Understanding Google™'s Unique Rating System
Google™ is clearly the most popular search engine today. If you achieve a top search engine ranking in Google™, you are considered very lucky. Especially if the first page position is for a highly competitive keyword. There are many factors involved in achieving ranking success within Google™. The three main factors are CONTENT, TRAFFIC, and LINKING. PageRank, for the most part, is not a factor in how well you rank. The original technology behind PageRank is explained here.
The purpose of this tutorial is to remain as non-technical as possible. In order to judge the value of a site based on inbound linking, Google™ developed the algorithm it calls PageRank. This assigns a rating from zero to ten to a site based on the relative strength of the combined links pointing to it. Sometimes you will see PageRank defined as 4/10. This means that the page has been given a PageRank of four out of a possible ten.
Here's the facts: Google™ scours the web indexing pages and assigning a PageRank based on a sophisticated algorithm. This involves many factors we've covered earlier in this series of tutorials, however, the most important component is the quantity and quality of links pointing to your website. Click Google™'s explanation to see more information.
If you want to see what Google™ thinks about any given web page, download the Google™ Toolbar, browse the web, and pay attention to the PageRank displayed within the toolbar. When you find sites that are highly ranked, go to our tools and check their link popularity... you'll get the picture. PageRank is directly related to link popularity.
Periodically, the Google™ crawler starts over and scours the web again. It starts with pages that have the highest rank and works its way down. If your site is new and has no other sites pointing to it, chances are it won't get indexed.
Practical Example: You have a new website that sells tools. You get an authority on home improvement to place a link from their site to yours. When their site is re-indexed by Googlebot, the link to your site is found and the Googlebot follows it to you. Because the home improvement site is considered an authority, this gives you a boost in value and hopefully, positioning.
***Don't be fooled by imitations. Getting yourself included in a link farm or websites established for the sole purpose of creating multitudes of links will not help you, and may in fact even HURT you. Today, Google™ places a lot of importance on the link quality and goes to great lengths to spot these obvious tricks.
How do I get links to my site?
This is where the hard work comes in. First, you must research Google™ and other search engines to find top sites related to your industry. If you have downloaded the Google™ Toolbar, you will see their PageRank. If it is at least as high as your current PageRank (preferably as high as possible), the site would be a good target to exchange links with. The site should have a visible "links" or "partners" page within the site navigation, where you can find active links to other industry related sites.
Once you have targeted potential link exchange partners, you must then contact them and ask them to link to you. One of the best ways to get them to do this is to place a link to them first, contact them and ask them to link back. This is called "reciprocal linking". There is software out there that can assist with this, but nothing takes the place of the personal approach.
Another strategy is to place content on your site that makes people WANT to link to you. If you have a content-rich site with relevant information about your industry or product, over time you will find other sites linking to you in increasing numbers.
SEO Expert and Contributing Writer
For further strategy related to link building, read "Chosing Link Partners" in Chris' Position website promotion articles.