Recently I was asked by someone if I could help him, “increase the page rank of his website to PR 1″. I replied that I should be able to do much better than just a page rank of one. In short order it became clear that he wasn’t referring to page rank at all, but SERP, which stands for search engine results page. Apparently the fellow wanted to be on page one of Google and assumed PR, or page rank, referred to which page a website link was listed on.
I’m retelling this story as a real world example of how great the lack of understanding surrounding Page Rank is. First off, the term Page Rank is rumored to be named after Larry Page, co founder of Google. I don’t know for sure if this is true or just one of many page rank myths, but I do know that myths abound.
One thing that’s a commonly believed myth is that a website has a page rank. Wrong! Page Rank applies to individual pages of a website, not to the entire site. This is why it is called, “Page Rank”. One page could be a PR6, another be a PR3, while others on the same blog or website could be PR0. People often talk about the page rank of their site, but what they mean is the PR of the homepage. Homepages generally have the highest Page Rank because they tend to have the most links pointing to them.
Another myth that has taken hold is that Page Rank refers to traffic. It doesn’t, not directly at least. What’s a fact is that a web page with a higher page rank is likely to get more traffic. However, this is because it’s probably going to appear higher in search results than a page with a lower PR. For example, a PR3 page will always outrank another that has a Pagerank of 2 in SERPs for a given keyword search.
Yet another pagerank myth implies that a web page will appear higher in search results than pages with a lower PR. The reality is that a PR1 or 2 page can have a higher ranking for a specific keyword than a page ranked at PR5. The lower PR page will therefore appear higher in search results than the PR5 page for the specific keyword.
The myths continue with many people thinking Page Rank is Google’s only factor for deciding which results to return in response to a search query. The fact is, Google uses algorithm that determine indexation, keyword density, page load time, page design, link popularity, geographic location determined by IP, and many other factors when deciding which results to return for a given search.
Another myth is that Page Rank is a key metric. It’s actually useless as a key performance indicator (KPI). Page Rank does not directly generate sales, nor improve click through or conversion ratios, nor gain more traffic.
Although everyone should have a basic knowledge of what Page Rank is, the KPIs to consider when building the website are SEO. page load time and link building strategies. Rather than focusing on Page Rank, the focus should be on building an attractive, fast loading website with compelling content that will attract potential customers.