmasters keep track of these rates.
PageRank is still worth checking, as Google crawls a low ranking site less frequently than a site with a high score. However, it is certainly not the most important factor in determining a site’s worth.