In an environment that's constantly changing, such as the Internet, it has become increasingly difficult to stand out from the pack.
Experience shows that building a website and relying on people to stumble across it is an expensive way of spending your hard-earned money. The old saying, "Build it and they will come!" doesn't happen anymore; there are just too many websites. Which is why we now need search engines to find the information, product or service we want.
Relying on search engines to direct people to our websites means that, as website owners, we really need to be in tune with how Search Engines use their constantly evolving algorithms and calculations, and what they conclude about our websites, because it is this that determines where links to our websites show up on the pages & pages of results they often display.
For Australian website owners, it's important to keep a watchful eye on how you rate on Google (Google is the number one search engine used by Australians).
Which brings us to Google PageRank
Google PageRank is the mathematically calculated score that Google allocates to each web page that it knows about. The PageRank score determines which search result page and how far down that page the link to your website appears when someone does a search using Google.
For a more detailed understanding of PageRank, you might want to refer to Wikipedia, which contains references to the history and evolution of the algorithms.
The lower your PageRank score for a particular page of your website, the further away from the top of the first results page the link to your website page will be.
It used to be that all you needed to do to get your website ranked highly was to include links to popular websites and have those popular sites link back to yours. However, the PageRank algorithm has evolved considerably over time and now requires more than a few links to increase your score.
Despite the changes, there are some relatively simple things you can do to improve the PageRank of your website pages.
Here are 7 ways to Improve your Page Rankings
Web Server Uptime
Every time Google attempts to reach your website and can't it lowers your score. Ensuring that your website is hosted on a Web Server that is online all the time is vital for making sure you maintain a great PageRank score.
When evaluating a hosting provider, check their "uptime" (the percentage of time that the Web Server is running) rate. You might think that saving $5 per month is great for the bottom line, but it the overall impact to your business of having a low PageRank caused by a Web Server is that is unreliable is likely to run into the thousands of dollars.
Be Your own Customer & Use Google
Instead of typing the URL of your website into your web browser each time you want to visit it, search for it using Google.
When search for your own website, you are creating traffic that helps Google to know that your website is active and worth keeping track of, which increases your PageRank score.
High Quality Content
This is where niching really helps. With highly targeted content you become more specific and focused with your message, raising the quality rating for your content.
Raising the quality of your content helps Google to individualise your website pages, separating you from your competitors and increasing your score.
Internationalise Your Content
If you have an opportunity to translate even small, key parts of your website into another language, do it.
Providing your content in more than one language, increases your score as well as the amount of traffic that can be driven to your website from Google.
Increase the Exposure of Your Web Address
Put your website URL everywhere you'd put your phone or fax number, invite other high quality websites to link to your website and submit your website to Directories such as Open Directory Project to encourage searching and links back, which all improve PageRank.
Avoid Sneaky Strategies
You used to be able to hide content in your web pages making them invisible to people reading your web pages but very visible to search engines.
Making content invisible by colouring the text the same as the background colour of the page, hiding content in your web page HTML, providing descriptions that don't match the content of your web pages or any one of many other sneaky strategies are quickly identified by Google.
Whether you use these knowingly or not, be prepared to live with a zero PageRank score, as that's exactly what Google does once it discovers sneaky strategies.
One final way to increase your PageRank is to invest in Search Engine Marketing with a Google AdWords marketing campaign (for example), which works a bit like an upward spiral.
Your Ad appears on Google, which increases the number of people who go to your website, which increases it's popularity which in turn increases the PageRank score, so that it appears closer to the top of the first page, which increases the chances that the link will be clicked on and your website visited.
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