Google PR Elusive Yet Sought After
I'm going to write a brief summary on some thoughts I've been kicking around in response to a growing number of number of SEO boards I frequent regarding the value and correlation of Google page rank and search engine rankings.
What is Page Rank?
Google uses Page Rank (PR) to 'rate' web site relevance, maturity, stature, etc. This value is hidden within the Google algorithm (that ranks web sites) and therefore nobody knows exactly what items are used to create PR. What we do know from Google is that it's more than just 'counting links'. They do look at relevance of where your links is coming, etc., in determining PR.
There is an 'external' or visible PR display offered by Google in the form of a small toolbar you can install that displays values. Yahoo! has a PR 10, which is incredibly difficult to achieve and only the 5 richest kings in the world can afford it (haha). External page rank is rarely updated, maybe 4 times a year, and the information is usually old by the time it reaches you.
How Should I Treat Google Page Rank
Contrary to popular assertions by some SEOs I believe there is an indirect correlation between PR and SERPs (your rankings). PR is a measure of the web sites health. The healthier and more robust it is (more incoming links), the higher the PR. That's the basic criteria for rankings (I've left out great content here but that's in the mix too). Many claim that PR has ZERO impact on SERPs. You're right, it doesn't, but SERPS and PR are derived from the same place (correct me if I'm wrong here.)
Let's consult a robust (:lol:) diagram to aid explanation.
Note: Visible toolbar PR and rankings derive information from the same place (this is extremely general but helps.) Visible toolbar PR does NOT factor into your rankings. However, visible PR IS an indicator of your overall web site health and can be used as a general indicator against your competitors. That does not mean you focus on PR though.
Managers or webmasters should not ask how they can improve PR, rather how they can improve overall rankings. For many this is merely a semantics game; they treat both words synonymously. Rest assured, you do not need more PR to rank higher than a web site that has a higher PR value (say 3 to 4) than you. However, if you're PR goes up, it does provide a general indicator that your web promotion techniques are being noted.
So remember, you want to ask yourself, "how you can I improve my search engine rankings", not how you can improve your visible toolbar number. After all, it's only a number at the end of the day. Visible PR will increase if you conduct your web marketing strategy correctly--it's a visible result of your overall SEO efforts.
EDIT: For a more in-depth analysis (harder for beginners) please visit Smashing Magazine.
[tags]google page rank, pr on rankings, pr serps, visible pr, visible page rank, pr seo, page rank seo[/tags]