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Staircase to Higher PageRank

Published October 24, 2004 in GOOGLE PAGERANK
By Ryan Parsons | Formula and image used from Google, Alexa and Yahoo! image are property of both respective companies.
Google is the king of rating websites and their value to users.
There are two essentials things on the net that tell how successful your website is. The first is the Alexa Site Rankings [linked to Amazon and Google], which offers traffic summaries and site standings showing your website’s statistics when compared to all other sites indexed by Alexa. For some reason, I found an easy way to get listed among Alexa is to join Google’s AdWords program for a month or two. Google AdWords allows you to purchase pay-per-click advertising within the Google search engine. It is a great way to kick start your site as you will be listed among search results immediately, and you only have to pay $ .05 a click. Not a bad deal to get some early marketing for your site.

The second indication of how your site is doing is the PageRank system created by Google. PageRank goes from a PR0 to a PR10 and, unlike Alexa rankings, your rating is based more on the amount, and quality, of incoming links you have for your site [not the amount of traffic].

What this article will try to do is offer you information on how to get your PageRank and Alexa ratings up for your site. These two statistics are used by advertisers to decide if they want to use your site, and how much they are willing to pay; all for reasons that will be explained below. However, before we get too much into this, lets discuss Google Ad Words, Google PageRank, and Alexa Rankings more in depth.

After doing so, we will discuss our ‘Staircase to High PR’ to help increase the popularity of your site.

Google PageRank


Google uses PageRank to help decide what sites will appear on each page of the search results. This means that if a person were to search ‘hot girls,’ Google will find all the pages featuring ‘hot girls’ and then list them in order of their PR with a PR10 being first on the list. This is the most simplified description of what Google does, but it is accurate enough to give you an idea on the importance of PageRank. Besides search engine listings, PageRank offers another major benefit for your site and advertisers alike.

A lot of people/advertisers seeking online advertisement options will justify the quality of your site solely on PageRank. Sites that offer advertising also usually charge depending on the PageRank of the page that the ad will be placed on [partially]. So, if a site has three pages that they are selling ad spots on and the pages have a PageRank of PR3, PR5, and PR7, they are going to charge low prices for PR3 and high prices for PR7 [with PR5 somewhere close to PR7]. Is it worth the price hike because of increased PR? Of course! Placing your ad on a PR7 page is going to offer more benefit than placing on a PR3.

One of the main reasons for increased benefit is that you know the page probably receives a lot of traffic and by having a high PR page link to your home page, your site will definitely get the needed help to increase its own PR. *A small point: if you are purchasing text links on pages such as these, do not expect a boost in traffic. Text links offer more in PageRank than traffic. This is because Google will log that a PR7,5,3 or whatever other rank is linking into your site. Google than applies this link into its formula on judging your page’s PageRank. Google also gives you more ‘points’ by having higher PR pages linking to you. So, two things your site should try to do to increase its PR is to get a lot of incoming links and to make sure that at least some of these incoming links are ‘quality links’ [have a high PR as in four or above].

Alexa Rankings


Alexa is a site offering numerous details about a website including those on traffic, reach, and your overall rank in the internet. You are ranked out of about five million+ sites with Alexa placing your site anywhere between one and so many million. This site can definitely help give you an idea on the success of your site with regards to generated traffic.

Advertisers will also use the Alexa Rankings to determine how many users may come across their ad during a certain time period. The more ad views they can receive, the more valuable the ad. If you were selling ads based on impressions, this stat would not matter as much as the advertisers ad would just last longer. An example being if you were a really busy site and the advertiser paid $50 for 50,000 impressions, his ad may only last a week. However, if you were a slower site with little traffic, that same ad setup may last a couple months on.

Alexa also has their own spider that will come and check out your site from time to time after they have established your site in their database..

Google AdWords


This advertising option offered by Google does not display any statistics that really show how successful your site is. Instead, AdWords can help give your new site a boost off the ground with respects of getting your site listed with the Google Search Engine and pages hosting the Google AdSense program. Google claims that by joining Google AdWords, your site does not get any special treatment when it comes to indexing your site and listing your site’s pages among the Google search results. However, I noticed that after joining Google AdWords [and AdSense], the googlebot seemed to pay at least a little more attention to indexing my site. However, this could also just be my imagination doing tricks on me.

When using Google AdWords, you tell Google which keywords or key-phrases will list your site amongst the sponsored listings on the right side of the page. You also state the most you are willing to pay per click on your ad [minimum is $ .05]. You can then later see which keywords are performing better for your site and update your AdWords setup accordingly.

A Brief Note on Yahoo


Yahoo! makes you beg for their appreciation. Unless you are willing to pay the $299.00 insertion fee.
Yahoo still offers one of the best internet search engines around. However, Yahoo will make you work to gain acceptance within its search listings. First, the Yahoo [inktomi] robot/spider does not visit nearly as often as the googlebot will [at least in the beginning]. Yahoo also waits longer on updating their cache of your site than Google does. However, once Yahoo does take the time to give your site its due recognition, you may notice more people coming from Yahoo then they are Google.

Now that we have finished discussing some of the statistics that enable you, and advertisers, to judge your site’s performance, we will go into our idea called the ‘Staircase To High PR.’ This idea outlines simple steps to achieve a higher PR with little or no cost to you.


First Step- Published Site


You purchased your domain name and have published a fully functional site to the web that either sells your business/products or offers information. On initial publishing of your site, you obviously start off as a PR0 with Google. So, what is the first thing you do? Get out on the net and search for sites willing to do link exchanges. It may even be wise to create a ‘Links’ page on your site that includes all the links you have done an exchange with. Get as many incoming links as possible, even if they reside on PR0 pages. You never know if the PR on these pages will go up later. However, still try to get links on sites that have a PR3 or more as well. This part of the game takes time as you have to look for sites to exchange links with and you may have to convince these sites that it is worth their time exchanging links with you, especially since you are currently a PR0. If you have friends that already have sites, convince them to link into your site.

For this reason, be sure that your site offers something that will convince others that your site has what it takes. Make sure your site offers more than just a few pages [your site should be deep] and that it has a professional or, at least, well created design layout. You will find it hard to participate in link exchanges if you are a small site hosted on GeoCities for free or other similar free hosts.

Remember, the ‘First Step’ takes time as you spend hours communicating with sites that you want to link exchange. If you do have experience with programming such as PHP, PERL, or ASP, you could even create your own link exchange program that takes a lot of the load off of yourself as people will now be asking for your to link with them [instead of the other way around]. It is also nice to see your link up on a site before you reciprocate the exchange.

Step Two- Google Updates Your PR


It can take Google up to three months to update its PR ratings for sites; it used to be only a month. This means you must be patient and keep striving for more incoming links as you wait for Google to update your site. If you did fairly well in collecting incoming links, you probably could receive a PR3 [or maybe even PR4] within a month or two of establishing your site. Now you have some negotiating power.

A PR3 is not going to bring advertisers to your site, but it will allow you the added power to negotiate with higher PR sites [such as PR4,5,6] in a link exchange. Now your site has some type of value according to Google, which now offers you a numbered PR. Other sites will see this and use the information on deciding whether to link with you or not. Furthermore, a PR3 is a good start, but remember to take your time and not rush into trying to link exchange the higher PR’s [like PR6,7] too quickly. You will have much more luck doing link exchanges with PR4’s and PR5’s, which will usually be willing to have a PR3 link to them for their link back.

Step Three- Bypass the Middle Phase


Now you have been negotiating as a PR3 site for some time, be it two weeks to three months. You were able to collect even more links that have even higher quality. Now you are only willing to exchange links with sites of a PR3 or more. You were successful in getting incoming links from fourteen pages with a PR between PR3 and PR5. Google updates your site’s PR to a PR5. PR5 is an excellent PR that will enable you to now have negotiating power with not only quality link exchanges but with advertisers as well. Advertisers should be at least willing to advertise on PR5 pages. The advertisers to look for are the ones that have a bit of money to help promote their new, or smaller, site. They will be willing to pay a certain amount to have a PR5 link coming into their site.

Now you can term your site a success in one regard, you achieved a respectable PR with the power to earn on advertising. Your site also lists fairly well on Google [and maybe other sites as well].

Now you may want to head over to Alexa and see if your traffic statistics are in any way reflecting the changes with PR. You want to try to get under the two million mark on Alexa by this point.

Top Step


Alexa should give you an idea of how your traffic rates. You want to be in the top 400,000 to feel real good about yourself.
With a PR5 you were able to negotiate with PR6 and PR7 sites on link exchanges. In some cases, the high PR sites will make you also pay a little on top in order to agree to the link exchange. Also, at this time you may begin doing advertising/banner exchange. Instead of placing links on your ‘Links’ page you place the high PR site’s link on your home page or other ‘high quality’ pages in the form of a text link, banner, or any other graphical ad. Having graphical ads on busy sites can and should not only help your PageRank, but your incoming traffic as well.

With these purchased ads or exchanged ads you were able to get your site up to a PR6. Now, to have a PR6 is a great achievement by itself. You should respect this rating because many advertisers will. If you never get higher than a PR6, do not be disappointed. At a PR6, you can charge around $50 for an ad spot. This price can go up and down depending on how much your site has to offer and how often you update it.

Which comes to my last point, update your site often [daily even]. The googlebot will come back to your site more often if you update regularly. A site that updates often can also help out increase the PR of your site as well. So start getting into the habit of updating your site at least once every couple days. You should start this habit around ‘Step Two’ or ‘Step Three’ to even ad more power and ‘quality’ to your site. The more pages Google has to index on your site, the more respect its rankings will show it.

Skipping the Steps- Paying the Money


The ‘Steps’ mentioned above are tips on getting to a higher PR with the limited use of money. However, if you do have some money you are willing to spend, the best thing to do is start looking for PR7 sites that have deals for advertising. Contact the site directly and see if you can negotiate a better price if you were to purchase three months worth or a lot of impressions. Three months is a good period to ensure that Google takes that incoming link into account for your site. It is possible to find PR7 pages that offer ad spots for as little as $50 a month. Even though they are hard to find, they are out there so keep looking. If you are able to get three PR7 sites linking to yours, you can almost guarantee your site a minimum of a PR3 ranking to start. Using money is less time consuming, as you do not need to take the steps required to build up your PR. However, unless you improve on your site [such as updated it daily or build more pages into it] your established PR will not last after your advertisement period has run out.

The perk is that you quickly achieve a PR that will enable you to negotiate with similar, and slightly higher, rated PR sites. Hopefully in time before your paid links and ads run out.

If you were striving to only increase PageRank, it would be wise to have your link/ad placed on sites that have no or a limited rotation. Make sure that your banner or link appears at least two-thirds of the time.

A Final Note on Textlinks for PageRank


Remember, textlinks should help you attain a better PageRank but will not usually increase your traffic significantly. So do not be disappointed with links that do not usher traffic to your site. Remember, they have other purposes. If you want traffic, begin looking into Google AdWords or banner advertisements.

Also, do not sell advertisements based solely on PageRank. Google discourages this and will even suspend some of your PageRank points if it discovers that you are committing this practice. It is best to let the person discover your PageRank on their own. If they are wise, they will know where to look.

Formulations for PageRank


The first way to figure PageRank from one additional incoming link:

What you do is find out the page's PageRank where your link will be placed. Then count the number of outbound links that reside on that same page. Now apply this formula:

.15 + .85(pagerank / outbound links)

So, if you placed your link on a page that has a PR of six with eight outbound links, your increase would be:

.15 + .85(6/8) = .79

This means your PageRank should increase somewhere near .79 points. Furthermore, it is important to remember that Google PageRank is close to this, but not as simple. To be a 'true' PR5 page, you may need to have 8 to 10 points [a guess]. Each PR category has a bracket range for 'points'. So, .79 may not actually increase your 'true' PR up .79, just your points. But the point increases are what give you your 'true' PR. See what I mean?

Here is another way to guess your PageRank thanks to SeoCompany.Ca

Rule 1: 18 PRx links to get PRx (i.e. 18 PR5 links to get a PR5).
Rule 2: 3.339 PRx links to get PR(x-1) (i.e. 3.339 PR6 links to get a PR5).
Rule 3: 101 PRx links to get PR(x+1) (i.e. 101 PR5 links to get a PR6).


Resources to Check Out:


Alexa.Com- You can go here to get the latest stats on your site. All you have to do is use the following URL and insert your website at the end.
http://www.alexa.com/data/details/main?q=&url=www.yoursite.com

Google PageRank: The following sites offer a utility to help discover the PageRank of each and every page within your site. You will have to enter each page on a separate line.
http://www.pagerank.net/pagerank-checker/
http://www.top25web.com/pagerank.php

PageRank Update List History: Shows every time Google updates their search engine in either backlinks or PageRank.

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Ryan Parsons
Sources: Formula and image used from Google, Alexa and Yahoo! image are property of both respective companies.
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