A lot of bloggers, webmasters and internet business owners are obsessed about getting high Google page rank for their blog(s) and website(s0, with the hope that it’s the key to ranking high on Google search results. I happened to be in that school of thought (thanks to convention), but lately I’ve been having a shift in concern. From the result I had after the consecutive Page Rank update by Google in June and August 2011 I decided to dig into Google search to find some answers to my question, “Does high Google page rank has a direct effect on traffic or is it just something for webmasters to brag about?” Information spread like wide fire in the webosphere these days, and if one is not inquisitive enough may end up accepting unnecessary claims.
For the record, here is Google’s definition of page rank;
“When Google was founded, one key innovation was PageRank, a technology that determined the “importance” of a webpage by looking at what other pages link to it, as well as other data”.
During the recent double page rank update in June and August, one of my blogs went from PR1 to PR3, then to PR2 (the current ranking). But guess what; my traffic has more than doubled since the last update.
I’ve heard bloggers complain to have a page rank of up to 4 with very little traffic. I’ve also had a blog (see above) with a low page rank, getting fairly high traffic from Google. This leaves me to wonder if PR is directly proportional to traffic or just a status quo.
In a blog post by Susan Moskwa, Webmaster Trends Analyst, titled “Beyond PageRank: Graduating to actionable metrics”, she explains why bloggers and webmasters shouldn’t spend their time worrying about Google page rank, by highlighting some more important metrics to spend more time on.
Actually page rank was once the most famous part of Google ranking Algorithm, developed by Larry page and Sergey Brin (Founders of Google). According to Susan, “Page rank is still in use today but it’s only a part of a much larger system… Your PageRank is both difficult to measure accurately, and can go up or down without having any direct effect on your business.”
Susan went further to highlight more profitable and controllable metrics to spend time on rather than obsessing about PR.
“I posit that none of us truly care about PageRank as an end goal. PageRank is just a stand-in for what we really want: for our websites to make more money, attract more readers, generate more leads, more newsletter sign-ups, etc.
Finding metrics that are directly related to your business goals allows you to spend your time furthering those goals”.
Do visitors perform the action you require of them, which boils down to your business goals? This could be in form of signing up to your mailing list, completing a purchase, liking your facebook fan page or clicking banner ads.
How frequently do visitor leave your site without visiting a second and more pages? It doesn’t matter how high your site ranks. If you have a high bounce rate, it’s as good as no ranking.
Search engine Click-through rate (CTR)
How often do people click on your site out of all the times it gets shown in search results? A low CTR means that, no matter how well your site is ranking, users aren’t clicking through to visit.
Neil Patel’s post on “Does Google PageRank Really Matter?” describes this pretty more distinctly.
“PageRank does not correlate that strongly to search engine results placement,” Neil wrote. “Just because you have a high PageRank it doesn’t automatically guarantee you a high placement on Google. And if you also rank really well, it also doesn’t guarantee you a high PageRank.
So while it’s true that PageRank played a huge role in Google’s ranking algorithm in the past, its role today clearly isn’t as important in terms of rankings, due in large part to the fact that plenty of other ranking factors have been introduced since the launch of PageRank. As more ranking factors are introduced, their relative weight must get smaller, as each represents a smaller percentage of a site’s total score”.
Having a higher PageRank isn’t going to get you ranked higher in the search engine results, which means that working towards a high PR isn’t going to bring in more website traffic or, consequently, more conversion.
In my opinion, Google page rank is only a tool to leverage on. If Google rewards you with a good page rank for your blog, it should be a way to encourage you to keep working on other aspects of your blog (see above). It doesn’t quickly shoot your blog to the first page of Google. After all there could be hundreds or thousands of blogs in your niche with high(er) page rank. So logically, there are other factors that contribute to the decision of who gets the most traffic.
I’m ‘thinking‘ of this whole PR stuff like a certification degree. Everyone wants to go to school and get a degree, but People and companies wouldn’t come chasing you for business or employment because you just got a higher degree. You still have to go out of your way to leverage on your qualification. Even more so, a degree certificate is only a piece of paper and doesn’t guarantee success.
What do you think about the significance of Page rank to search ranking?