As Americans we are obsessed with being number one. From football to baseball, basketball to hockey, we want our teams to be number one. We even go so far as to rank our cities by various criteria. Did you know the fattest city is Mission, Texas; the skinniest is Boulder, Colorado; the highest median family income is Great Falls, Virginia; and the city who is number one in porn downloads is Orlando, Florida? We also measure porn free websites.
I was honored recently to conduct a webinar for The Optical Woman’s Association on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). We covered a huge amount of ground on search engine basics during the hour I had with the attendees from all over the country, on everything from website construction to measuring site performance. Two items we discussed that seemed to attract the most questions were about inbound links and Page Rank. So, for those who did not attend, allow me to briefly discuss both items with you.
Every website Google has indexed has what is called a Page Rank. It is a patented algorithm licensed exclusively to Google by Stanford University and named not the web page, as most believe, but for Larry Page, Google’s co-founder and co-author of a research paper with Google’s other co-founder, Sergey Brin. It basically ranks every website based on popularity, primarily the number and quality of inbound links. Why is that important?
According to a Google search, there are 50,700,000 web sites that come up in a search for “Optical Stores”. How does Google or any other search engine for that matter organize those results? As someone who might be using Google to search for an optical store, you want what most people would consider the best results come to the top. Would that be the newest optical store to open in Supai, Arizona (The remotest city in America) or perhaps Sears Optical or Lenscrafters with hundreds of locations across America? Most people want to start with the biggest and work their way down, which is how search engines rank websites.
Page Rank goes from 0 to 10, with ten being the highest. So in this instance, being a number 1 isn’t a huge accomplishment. There are about a dozen sites in the world ranked a 10, ranging from Google (of course) to Twitter to Adobe. Even as popular as Facebook is, it ranks a 9, as do CNN, Amazon, and AOL. The bigger optical chains generally rank a 5 while strong local optical stores generally peak at a 3. There are of course some who rank higher and others who rank lower.
As I mentioned earlier, much of how websites are ranked is based on the number of inbound links and the quality of those links. A link from someone like Amazon (PR9) to you is worth far more than 9 pages ranked a 1. I earlier mentioned Page Rank as being an algorithm. Assuming a PR1 site is worth 8 points, a PR2 site is PR1 times 8 or 64 points. A PR3 site would be PR2 times 8 once more or 512, and so on till you reach PR10 or 1073741824.
Many of the attendees in the webinar wanted to know how to discover their page rank as well as what sites point to them. Here are a few sites to check those numbers.
Keep in mind, inbound links and Page Rank are only snapshots of what you are doing and where you stand in the web universe today. Google spends a lot of time and effort tweaking search results to try and provide a better product for their users, just as each us must do with our websites. What is more important that everything that has been mentioned in the article is content. Work on what your website says and work on keeping it updated. That will improve your Page Rank and links more than anything else.
Daniel Feldman, is a co-founder to the Visionaries Group visionariesgroup.com (on Facebook) and CEO of dba Communications dbadesigns.com, (on Facebook) a web design and social media firm specializing in helping eye care practices achieve success.