Google Page Rank
A quickie guide about search engine optimization (SEO), pagerank and linksby Dave McAwesome
Google's . . . like . . . popular and stuff, to paraphrase a character from Beavis and Butthead, which many of you do not know thanks to our disposable culture placing the shallowest of relevance on whatever current nonsense graces our media pathways.
Ahem. Yeah. Anyway, there're reasons for Google's popularity, I'm sure. Probably due to their painstaking detail to accurate search results, the ability to easily look up URLs and their penchant for sending attractive escorts to frequent users. I'm not sure about that last one, but damn, it sure would explain a lot.
They also implement something called the Google Page Rank or Pagerank, depending on how you feel about crushing two nouns into a single word. Back in the days of telegrams, when you had to pay by word, I'm sure it was Pagerank--single word. Hell, it probably would have been Googlepagerank to save on cash. But fortunately some computer nerds invented the internet so that we could all view porn and play massive multi-player games online. Porn in the days of telegrams was a tricky business. Many messages ran, "I'm lifting my colossal hoop skirt ever so slightly STOP Though the roughly constructed fabric chafes my legs and reduces them to raw hamburger I nevertheless yearn for you STOP I lift the heavy cloth and expose my lower ankle STOP Please wire 20 cents to hear about my upper ankle STOP." They used "STOP" a lot back then because the period hadn't been invented yet. If I remember my Western History correctly, the period was invented during World War II along with submarine wolfpacks, Betty Grable and resentment towards the French. "Take that, you Nazis! You may have Paris, but we have The Period!" was probably a common battlecry.
Tangent over. Back on topic, Google's Page Ranking system gives weight to some pages over others. This affects how and where those pages are listed when someone searches a term. The ranks go from 0 to 10. Obviously 10 is the highest. Zero is never the highest. Look at it. When does anybody say, "Hot dog! I got a zero!" That's right, never. Even in golf, where the object is to tally as little a score as possible, the lowest possible round is 18. So 10 is the highest. Guess what? Google's site ranks a 10. Man, never would've guessed that, huh?
Google constantly tweaks the algorithm ('algorithm' is a word used to intimidate non-technical people--for our purposes, it simply means the 'method' or 'step-by-step process') it uses to calculate Page Rank, so I shall be as general as possible in describing that here. It used to rely heavily on the Title and Meta tags (keywords, description) on your HTML pages. But the word is it no longer pays attention to Meta tags. Aside from the Title tag, Google's algorithm (are you intimidated yet?) bases its results on the text it finds on your page. The higher up on the page, the more weight Google lends to that piece of text. Google also spiders (a spider is a program that goes through your Web site and checks out all your links, including how each page on your site is or is not navigable to each other) your links and calculates how many incoming and outgoing links you have (this information is also based on spidering other sites on the web).
This is where it gets sketchy. Reciprocal links are good. Purely incoming (non-reciprocated) links are better. Outgoing links are . . . no one seems to agree on the answer. If the page consists of nothing but hundreds of links (called a linkfarm), Google penalizes its Page Rank. Having more pages within your website increases Pagerank. Alternating spelling between "Page Rank" and "Pagerank," however, will likely not increase anything other than reader irritation.
So, Pagerank helps keep your website relevant in Google searches (and since many other search engines are powered by Google, that's a good thing). The other way to increase relevancy is keyword density. Keyword density refers to the number of times a particular word appears on a given page. Too much is bad, too little doesn't help, but the Goldilocks number is a secret. I've heard 5 percent, 7 percent, 10 percent. The bottom line is: Focusing too much on keyword density has a deleterious effect on the readability of your content. For those of you who have not progressed passed a fifth grade reading level, allow me to paraphrase that last bit: "Keyword density makes writing suck." If I were to worry about how Google ranks this page when people search for the word "keyword" and I insert "keyword" everywhere so that Google's result for "keyword" returns a higher listing for this page about keywords, then I suck because I've made my writing impossible to read. That's bad. Because writing is a form of communication. And communication is a two-way street. You've got a writer and a reader. No point in writing if your reader hates your writing so badly he spams your email address in retaliation for your flagrant use of keywords.
A quick word about links: Lots of incoming links are good. A few incoming links from high PR sites is better. In other words, 50 links from PR0 sites don't do much. Four or five links from PR7 sites are gold.
You won't get a PR right away. Google updates PR whenever the hell it feels like it (usually every three or four months). Honestly, don't let it become the central preoccupation in your life, especially if you run a non-commercial site.
I do have my own directory to build incoming links and traffic to websites here in case you're interested. I just mention it since we're on that topic, but it's no skin off my nose if you don't want to bother (although why anyone would want the skin off someone's nose is beyond me . . . not to mention completely gross).
Thus concludes the McAwesome Guide to Pagerank for Beginners.