Nov 12, 2006

Myths and Misunderstandings of Google's Page Rank System

When it comes to the search engine market, Google is king. Rank high for a popular keyword, and you can almost guarantee waves of traffic. But Google is now more than just a search engine. Visit Google Labs, and you'll find a wide variety of internet tools and software. But one Google invention, known as Google Page Rank, is confusing webmasters throughout cyberspace.

If you've ever used Google's toolbar, you probably have wondered about the little green bar that changes each time you visit a new website. It's called Google "Page Rank," and it's designed to rank websites on a scale of 1-10. Rank is determined by the quantity and quality of the links that are pointed to a particular site. An easy way to gain points in the Page Rank system is to trade links with other sites who have an equal or greater Page Rank. Unfortunately, too much time is devoted to this "little green bar." Most people assume that a website's search engine results are determined by it's Page Rank, but in fact, the two have nothing to do with one another.

Search engine results (commonly reffered to as "SERPS") are determined by a wide variety of factors. Talk to any Search Engine Optimization (SEO) professional and your head will spin with the amount of information involved. But if you ever come across an SEO professional who tells you that Page Rank will guarantee higher listings, beware! Just do a few searches in Google, and you'll discover that listings aren't ranked according to Page Rank. For example, a website with a Page Rank of 7 can easily be listed lower than a website with a Page Rank of 4.

Unfortunately, webmasters spend hours and hours trading links with each other, hoping to raise their Page Rank, when additional and alternative SEO methods should be employed instead. For instance, a quality one-way link is much more effective when it comes to search engine listings, and on-page optimization, which is the strategic coding of your website, is also an important factor.

But what are webmasters who've been focussing on Page Rank all along to do?

To start, determine if you have the time and dedication to learn Search Engine Optimization. Like most topics, there is an unbelievable amount of information listed on the web. Forums are a great place to start. Forums are superior to other methods of information, because most topics are not only discussed, but often debated at length. This helps to ensure that the information you're getting is up to date and acurate. Read often and be sure to post plenty of questions. It's important, however, to have a good understanding of Search Engine Optimization before you employ any methods you've learned to your own site. One simple mistake can lower your site's listing, and even get your site banned altogether, so make sure you're 100% confident that the methods you've learned are not only effective, but safe.

If you don't have the time and/or dedication to master SEO on your own, do your best to hire an experienced and reputable SEO professional. A wise man once said, "If you pay peanuts, you'll get monkeys," so spending a little extra money in this area is probably a good idea.

Whether it's creating innovative software like Google Earth, or purchasing the world's largest on-line video data base YouTube, Google continues to transform the search engine market. But with any company, not all projects are a resounding success. When the Page Rank system was first introduced, it seemed like a nice idea, but in reality, it's done nothing but side-track webmasters from real Search Engine Optimization. Maybe this was Google's intention all along.

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