Note: Pagerank is no longer a metric Google updates publicly. The last update was in November 2013. If you see your blog stuck at PR0 or at another rank despite you progressing a lot in other areas, know that the reason is not you but simply that Google doesn’t update this number any more.
This doesn’t mean that they are not using pagerank signals to rank sites though. Actions that used to affect the pagerank of a site are actions that will positively benefit your blog in other areas such as driving traffic to your site, hence it is still useful to look at the advice below.
Do also look at things you can do to get your blog to the first page of Google’s results.
Approximately three months after starting my site I had a pleasant surprise present from Google. Google did the toolbar PageRank update and HowToMakeMyBlog jumped from PR0 to PR4. This felt to me like a great achievement.
A lot of bloggers pride themselves on their PR number and it feels like the page rank number validates all the time, effort and work put into the site. These are the steps I have taken, steps that you can take, to get your site to be ranked PR4 by Google in a short period of time.
What is Google PageRank?
Google PageRank is one of numerous factors Google uses to determine the importance of a site and to decide if and where to rank it in their search results. It is based on the value of your inbound links. Google evaluates how many links there are to your site from other pages, and the relevance and quality of the linking sites.
Google gives much attention to which pages you link to when trying to figure out how to index their results. Every page that has been indexed by the search engines receives a certain amount of authority. Page authority in Google is called PageRank (PR). PR is calculated on an article by article basis rather than on a site by site basis. So your home page might have a PR5 ranking, while your most recent article might have PR0.
Each page passes PR link juice (authority) and each linked page gets the authority. If your PR5 main page links to 10 different sites, each of these 10 links, internal and external, is going to get an equal amount of PR. So the higher the PR of the page that is linking and the fewer links the page links to, the more authority the linked page will receive from the link.
Links are not everything in SEO and are getting less and less important. Pagerank has recently become a less influential metric in Google’s algorithm but many still like to check their pagerank number just to have an easy number to follow their progress with. If you want to see what PageRank your site has, use a PR checker tool.
Effect of PR4 compared to PR0 on my search traffic
There is a lot of discussion about what exactly PageRank is and how exactly it affects my rankings in search engine results. I have now collected some analytics data and will try to show how the increase in Google PageRank affected my traffic and search engine rankings.
From 25th October, when I started my site, until 31st December, when Google assigned me with PR4, I only got 121 visitors from search engines. That was 1.22% of my total traffic in that period and majority of this traffic was on searches for either my name or my domain name.
On 31st December Google had a PR update and assigned me with page rank 4. From 31st December until January 8th nothing much had changed. I still got sporadic search engine traffic only. But on January 8th I suddenly got 30 visitors from Google in one day.
Since then the search engine traffic has been steadily growing. In 3 weeks since January 8th search engines have sent me 1420 additional visitors. More than 96% of these were from Google and traffic referred by search engines had a 10.86% share of my total traffic in January.
My top keyword phrases
Majority of traffic I get at the moment contains keywords and keyword phrases very close to my domain name. 6 of my top 10 keywords are closely related to my domain name and title. This shows me that it is very important to chose a domain name which contains relevant keywords or relevant keyword phrase to your topic. It will help you rank higher as Google places huge significance on the domain name and keywords in it.
In January Google sent me 1490 visitors via 1019 different searches and keyword phrases. The best working keyword phrase brought only 100 visitors so this definitely shows the power of the long tail keywords. Here are some examples of keyword phrases that brought me visitors from Google during January:
- how to grow your twitter followers
- how to increase page rank of my site
- go viral on twitter
- how do i get ideas for my content
- insert ads between wordpress post
- step by step how to build a site on wordpress
- getting traffic via stumbleupon
- how to add a subscribe to my wordpress
- how to approach potential advertisers
I may not be able to rank top for the highly-popular but highly-competitive keywords, but if I have a lot of articles with a wide range of relevant keywords, and get a couple of daily clicks for each, I will have a healthy amount of search engine traffic daily. The long tail in action.
How you can increase your PageRank
Major component of increasing your pagerank is to be found in the quality and the total amount of backlinks you have to your site. Backlinks are links from other sites to your own site and your content. Total number of links is self-explanatory but the quality of links depends on the relevance, context and popularity of the site that is linking to you.
The original PageRank idea was based on citations and the fact that the number of citations a research paper has is a good way of judging its quality, credibility and influence. This is why working on increasing inbound links to your content is a key part of increasing your pagerank.
I believe that the following factors have contributed towards Google assigning HowToMakeMyBlog with a PR4. Follow these tactics to increase your own Google PageRank.
- Guest posting
I wrote two guest posts at one of the biggest sites in my field. They were not only great for me to get exposure in front of a larger audience. Each of these posts has also given my site a high-quality, relevant inbound link as the site that hosted me is a PR7 site. Links from related and high ranked websites transfer more PageRank value than links from non-related or low quality sites. I highly recommend writing guest articles for relevant sites that are ranked with higher Google PageRank not only for pagerank value but also for branding and traffic. Read more about the powerful rules to follow when guest posting.
- Other inbound links
I was spreading my link out there by commenting on relevant and high-profile sites, being active in social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, and by posting useful answers in relevant forums. I would recommend taking time each day to work on your promotion. Comment on relevant articles, discuss on relevant topics in forums/social media, and in other ways try to get your name and URL out there. This is my marketing routine for after publishing a new post.
- Don’t write with focus on the search engines
Writing with focus on search engines will not work as search engines are getting smarter and are putting emphasis on other factors now. This might even penalize you these days and you may lose your rankings. Produce quality content and don’t worry about search engines. If you create great content that gets you visitors, shares and links the search engines will find you no matter what and will eventually start sending traffic to you.
Content is not taken into account when PageRank is calculated but if you are producing useful and sharable articles that makes people link to, comment to or share via social media, will give you valuable inbound links that will help increase your rank. I publish new articles regularly and make them as thrilling as they can be for my audience.
Don’t forget internal linking
I also optimize the internal linking in order to get more of my visitors explore more of my content archives. Linking to your own content within the pages of your blog is one of the most important aspects of building a successful site. It is the best way of directing your visitors from one story to another and make the traffic flow.
This process is called internal linking. Internal links are a great service for your visitors. They introduce your visitors to relevant articles, provide them more detailed information and get them to look deeper and further explore your content.
- It leads to an increased stickiness of your content (an increase in page views and decrease in the bounce rate). Bounce rate is the percentage of readers who navigate away from the site after only viewing one page. If your site has a high bounce rate, it means that your site is either off-putting, boring, or not relevant to what visitors are looking for.
- It improves the usability of your site. When your site usability is great and your content is sticky it means that your visitors love your content and stay on it for a longer period of time. Bounce rate and content stickiness are great metrics to judge the success of your site so do keep an eye on them in your analytics.
So how do you do internal linking?
- Use a plugin called Insights. It is placed just below your post writing field and lets you search for keywords that you are writing about and easily discovers relevant internal pages to link to. You don’t necessary only have to link from new to old posts. You can also do it the other way around. If you have a good, older post that is relevant to something you have written more about lately, go back and edit the old one and include a link back to the new post.
- Your internal links should indicate and describe what it is that you are linking to in order to attract visitors to click on them. Phrases like “click here” or “go here” may work sometimes but as the link anchor text does not indicate what you are linking to it does not help your visitor know what will happen after they click. This is a much more effective method for encouraging people to explore deeper than making them have to use the “back” button to search for relevant content.
- Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link. Enable breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs are a great internal linking tool. Install this plugin or use one of the themes that enables breadcrumbs by default. Use at least one of the tags or categories to categorize your content. Every one of your posts should contain a category or a tag link.
- Use the <!–more–> function. Publishing excerpts of posts on your home page instead of entire posts encourages visitors to go deeper. If users are interested, they’ll have to click a link, such as “Read More” to go to the post’s page. You can do this in the most basic themes even. Just use the <!–more–> function when writing your posts. This function is there by default in your WordPress writing field. It is called “Insert More Tag”. <!–more–> function lets you break your post and only include a short preview on your post on your home page.
- Include links in the sidebar, footer and at the end of articles. There are several things you should make sure to do. WordPress has several plugins that make this easy. Link to your popular posts and latest posts from your sidebar. Link to your relevant posts at the end of your articles. Use your footer to place links to contact us, about us and other similar pages.
Inserting links in WordPress
WordPress makes it very easy to link within the content so do it whenever it makes sense in order to help your visitors use your blog and explore your relevant content further. When you click on the “Insert/edit link” button in your post writing menu click on the “Or link to existing content” in the pop-up. This will display the list of all your posts in the content archives. Find the post you’d like to link to or use the search field to locate the post. Click “Add Link” and you are done. Easy!
A good rule of thumb I have for my own effectiveness is to spend half of my time producing content and the other half of my time promoting that content. This assures me to cover both needs of having a successful site and a good PageRank number. I hope this article shows you that it is possible to get traffic from Google and search engines, even if you have a new site and even if you are in a very competitive niche. Focus on getting quality links to your site and focus on writing quality content, and you will soon experience an increase in PageRank and in the traffic you get from search engines.