In first post of this series for beginners, we learned how search engines find your site and read its relevant public contents. Search engines use the web pages found on your site (and numerous other sites) to tag and index them logically in a way that it can be presented to people searching for simiar content.
However, there is a possibility that, just like you, a few (sometimes even 100 or 1000) others have published content on similar or same topic. Unfortunately, the search engines cannot display all these indexed pages in one search engine result page (SERP). Hence the search engines will try to list the search results in the order of priority or importance of indexed pages. In order to practically measure the importance of indexed page, the search engines assign ranks to these indexed pages.
What is Page Rank? A Page Rank – fontly known as PR – is a number assigned to an indexed page by the search engine that helps the page to be sequenced in search results. Please note that we are talking about a number that can vary from 0 to infinity and is maintained by Google internally. There is also an external or public page rank – a number from 0 to 10 – that usually all of us get to see via Google Toolbar or page rank look up services. However, the sequencing of SERPs is based on the internal rank alone.
The (internal) page rank plays an important role in your site’s search traffic. If your pages get on top of the search results (of search engines such as Google, Yahoo), you can definitely get more search visitors to your blog or website. It is as simple as that!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
We introduced this term in the last post. Search Engine Optimization, in simple language, is the tweaking that you do to your web pages in order to get them listed on top of the search results. The ultimate aim of SEO is to increase the internal page ranks of your pages (which sometimes reflect in the public page rank as well). As I mentioned above, using the internal page ranks, that can vary from zero to infinity, is probably the only way to prioritize thousands of pages dealing similar topics.
Basically, the external page rank (0 to 10) could be an indicator of the importance of a page but the internal PR is the main deciding factor for SERPs sequencing.
Note: Without having a good page rank, one could still get his pages listed on top of the search results. But in order to achieve that you need to pay the Search Engine companies so that they will prioritize your pages or sites ahead of others. This is known as Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and this topic is not in the scope of our current series
Major factors that influence Page Rank
Since Uncle Google (or other search engines for that matter), never discloses how he calculates the page rank of the pages indexed, a lot of people have researched on this topic and figured out that the following factors and traits can influence the PR of a page:
#1 Relevance, structure and quality of the page content
#2 Linking – to and from the page
#3 Keywords and tags used for linking and otherwise
I shall quickly touch upon the first topic in this post and deal with linking and keywords in the next two posts in the series.
Page structure and content relevance
Every page that you publish is HTML (regardless of the language such as PHP or ASP that you used to develop) with some additional styles and scripts that tell the browser as to how the content is rendered or behaved.
The technical structure of the HTML page and its compliance to certain standards is supposed to be a factor in ranking your page. You can check the compliance of your web page using the free online W3C Markup validation tool. In addition to the validity of your HTML, the overall structure of the page (in terms of various tag usages, defining sections of the content, tagging etc) need to be compatible across major web browser applications and also human friendly. Usually this aspect is taken care of by using quality themes or templates for your blog or website. I will not be talking about this topic in this post.
Quality and relevance of the content is determined by how well the page elements such as title, description, tags, various headers and sub-headers are interrelated. We will talk about these points in detail in a later post dealing with Keywords.
I hope that the second post in the SEO – Link Building Series was useful and simple enough to understand. Please provide your feedback as comments here and the next post will be on linking and link building