June 4, 2007
The Google PageRank Toolbar in SEO circles is a hotly debated item, as are most issues dealing with Google. Some say it’s useless, others say it gives you a general overview of your site’s standing in Google. Regardless of who is right, this Toolbar shouldn’t be ignored nor worshipped, just closely watched.
The Google PR Toolbar is a simple tool you can download and place on your browser. When you surf the web, this toolbar will give you Google’s PR or Page Rank for that particular site or page. Google ranks all web pages from a scale of 0 to 10. This Toolbar is more like the Richter scale than an ordinary scale, there’s a big difference in the rankings as you go up and they are not proportional.
You must also realize each of these ranking points are further divided and only Google knows the exact placement of your site or page within your shown PR number. For example, if you have a PR6 site your site could be at low end of the PR6 scale (closer to PR5) or at the top end which would make it more of a PR7 site. Big difference.
Many suggest Google is not giving us the real value of the page in the first place and this toolbar is often out of date and more of a smokescreen than real information about a site. There could be some truth in this as Google never gives up all its secrets. Does any company? Certainly not the company that holds the keys to the most powerful economic force on the planet: the Internet.
Complicating matters even further are webmasters and marketers who try to manipulate their own PageRank by buying or exchanging links with other high PR sites. Many are now doing Three-Way linking to try to influence their site’s rankings in Google.
A whole SEO industry has been built up around PageRank for the simple reason the stakes are extremely high. If you can deliver first place rankings for your client’s targeted keywords in Google it means free organic traffic or visitors delivered directly to your site.
Many SEO experts believe Google has a whole list of ranking factors which determine how well your page is ranked. Among others, these ranking factors include Google’s PageRank algorithm (voting system) and Hypertext-Matching Analysis (analyzing page content).
If you check out Google’s own corporate site for an explanation you will find that Google clearly states its patented PageRank™ algorithm is the heart of their web ranking system which was founded by Larry Page & Sergey Brin in 1998. You will also find that Google says it uses numerous factors including PageRank to examine the whole web and find the most relevant and important pages to match a specific search.
PageRank takes into consideration over “500 million variables and 2 billion terms” when finding the most important pages. Google makes it clear that each page casts a vote for another page and this is reflected in the PageRank. Votes from particular sites or pages might have greater value than others. “Important pages receive a higher PageRank and appear at the top of the search results.”
The question still remains, is the Google PR Toolbar a valid marketing tool? Should you use it?
One can only speak from experience, I have always used the Google PR Toolbar and find it helpful in assessing what Google thinks of a site or page. I rarely link out to sites anymore but if I do I always check any potential linking partners to see their PR. Any site with PR5 or over I will link to it if that site is related and has high rankings for my site’s own targeted keyword phrases. I also check out the number of outbound links on that page, lower is better because the amount of PR passed along is divided equally with the other links.
Sometimes I will link to a lower PR3 or PR4 site if I find the content on that site is extremely good and I know it is only a matter of time before Google upgrades that site to a PR5 or higher. You must be very careful not to link out to any type of ‘link-farms’ as Google will penalize you for it.
In my opinion, many SEO experts worry too much over the exact PageRank or Value Google is giving to a page. Whether or not we can really know the true value of any page? Well, the true value of any web page is staring you in the face in Google’s SERPs for if over time a page consistently holds the #1 spot then that is Google’s true PageRank and Value for that page for a particular keyword or keyword phrase. If your page is consistently in the 1000th spot, then Google doesn’t think your page has much value for that keyword.
Your site’s overall value or PageRank within the Google ranking system may be a little harder to figure out if you dismiss the PR Toolbar as a good indicator of your site’s overall worth within Google. Maybe Google has put into place filters and blinders to discourage the online marketers and SEOs who try to abuse and manipulate PageRank.
Let Your Own Experiences Rule Your Judgement
Again, one can only speak from experience, I believe the Toolbar is very helpful in showing what Google thinks of your pages. Over the years, I have experienced my main website at a PR1 level and I have experienced it at a PR6 level. Believe me, the PR6 is much better. Can’t imagine what a PR8 site would be like to run or the kind of lifestyle it would provide.
For higher PR means better rankings for your site and your keyword phrases. It simply means more traffic and more sales. If you’re optimizing for Google, you should do everything you can to get the highest PR you can possibly get. More importantly, you should be doing everything you can to increase the PR of the pages where you have your long-tail keyword phrases as organic traffic from these pages will usually turn out to be your site’s main revenue source.
I have found one of the quickest ways to raise your Google PR is to get one-way links from high PR6, PR7 and PR8 sites (Think Article Marketing). Google considers these links as votes for your site and ranks your site or page accordingly. Consistently get enough of these incoming one-way links over the long haul and your PR will go up if you have high quality unique content pages that are well optimized with good navigation and formatting.
Where To Get The PR Toolbar
If you’re not using the Google Toolbar – use it! You can download it here:
Another great way to see PR in action is to use the Visual PageRank tool here:
It will show you the PageRank of all internal and external links on a webpage at once. Extremely helpful when you’re checking out any site or page for at a glance you can see the current Google PageRank of all these links.
Google’s PageRank system, including the PR Toolbar, is something every webmaster and online marketer should be aware of in their struggle for higher rankings. Don’t become obsessed with it, instead use this system to your advantage to build better pages and sites. For despite all the misconceptions and intricacies of such a complex system, no webmaster can deny if you conquer the Google PagePank system, it will deliver the goods.
Author: Titus Hoskins is a full-time online marketer. For the most effective web marketing tools try: Internet Marketing Tools, or try our free Online Marketing e-Course: Internet Marketing Tool Guide