Wednesday, March 23, 2005

PageRank & Link Strategy

What a long day. The children both had dentist appointments with their new dentist, who is out of town, so we spent the majority of the day on the road and in his office. Knowing I'd have a bit of waiting time... I grabbed my SEO Binder and took it with me.

I decided to read PageRank Uncovered, which is a 55 page technical paper on Google PageRank. To be honest with you, I learned a lot. I've never really paid that much attention to PR, considering that the toolbar doesnt give us an accurate number and that we are told to focus more on the quality of a page for our visitors than for the search engines...

That said, there is merit in understanding PageRank - how it works, how to "manipulate" it, what it means (exactly)... also how it relates to your Link Strategy (or should). PageRank itself is not just a 'vanity number', but rather a part of the complex algorithm used to determine the ranking or placement for any particular page in the Google search results.

Of course, it's true that TBPR (toolbar PageRank) is not accurate, and shouldnt be used (solely) as a means for choosing link partners... or as the criteria for any other decision a site owner must make. But it does have it's place.

Two suggestions were made in this paper, things every site owner should do - One was to get listed in the Yahoo! Directory, the other was to get listed at dmoz. I realized I had never submitted my primary website to dmoz, so I'm planning to do that this evening. As for Yahoo - is it worth the $299 a year to be listed? Will it affect my rankings in either Yahoo or Google to the extent that it's worth the price? I dont know... but would love to hear from someone that does ;)

They also went into "leaking" PageRank *out* of your site, and how you can minimize that... and also the types of Inbound Links to seek that will be most beneficial for your site (or specifically, for the pages you gain links to). It was good stuff.

One of the more interesting points was where they talked about large content sites (a large number of pages) versus smaller sites (fewer pages). Having more pages means that you have more internal links - which (and I hope I am saying this right) means that the majority of your PageRank is likely to stay within your own site (leaking to your own internal pages) rather than out to other pages that you link to (outside of your domain).

So, for example, a page that reviews one book and links to the authors website... but also has internal navigation on it - - is better (for you) than a page that has 20 or 30 outbound links on it and less internal links (for example, only one link back to your home page).

If you'd like to read PageRank Uncovered, you can find it here - along with quite a few other interesting guides & reports: Link Building References.

(I'm paraphrasing here): The best practice is creating more & more content pages. Not too long, not too short. Pages that you link to internally, and that also gain inbound links from other relevant sites due to their quality & topic.

That's not the first time we've heard that, right? Content, content, content. That's what it's all about, it seems.

And so, on that note - I'm off to write... because after this insanely long day, the children have just left for church and Grandmother is off to bed - - and I have a hot pot of coffee waiting for me to enjoy during this block of (ahhh!) quiet time :)