The process of trying to get your web site to rank highly on
Google is not a complicated matter. It boils down to these
three things: Page Titles, PageRank and Page Reputation.
Sure, there may be over one hundred factors in Google's
algorithm. But you don't need to worry about that - just
focus on these three things. It's these basics that will win
the game every time.
Pay a lot of attention to the titles of the pages you are
trying to get ranked. don't target more than two or three
keyword phrases. Worry about the proximity and prominence of
the main keywords. By that, I mean put your more important
words closer to the beginning of the title, in the right
order, next to each other and make sure the target keywords
are a high percentage (but not 100%) of all the words in the
As an example, I recently moved from #2 to #1 on Google for
"wedding favors" for one of my web sites, and the only
change I made was to my title tag. I was sitting there one
day staring at all the titles of the Top 10 sites on Google.
(I do this a lot. Some guys like to watch football - I like
to watch Google. :-)
Anyway, I was thinking about the proximity of the major
keywords, and I decided to make a move. The change I made
was to swap the second and third phrase in the title so more
of the words "wedding favors" were closer to the start of
the title. Sure enough, about 48 hours later, I was #1. The
next day, it was back to #2, but then a few days later it
settled into #1 and has been there ever since.
PageRank has always been a core part of the Google
algorithm. And despite the rumors that you often hear to the
contrary, it still is. Indeed, it's one of their real
differentiators - it's patented and no one else can use it.
On other search engines, pure link popularity can carry the
day. But on Google, to rank for competitive search terms,
you need higher PageRank.
PageRank, as we discussed in Stomping the Search
Engines, is calculated and stored offline and applied as
part of the algorithm when searches are run. It used to be
that the PageRank of each page was updated about monthly,
but now I believe Google is moving towards more constant,
less global updates.
Of course, the Google Toolbar can drive you nuts,
particularly when it's not updated in a long time. But
before the forum theorists can convince me that it's wrong
or even deliberately misleading, someone would have to
convince me why Google would want to store an additional 8
billion pieces of information just to confuse us.
I think not. But regardless, it doesn't matter. The fact is,
you need higher PageRank, and the more the better. So don't
sweat the details as you work to develop quality links from
high PR sites.
As all Stompers know, Page Reputation refers to the keywords
contained in the incoming anchor text of the text links
pointing at your page. That is, Page Reputation is what the
other web pages say your web page is about. If you want your
site to rank for certain keywords, those words need to be in
the blue underlined part (the anchor text) of your incoming
That's all well and good, and fairly well known by now. But
here's something else you should know. In analyzing the
reputation of a page, Google considers what percentage of
all incoming text links contain those keywords. And the key
is how many of the links contain those keywords, not the
density of those keywords compared to all the other words
that are also in the links.
In other words, if a high percentage of all the incoming
links contain those keywords, that is good. And if there are
many other words contained in the links besides just those
keywords, that is not bad. You see, to Google, the
percentage of keywords in the backlinks is a ratio. The
numerator is the number of times the keywords appear, and
the denominator is not all the keywords that appear in
backlinks. The denominator is the number of backlinks.
That said, you want as many of your backlinks as possible to
contain your main targeted keywords. But itís ok to go after
your other keywords at the same time.
In other words, you wonít "dilute" your Page Reputation if
you include other words besides your keywords in the anchor
Important Final Thoughts:
One of the commonly misunderstood concepts in the
relationship between PageRank and Page Reputation, is that
there is none. By that, I mean two things. First, the links
that provide PageRank and the backlinks that provide Page
Repuation do not have to be the same links. And second,
to rank highly for competitive search terms, you do not have
to have a lot of links. You merely have to have PageRank and
Page Reputation (and of course, the third factor - good page
But you donít have to have a lot of links to have
either a high PR or a good Page Reputation. For example, to get
high PR, you could have a link from a high PR page. Or in a
more common example, it could be a page on a high PR site.
Here is an example of this. On Google, search (without
quotes) "florida dui lawyer". Notice that the #1 listing is
There are many other lawyer sites (and legal directories)
that have more links to their home pages. But the DUI lawyer
section of badjocks.com is a relatively high PR site (PR 7),
so that site section, linked off the home page is going to
be high PR as well.
If you look up the backlinks on Yahoo (Google does not
display backlinks very accurately anymore), you see that the
#2 site, richardessen.com, has 623 backlinks, but that the
#1 site, badjocks, has only 7 incoming links, and they are
all from the same site. But the #2 site is a PR 5 to the
badjock page with an expected PageRank of at least 6, given
that it is linked off the home page of a PR 7 site.
So there you have it. Of course, to finish the analysis,
itís worth noting that the other two main factors (title and
reputation) both support this result as well. The title of
the relevant badjocks page begins with Florida DUI Lawyers,
and according to an Optilink analysis,
the Page Reputation of that badjocks page is 100%
"florida dui lawyers" Again, that means that 100% of the
incoming links contain the words "florida dui lawyers".
As a result, badjocks is probably raking in AdSense revenue
for a competitive search phrase, with few other incoming
links, and beats out an actual Florida DUI lawyer with over
By the way, you may have noticed that there are three other high
PR sites that merely have a DUI lawyer section in the Google
Top 10: phpnuke.org, realstupidnews.com and caldiatech.com.
Of course, none of these sites are "relevant" for DUI
lawyers, but these sections on otherwise high PR sites are
Notice also that on Yahoo, richardessen.com, with its much
higher link popularity, ranks higher than all four of these
other non-lawyer sites. No surprise there.
When you hear all the advice to not get hung up on PageRank,
I agree. Don't get hung up on anything. But if you want to
rank higher on Google, forget the fine points and go back to the fundamentals. As they say, keep it simple.
Until next time,
Keep on Stompin'
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