Google Pagerank Dead? Far From It, You Just Don’t Know How To Use It!

Posted on October 25, 2009 
Filed Under SEO

Google has recently removed the Pagerank metric from the Google Webmaster Tools and there are all sorts of blog posts popping up claiming that Pagerank is dead. (again?) ;)

I’ve been now actively involved with Internet marketing for 4 years and want to share my findings related to Pagerank – as I disagree that Pagerank is dead.

My findings are not based on a scientific study but on experience and I don’t claim that they are the unviversal truth about Pagerank. But there is some hard logic behind my ideas so I invite you to check them out.

Here’s why Pagerank is not dead yet:

Google says:

PageRank Technology: PageRank reflects our view of the importance of web pages by considering more than 500 million variables and 2 billion terms. Pages that we believe are important pages receive a higher PageRank and are more likely to appear at the top of the search results.

In plain English this means: Pages with higher Pagerank are more likely to appear at the top of the search results. This is especially important to note for those SEO geniuses who like to show examples of how their low pagerank page beats a higher pagerank page.

Yes, there are exceptions but the probability is NOT on your side. Google says »likely« and not »always«.

So what you’re doing with your example is showing the »unlikely« event and I definitely won’t base my link building strategies and success of my site on »unlikely« examples.

Feel free to follow the »unlikely« path though – a few less competitors for me in the long run. ;)

And based on my experience and every day Googling on various topics, I almost always see high PR pages and website ranked higher than lower PR pages and websites.

Not always but “almost always”. Guess which path is the smarter one…

PageRank also considers the importance of each page that casts a vote, as votes from some pages are considered to have greater value, thus giving the linked page greater value.

Plain English: A link from a higher PR page will be more beneficial than a link from  a low PR page.

Therefore, I look to get links from high pagerank sites and pages as they are more beneficial. I will continue to do so until Google removes their claim and until I see no difference between high and low PR incoming links. Right now, I still see huge difference.

A PR5 link pointed to a site with lots of content (100 pages or so) and very few links, can quadruple the site’s traffic in a couple of months.

The Effect Of A PR5 Link - Very Few Pages Were Added From July To October

The Effect Of A PR5 Link - Very Few Pages Were Added From July To October

Why the exceptions? Why are sometimes low PR sites ranked higher than high PR sites?

From my experience, in order for Pagerank to really do its magic, it must be COMBINED with 3 other factors:

1.    Main keyword in the title – A low PR page can beat a higher PR page if the low PR page has the main keyword in the title and the high PR page doesn’t. If the high PR page added the main keyword in the title, it would most likely outrank the low PR page!

2.    Main keyword in the anchor text of incoming links – Similary, a low PR page can beat a higher PR page if the low PR page has the main keyword in the link text of the incoming links and the high PR page doesn’t. A high PR page has big advantage though; if it just gets a few anchor text links including the right link text (main keyword), it will very soon outrank the low PR page.

3.    Theme of the website – A low PR page can beat a higher PR page if the low PR page is on a website that is themed around tightly related keywords to the main keyword. Google says:

We also analyze the content of neighboring web pages to ensure the results returned are the most relevant to a user’s query.

Therefore if other pages of your site talk about similar topic, you’ll have better chances of ranking high.

This is where a high PR website cannot do much – except gain even more links to it to gain the »monster authority« status. ;)

Typical examples of »monster authority« status in Google’s eyes are Wikipedia and Ezinearticles. They can outrank themed high PR sites even though their theme is spread among huge diversity of topics.

Note that in most cases (ALL from my experience), they have the main keyword in title and they have lots of internal links with that keyword in the link text!

So in order for Pagerank to work its magic, you need to:

–    Include the main keyword in the title
–    Include the main keyword in the link text of incoming links (external and internal!)
–    Build your site around a theme

If you do that, the probability of a lower PR page ranking higher than your page is microscopingly small.

So is Pagerank dead yet? Far from it:

PageRank reflects our view of the importance of web pages by considering more than 500 million variables and 2 billion terms.

You just need to know what part of the recipe for high rankings the PR  has. If you exclude Pagerank from the recipe, it’s very likely that your »cake won’t taste really sweet.« ;)

Update: Matt Cutts in this video mentions pagerank as the key to why some pages rank higher than other. Is pagerank really dead? ;)

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Comments

17 Responses to “Google Pagerank Dead? Far From It, You Just Don’t Know How To Use It!”

  1. jerrick on October 25th, 2009 6:22 pm

    Hi Tomaz,

    I was just wondering if you do link exchanges to get the PR 5 to point to your site, buy links or is it though your own blog etc?

    [Reply]

    Tomaz Reply:

    Hi Jerrick,

    That PR5 link was from Yahoo directory and it’s not to my site but to my friend’s. He just got very lucky that Yahoo put his site on a PR5 page…

    I don’t outsource link building, only research (like: find me 30 PR3+ blogs related to my topic). I then negotiate myself.

    It helps tremendously if you have other high PR sites and blogs and can offer high PR links and then request high PR links.

    But yes, the biggest effect is from high PR links (sites) and you won’t get those with article submissions, squidoo and hubpages.

    [Reply]

  2. jerrick on October 25th, 2009 6:31 pm

    By the way, do you outsource any linkbuilding tasks?

    I found there are many link building strategies – submitting articles, video submissions, yahoo answers, blog commentings, links exchanges, squidoo, hubpages etc.

    I found that hubpages and squidoo does not really work well for me in the short term, and it seems links exchanges (getting in-pointing links from high PR sites) are probably still the best way to increase traffic. The only downside is this method very painful and not many people will respond to links exchanges.

    Your comments?

    [Reply]

  3. The Hosting Formula on October 25th, 2009 9:00 pm

    Yes, I’m aware of google PR as one of recipe to get more traffic from search engine but since my domain not to popular (dot info) I just enjoy on sharing information.

    [Reply]

  4. Jerrick on October 26th, 2009 4:02 am

    Hi Tomaz,

    Thanks for your reply. I really think that is the key to your successes – getting links from high PR blogs/websites. And man, it’s damn tough to get them …ho ho ho…

    I have been doing article marketing, squidoo, hubpages, yahoo answers for months and the “link juices” from these sources seems to be a tiny trickle.

    Now if only i can get those PR 5 blogs to point to me…. I shall have some good stories to share… :)

    [Reply]

  5. Sherman Lambert on October 26th, 2009 9:47 am

    Hi Tomaz,

    I wanted to know if you found it harder to get high PR3+ links from websites than blogs? I’m curious about your experiences.

    Thanks

    Sherman

    [Reply]

  6. Tomaz on October 26th, 2009 9:55 am

    Hey Sherman,

    Yes, the blog webmasters are typically more willing to link out.

    There are still so many websites with worthless Pagerank 0 “links” pages and they just don’t “get it”.

    Either they would give you a link from PR0 “links page” or they don’t have any other option.

    [Reply]

  7. Aurther on October 26th, 2009 12:23 pm

    Hi Tomaz thanks for this.

    What does this mean for SBI sites developed by people who are not SEO savvys. Does this mean SBI sites will at some point fail to generate traffic if webmasters cannot get a link from high PR sites/pages.

    I imagine most SBIers rely on article submissions, answering questions, directories and value exchange etc.

    [Reply]

  8. Tomaz on October 26th, 2009 1:59 pm

    Hi Aurther,

    SBI has nothing to do with free search engine traffic. It’s just a tool to build websites – so there’s nothing special about SBI sites – when it comes to Google traffic.

    People fail to get a high PR link(s) if they don’t know that links are important and don’t put in the effort of link building.

    Sooner or later you’re going to get lucky and score some quality links – if you persist with emailing other webmasters. They don’t have to be PR5 at all.

    The key is to get quality links from trusted authority sites.

    People also fail to get good links if their content sucks and their site looks crappy.

    No one wants to naturally link to such a site. Therefore, again, you need to put in the effort of creating a good looking design and creating high quality content.

    300 word outsourced articles for $5 will NEVER get you high quality organic links.

    People constantly look for shortcuts and that’s their biggest mistake. Instead, they should focus on putting EVERYTHING they’ve got into the quality content of their sites.

    Here’s my latest tennis article for example:

    http://www.tennismindgame.com/advanced-tennis-backhand.html

    Here’s what needed to be done:

    – plan the drills on paper a day before
    – charge the battery and prepare the camera and the tapes ;)
    – tape the drills on court and consider what the best viewing angle is best
    – work on court of course for 90 minutes
    – transfer the videos from tape to the PC
    – edit the videos, add titles, convert into mp4 format and upload to Youtube
    – write an article, find pictures and other videos needed to be included in the article
    – have article proofread
    – put everything together

    The total time invested for this single article is over 10 hours.

    Of course, not all my articles take that much time but the question is, how many of your articles have this much effort invested?

    This article will undoubtedly gain organic links over time and people will undoubtedly bookmark it – and that will be recognized by Google and that’s how you gain lots of traffic and trust of the visitors over time.

    I am NOT looking for shortcuts when I am writing my own stuff. I am looking to share the BEST of my knowledge in the BEST possible way for people to benefit regardless of how much time it takes me.

    This is in my opinion what separates the winners from losers and that’s why I do it. I am sharing this attitude with you here so that you understand why I earn a lot of with my websites.

    This is not magic trick or knowing some sneaky ways of getting high PR links.

    No, it’s really giving my best for the content I put out and then it’s easier to get high quality links to it. (still not easy though!)

    [Reply]

  9. Aurther on October 27th, 2009 2:44 am

    Thanks Tomaz,

    I see what you mean. This is why i also think sites must be built around a passion/interest (or a topic one can exhaustively sustain) i think it adds that advantage so to be able to go an extra mile as you have shown with the particular article on your tennis site.

    Probably the mindset should also be long haul. 2-3 years of sustained work on the site without really expecting overnight windfall in traffic.

    Many thanks for sharing this.

    [Reply]

  10. John on October 30th, 2009 2:37 am

    “I don’t outsource link building, only research (like: find me 30 PR3+ blogs related to my topic). I then negotiate myself.”

    Tomaz, a couple of questions here.

    When you’ve found the blogs do you contact the blog owner directly for a link or do you post a comment?

    On the subject of comments most blogs I’ve found are now no follow for comments – are they worth posting on from a links perspective?

    I’ve posted on dozens of blogs and this site is the only one that ever shows a backlink on yahoo!

    Also I see many good looking directories etc offering PR3, PR4 links etc but the page where the link will actually be has no PR – I thought it was the PR of the page the link was going to be placed on that counted and not that of the home page or is it different for directories?

    Building sites is fun – link building is a pain!
    (But necessary . . . )

    Thanks, John.

    [Reply]

    Tomaz Reply:

    @John,

    Once I find 30 blogs or so, I post 5 to 6 comments on each in about 1 month or so that the owner gets to know me and my site.

    Then I suggest a link exchange. I don’t post comments for links but to establish friendship with the webmaster.

    The link is then typically posted in their blogroll (if they agree to an exchange) which is on the homepage which has PR3+.

    And yes, you need to look at the PR of the page where your link is and not the PR of the website. Therefore, most directories are worthless.

    The link on a high authority directory like botw.org or yahoo.com will probably be still beneficial although I have no scientific proof. Test and see. ;)

    [Reply]

  11. Mark van Tuel on October 30th, 2009 5:03 pm

    Hehe perfect timing, google has just updated their famous pagerank

    Nice article ;)

    [Reply]

  12. John on October 31st, 2009 6:30 am

    YAY! I’ve been following the advice on here and my 6 month old site which showed n/a PR now has a PR1 for the homepage and PR2 for some tier2 pages.

    I’m a happy bunny – cheers Tomaz.

    [Reply]

  13. Trina on October 31st, 2009 9:56 pm

    Tomaz, I am ecstatic! I have been following your link-building advice for the last month and have seen positive results already. I have limited time to work on my site, so my content building efforts have slowed while I focus on links. However, the concentrated effort has been well worthwhile.

    I’ve been striving to get my home page to rank with google, and hoping for a PR1. I was stunned when the little grey PR box on my google toolbar showed some green overnight – PR2 green! Additionally, several of my tier 2 pages that I’ve focused on building links to have a PR1 ranking now. My site is only about 6 months old so I’m feeling happy with progress. Thanks for the useful tips that have helped so much along the way.

    Trina

    [Reply]

    Tomaz Reply:

    @John and Trina: It’s very cool when some green bar starts to show up for your sites. Note that this has nothing to do with your traffic – it was about the same last week when the green bar didn’t show yet and it’s about the same this week when the green bar shows some pagerank.

    The difference is when you’re negotiating link exchanges; most webmasters still exchange links based on pagerank and you can offer PR1 in-content link which will also send some traffic to another site. That’s a much better offer than giving PR0 link from links pages and of course you can also request a better link now from someone else…

    [Reply]

  14. Tracey on November 16th, 2009 7:36 am

    Hi Tomaz

    Thank you for the link building tips. I guess it’s not enough to get out there and write articles and submit to web directories. I should also look for some high PR blogs to share links with.

    Thanks for showing us that by posting comments, we can help build a relationship with the blog owner and eventually ask for a link.

    I also agree with you that what you put in your website you’ll get out of it. When I write a quick article, I don’t get the links that I do when I write a more detailed, planned and thought out article.

    Thanks as always for sharing your success with us.

    [Reply]

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