One of the first disclaimers on the topic of increasing Google PageRank is that it is not necessary for SEO success. Google PageRank is based on the quality of links pointing at your site from other sites, and depends on a variety of factors such as the value of the links pointing at the sites, that are pointing at the sites, that are pointing at your site. Despite the fact that your Page Rank can go down while your rankings go up, some executives and decision makers are more concerned with PR than with actual traffic or sales. Therefore, keeping a high PR is often a political necessity for people in SEO, despite the fact that the difference between PR7 and PR5 site may be negligible when it comes to rankings.
Here are some ways you can improve (or maintain) PageRank:
- Get links from High PR sites. If you’re just trying to increase PageRank, the sites don’t have to be relevant. Another disclaimer is that Google is against buying links to inflate PageRank, so you could conceivably get banned.
- Improve your internal linking. Every internal link on your site should point back to the homepage at its absolute location. If you have some links pointing to your top level domain, and some pointing to “index.htm” then you may be shortchanging the value that interior links are passing from external sources.
- Redirect old or unused sites with link popularity. If you have legacy sites out there, redirect them to your main site. This improves the link count.
- Get More Legitimate Links. This is great for SEO, and if an executive wants to improve PageRank, getting money for link building will improve your traffic and bottom line as well.
- Make sure you aren’t blocking good pages. If your image directory is blocked from search engine spiders, or you have pages that are not of “general interest” but not confidential, you should make them available to search engines. If these pages are getting any links from outside, then some of the value should get passed back to the homepage.
One of the problems with the PageRank calculation is that it is logarithmic. A PageRank 1 site may have only a few links, a PageRank 2 site may have a few dozen, and a PageRank 3 may need thousands. However, you can also increase the PageRank of a low PR site with a single link from a more popular site! This makes any formula for PageRank improvement impossible without inside knowledge of the Google Algorithm. The PageRank formula is also a moving target, since it is based on all the pages found on the internet and how they relate to each other, so (in theory) if it took the equivalent of 100,000 links to get a PR8 back in 2004, it may take 10 million to get the same score today.
Once again, a change in PageRank should not be an occasion to panic (or even celebrate) if there is not a corresponding change in search engine rankings. You have no control over the sites that link to you. PageRank scores are also usually a few months old when they are finally updated to search engine toolbars, and there is a “true” PR score that is only known to the Google algorithm, and based on dozens of factors. If you have people in your organization that are obsessed with PageRank, then it is best to inform them of the high cost of maintaining it, and channeling that energy toward more link building and online marketing practices. At the time of this writing, MSN.com has a PR of 8, and Yahoo has a PR of 9, so money only gets you to a certain level if you don’t have a sufficient number of inbound links.