PageRank – What is it and is it Really Important?

Before we begin, let’s take a look at the very definition of PageRank as provided by the good folks at Google. PageRank is defined as:

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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 dominoqq . 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.”

What this means is that PageRank acts as a balloting system. Hyperlinks that point to your website from another website are casting a “vote” of support for your site. The more hyperlinks pointing to your website, the more “votes” of support you have, the higher your site PageRank will be.

The question often asked “Is PageRank really all that important?”. The answer to this question is widely debated and often a hot topic in forums. The answer to this question is “YES” PageRank is important! In fact, it may be more important than many so-called “experts” would lead you to believe.

PageRank is a term that you’ll often find associated with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The fact is, PageRank and SEO have very little in common. A website with a high PageRank value may very well be completely off the radar of any organic searches in Google. On the same token, a website with low PageRank can be ranked in the top 10 of Google Searches. For this reason some “experts” believe that PageRank has little to no value as it does not directly reflect in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Although that may be true, their thoughts that PageRank isn’t important are very misguided and inaccurate and could result in lost revenue for their clients.

Let’s look at this with a theoretical example. Let’s assume that everyone in this giant world of ours has been born with two very different degrees of color perception. One-half sees the color of the sky as red and the other half sees the color of the sky as blue. No matter how much the blue sky population tries to convince the red sky population that the sky is REALLY blue, the red sky population insist the sky is REALLY red. Now, are the red sky people wrong in their belief that the sky is red? Their perception that the sky is red is their reality, just as the blue sky population’s perception that the sky is blue is their reality. There is no convincing one side or the other of their beliefs. Of course, this is just a silly example to show a point (after all, everyone knows the sky is really pink). What it really comes down to is perception and that is exactly why PageRank is important! Many users and webmasters perceive PageRank as a measuring stick that indicates the strength and popularity of any given website. Perception is reality and that little green bar hanging out in your Google toolbar feeds that perception.

Joe user comes upon your site while searching a specific piece of information or product. He doesn’t find exactly what he wants but he finds your site pleasant to look at and finds some useful information. He then looks up at his Google toolbar and sees your site has a PageRank (PR) of 0. Joe user is somewhat tech-savvy but not a hard-core techie and not someone that readily keeps up with technology, but he’s read enough Google marketing propaganda to know that the little green bar in his Google browser is telling him something about this site. It’s telling him “this site is not a popular site!”. Joe user decides not to bookmark the site based on his perception that it’s not popular. Instead he moves on to a competitors website. Joe user is probably in the minority of users and may not even have a clue what the PR number is really telling him. What he’s doing is perceiving it as measuring stick that tells him about a website’s quality and popularity. Joe is a casualty of the “PageRank Effect” and a potential sale gone by the way side. The goal of any good website is to convert as many visitors into sales as possible. For that reason alone PageRank should be considered important.

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