The Importance of PageRank when Link Building

When businesses try to boost their search engines rankings, they often overlook an element that is vital to the success of every SEO strategy. By failing to acknowledge the relevance of good PageRank (PR) when link building, you are not only wasting your time, you are potentially harming your ranking in Google.

There are many factors that contribute to how your site rises or falls through search engine rankings. However, PageRank is one particular contributor that is easily spotted, and can help you decide which sites are best to build reciprocal links with.

While your site likely won’t be boasting links on webpages with PR 7 or higher, there are literally hundreds of thousands of webpages with PR 3 or more that can do wonders for your site’s ranking. It’s true that homepages are often the only pages to exhibit high PR, but inner webpages with quality content can also provide you with ample opportunity to boost your rankings.

Avoid dodgy sites and low PageRank

There are plenty of positives with PageRank, but there are also a few negatives you should be aware of:

PR 0: While it’s true that some websites are attacked and therefore slip down the search engine and PR rankings without any influence from the host, most PR 0 sites are simply not appropriate for links. It’s basically a “penalty for being a bad net citizen”. It should be obvious, but give PR 0 sites a wide berth when link building.

Dodgy sites: Most SEO masters can recognise dodgy sites a mile away and there are a few key visuals to look out for. As an example, you may come across a site that is similar to your business and has a fantastic PageRank of 4 or 5. However, for some reason the content does not match the domain, and there are links spattered throughout the text. Furthermore, the blog template is extremely basic and seems to be identical to dozens of other sites with similarly high PR. Avoid these sites at all costs. Some people purchase domains, increase homepage PR (often by ways that will get you blacklisted should Google find out) and then sell the domain for a lucrative profit. The site is then turned into a mishmash of indecipherable content littered with irrelevant links for the sole purpose of making money. Google’s Panda updates are slowly but surely weeding these sites out, so make sure you don’t have any dealings with them.

Unranked: This is actually one facet of PR that is thoroughly misunderstood. It is not, in fact, a negative to have an unranked page, so if you are concerned that your business page is being punished by Google for something you didn’t do: don’t be. A webpage takes weeks, and sometimes even months, to earn PR. While it is not advised to include an unranked page in your link building strategy, it by no means indicates that they are disreputable sites.

Tools for beginners

Too many people get caught up in the ecstasy of Alexa. While the ranking system does provide a good scope of the more successful sites on the web, it has been criticised for its failure to represent true internet behaviour.

If you are still keen to keep an eye on Alexa, amongst other SEO tools – as you should – all you have to do is download a free tool from the Chrome store (if you don’t use Chrome there are similar tools for Mozilla and other browsers). There are plenty of plug-ins that take just a few seconds to install and can include PageRank, Alexa, geolocation, Google Trends, indexed pages and so much more.

Don’t be overwhelmed by all those words if you don’t know what they mean. Just keep an eye on PR and you’ll be fine.

PageRank and link building essentials

Perhaps the most vital piece of advice is to not offer reciprocal links simply for the sake of it. Link out to reputable pages that are relevant to your business and have a solid foundation of providing trustworthy content. You don’t want your homepage to end up a PR 0!

It all comes back to content marketing. By building a site that provides informative, SEO-friendly and – most importantly – relevant content, your site will build a profile of healthy PR links by itself.

Simon Jones, Sub-Editor at King Content

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