Tag Archives: SEO

Helping Clients Set Realistic SEO Goals

When a customer is ready to make an investment in SEO, it’s important to help them set realistic goals. All too often clients are under the misconception that, with a few strategically placed keywords, they will be in the #1 position on Google overnight. As SEOs, we know this isn’t the case.  Here are a few things we can do to help our customers understand SEO a little better.

  1. Let them know from the first conversation that SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. At LocalEdge, this is always a top priority. We want our customers to be prepared for success, but realistically prepared, so we always advise them right from the start that SEO is a long-term process that requires regular attention.
  2. Set realistic expectations. Do not promise a certain amount of website traffic or a particular position in the SERPs. Remind the customer that the goal is, of course, to get them ranking as high as possible (preferably in the first few positions on the first page of the search engines) but don’t promise #1. No one can make that promise and you are only creating problems for yourself if you do.
  3. Remind them that the internet is large and there are a lot of other businesses competing for the same keywords. Often, people who are new to internet marketing (or even new to having a website for their business) expect that the money will start rolling in as soon as they “set up shop”. It’s important to remind them that, just as that isn’t the case with a brick & mortar shop, it also isn’t the case online. There is no lottery to be won here. SEO takes time and dedication.

Sharing just these three brief reminders with your clients will go a long way in helping them set realistic goals. It will also help establish a balanced working relationship between you. Trust is imperative to SEO and nothing builds trust quite like honesty. Never be afraid to tell your clients the truth.

Leave a comment

Filed under Search Engine Optimization

Advanced SEO Keyword Selection

“The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

-Mark Twain

There’s an old adage in marketing that goes something like, “You don’t sell the bacon, you sell the sizzle.” The trouble is, that people looking for bacon aren’t googling “sizzle.” Most copywriting techniques were developed with the passive consumer in mind. The idea was to draw the attention & whet the appetite of a reader flipping through the pages of a magazine or newspaper.  With search, people are actively seeking particular information.

With a good chunk of traffic coming from search engines, having good copywriting alone doesn’t cut it anymore. This is why we have to take the time to research what words we will focus us.

Basically, you want your keywords to be relevant to your business, but don’t want a keyword to be too broad or too narrow.

•    Keywords that are too broad will be difficult to rank for or may result in a high bounce rate due to the site’s limited relevancy.

•    Keywords that are too narrow will not be searched for very often, and are unlikely to generate much traffic.

So, how do determine what the best keywords are for your campaign? Below, I have provided a sort of strategy guide to selecting the best keywords.

I.Assess the business

Learn industry terms and what the main focus of business is

Ask questions:
How you describe what type of business they are to a friend?
What separates them from other businesses in the same market?
What products or services do they specialize in?

Look at successful competitors:
What keywords do they seem to be focusing on?
What are they ranking high on?

Image

II. Brainstorming

After the above steps, start compiling a list of possible keywords. Don’t constrain yourself to industry terms. Be creative. Put yourself in the shoes of a customer. Sometimes, commonly used industry terms are not terms used by consumers in the same market.

As a rule of thumb, we usually require that each keyphrase consist of two to three separate words. The keyphrase should also represent one thing and be able to be used easily in a sentence without sounding forced or unnatural. For example heating and air conditioning although a common term, represents two concepts that should count as two separate keywords. Blind schools charitable giving was given to me as a keyword once, but this is difficult to use in a sentence.  There are some exceptions, however. The phrase Obstetrician/gynecologist, although two separate terms, is used so often as a single concept in our language that it could be considered a single keyphrase.

Here are some other general tips when brainstorming keyword ideas:

Category/Type of Business:

Keywords that act as general descriptions of the type of business often work well.   Avoid using anything too specific or too technical that an average person wouldn’t use.  Categories from the local listing pages can also

be a good clue to help develop keywords.

Ex: Roofing Contractor, Pizza Delivery, Tree Service, Emergency Plumber

Products:

If it is a particular product that they sell, this keyword phrase is best if it is a noun or an adjective and a noun.

Ex:  Women’s Clothing, Ceramic Tile, Skin Care Products, Chinese Takeout

Services:

For a service keyword, this phrase is best if it is a noun and a verb or a noun and a verb in noun form (verb + -tion OR verb + -ment = verb in noun form)

Ex:  Roof Repair, Bathroom Remodeling, Furnace Installation, Tire Alignment

Geo Modifiers:

Concentrate on what product and services you offer, and to what geographical areas or regions. Try and think like a searcher and ask yourself the following questions…If I was looking for this product and I lived in this region, what geo modifier would I use to get the best results.
It is a best practice to use a geo that you serve and operate in.

Ex: Pizza delivery, San Francisco; AC repair, San Jose CA.

You can also use the AdWords tool or Google Instant feature to get more ideas for keywords.   The AdWords tool is especially useful since it shows how often people are actually searching for a keyphrase in Google.

Once logged into the AdWords tool, you can click on the “Tools and Analysis” tab and “Keyword Tool”

Image

Here is what you will see:Image

For now, you can start by putting in individual keywords and clicking the search button. [NOTE: you can leave the geo-modification out during this process.] The results screen will show you the figures for that term, and underneath show a list of “keyword ideas”. Experiment with checking the box that reads “Only show ideas closely related to my search terms” to see what comes up.

On the right-hand side, you will see a button for columns. By default, this is set to “Global Monthly Searches”. This will show results for the entire planet. “Local” isn’t really local, but it does narrow the results to the United States (or another country if you select it).

Image

You will also see that it is set to sort by relevance. You may want to change this to sort by Global (or Local) monthly searches to see what the most popular terms are.

If I type in air conditioning with the above settings, this is what I will see:

Image

While you are doing this, check the boxes next to the keywords you like. After you go through the list, click “Download” and then “Selected”. Then pick “CSV for Excel”, and save it in that customer’s folder, repeat the process for any other keyword ideas you might have. You can combine all these spreadsheets into one list of keyword ideas.

Image

Image

Example of a Keyword List:
Image

III. Refine Your List

Once you have a big list of keywords from your brainstorming session, you can start the process of refining your list. You may want to start by eliminating those with a very small number of Local Monthly Searches.  Use your insight and knowledge of the industry to scrap keywords that might be way too broad, too narrow, or that aren’t really part of your customer’s business.

Next, copy your refined list back into the AdWords tool.

Before you click search, make sure you look at “Match Type” on the left hand side. By default, it is set to “broad”. This shows the results for variations of the term, synonyms, related terms and more. It is good for brainstorming keyword ideas, but isn’t really useful when refining your search. So uncheck “broad” and check “exact” and “phrase” instead. “Exact” will show only the results for that term as it is written, with no other words entered into the query. While “phrase” shows the results for that term as it is written, including other words entered into the query. This relates well to SEO strategies, and how we track rankings.

Image
If you look for air conditioning, heating and HVAC, you can see that the exact matches (in brackets) are quite different from the phrase matches (in quotes).  [Compare to broad matches as well to see how drastic the difference is].

Image
This gives you a good idea of how often people are searching for your keyword ideas, but it doesn’t tell you how many sites are trying to rank for those same keywords. The more competition you have, the more difficult it will be to rank for a specific search term.

There are two simple ways to gain insight into keyword competition:

In the keyword tool, under the “columns” button on the right side, you can select competition. This will give you a figure, high, medium or low. If you export this to CSV, it will give you an actual ratio, with 1.0 being the highest.

Image

Although this is convenient, the “competition” figure is actually based on how many advertisers are bidding for that keyword in AdWords. This relates to PPC (SEM), more so than SEO. Although there may be a rough correlation between competition for AdWords and organic competition in a SERP, we should take an extra step to see what the real competition landscape looks like.

This is as simple as going to Google, and searching for that keyword. Note the total results. If there are tens of millions or 100’s millions of results, that keyword may be too broad, and you may want a longer word or more descriptive one. [NOTE: in this case, you will want to use your location modifiers to see a real picture of the competition in a selected market].

Image

Less than a million in Buffalo, NY isn’t too bad, so you might want to add “air conditioning” to your list of suggestions. While you’re at it, you might note any direct competitors in the top 10 or 20 results.
You may find they pop up for other related keywords as well. In some cases, you may find entirely different competitors ranking well for closely related keyphrases. You can also use this method try to determine the best location to add as a geo-modifier as well.  (e.g. Is  “Western New York” better for a business that serves Niagara Falls, Buffalo & the Southern Tier, but NOT Rochester?).

IV. Consult with the Customer

Image
Once you have gone through the process of brainstorming and refining several times, you should be able to narrow your list of suggested keywords down to a a choice few. You may want to include a list of additional suggestions as well.  Now you can send the list of your suggestions to your customer. Be prepared to discuss why you suggested the keywords you chose and also be prepared to listen.

There are many nuances to each industry that you may not be aware of. For example, one customer of mine is a home builder. They have custom homes and home builder as keyphrases. However, custom home builder was unacceptable to them, since the term implied an architect designing every aspect of the house with the customer. Their system, by contrast, involved piecing together your “custom” house from a pre-set list of floor plans and options. Since SEO involves on-site copywriting, it is important not to misrepresent the services your customer provides by targeting the wrong keywords.

Other times, you may have a great set of keywords that describe the business in general, but the customer wants to focus on a specific service or product they offer. For example, one customer is an auto and truck accessory shop and repair center. There are dozens of keywords that could be used to describe that, but they wanted to focus on specific offerings, such as snow plows, upholstery, sunroofs and convertible tops. So you may have to go back through the whole process and look at best keywords related to those products.

So consulting with the customer and heeding their opinion is a critical part of the campaign. Sometimes they have suggestions that aren’t optimal. It’s your job to advise against keywords that might be too broad or too narrow.

The whole process of selecting the right keywords can be time consuming, with a lot of back and forth with the customer. After you have finalized your set of keywords with the customer, they still might come back and want to change them later for a variety of reasons. Picking the right keywords from the start will save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run.

 

- by Anand Perala

Leave a comment

Filed under Search Engine Optimization

Adwords & Link Juice & Widgets…Oh MY!

Navigating your way through the SEO process can sometimes be a bit tricky.  Whether you are a professional SEO analyst or a small business owner trying to bump up your rankings, the Search Engine Optimization terminology can sometimes sound like a different or strange language.  Where else can you encounter terms like link juice or Google Bowling?? I recently ran across a very helpful guide for the SEO community. It provides a glossary for all of the most common SEO terms.

http://www.seomoz.org/blog/smwc-and-other-essential-seo-jargon#A

On this link you will find out what black hat tactics are & why alt tags are so important. Use this glossary to guide you through the ever changing world of Search Engine Optimization.

By Tammi Priester

Leave a comment

Filed under Search Engine Optimization

How Does Site Usability Relate To SEO?

A large factor that is often overlooked in regards to Search Engine Optimization is site usability.  Site usability can be defined in many different ways…but simply put, it is basically the measure of how user-friendly your website is.

When a person is searching for something on the internet, they want the best possible sites to show up in relation to their search queries.  So, in order to make this happen, the search engines are looking for the “best” sites to show the user.  The first thing that search engines look for is obviously the most relevant sites related to the search (if you search for “Air Conditioner Repair Service”, you don’t want to find websites for pizza places showing up).  The next thing they will look to find is “Site Usability”, because they don’t want the first website that shows up on your search results page to be some janky website that you’re probably going to spend no more than 2 seconds on, and mostly likely end up leaving extremely frustrated.

Bad Site Usability

Bad Site Usability = Negative User Experience

A website is just like any other type of business.  You want to provide the best customer service possible, and keep people happy, and returning over and over again.  Think of it like a retail store…if you own a clothing store, customers want to find nice clothes, reasonable prices, get quality customer service, and leave with a smile on their face.  As a result of this, they’d probably tell everyone they knew of how excellent your store was, and what a great experience they had.  Now, if they came in, and found a crummy selection of clothes, with poor customer service, and outrageous prices, they’d most likely leave and never come back.  Consequently, they’d probably tell all of their friends and family about their awful experience, so you’d be losing out on those potential customers as well.

Good Site Usability

Good Site Usability = Positve User Experience

This same logic applies to a website.  If you have a website with good site usability, the viewer will be extremely happy, and most likely keep coming back there.  They will almost definitely refer people that they know to go to your site as well.  On the other hand, if your site is not very user-friendly, there’s a very good chance that the viewer will never come back again, and probably tell anyone they can how awful the site is, and to make sure that they never use it.

Now, of course the big question would be “what makes a website the best?”  Well, that’s a great question that always seems up for debate.  The definition of a good site may not always be the same to everyone.  However, SEOmoz defines  4 simple traits that the “best” websites generally have in common:

  1. Easy to use, navigate, and understand
  2. Provide direct, actionable information relevant to the query
  3. Professionally designed and accessible to modern browsers
  4. Deliver high quality, legitimate, credible content

If you add up all four of these traits, you get a quality user-friendly site, that will create a positive user experience, and make both the search engines, and the searcher happy.

I’ve come up with a few questions that you can ask yourself in order to achieve the above traits:

  1. Is my website crowded with images? Putting images onto a website is a great idea…it catches people’s attention, and generally provides a nice visual to go along with the information that is placed on that particular page. You can also add some Image Alt Tags into these images, and throw in some useful keywords.  However, crowding your site with a barrage of images is probably one of the worst things you can do in regards to site usability.  Now, if you’re a business that is selling products, it may benefit you to have a “Products” page that may be filled with the images of the particular products that you’re selling.  Other than that though, a page that’s crowed with images is just distracting, and does nothing more than confuse the viewer on where they need to go when navigating through the site.  Another negative to having a site loaded with images is that they can be very slow loading…especially to people with dial-up internet (yes these people still exist).  Overall, a site over-crowed with images adds up to a bad user experience.
  2. Is my homepage informative, and easy to navigate?  A homepage is a critical component to any website, because the majority of the time this will be the fist page that a viewer lands on.  The homepage of your website should simply be a bridge to guide a viewer to the various pages of your site.  People aren’t looking to sift through large portions of information, or scroll through endless amounts of photos in order to get to where they need to go.  Your homepage should be informative, but also be pretty direct, and to the point (you’ll have plenty of other pages on your site to load up with information).  Just some basic company info, services, some contact info, and easily obtainable links directing the viewer where they need to go will be just fine.  A nice navigation bar on either the top of the page, or the side of the page is usually the best setup for a good website.
  3. Is my website designed in flash?  Having a flash video, or two on your site can be a good idea.  Videos are always a good way to catch a viewer’s attention, and can be a good place for some very helpful information.  However, some people have this brilliant idea of designing their whole site in flash.  I don’t know if people think it’s going to look really fancy, and attract more people to their site, but in reality, it will do nothing more than send people running as far away as they can from your site, and never returning.  There are a couple things to consider if you wanted to create your site in flash.  First of all, search engines cannot read flash video…so, even if you had some very good information related to your business, it would not be picked up by the search engines.  Second, sites created with Flash are extremely slow loading, even on fast computers with high speed internet.  Each page takes time to load, and then generally moves very slowly even once they’re loaded.  Plus, they’re usually just a headache to navigate, and just a complete bad decision all together.
  4. Does my site contain useful information?  This seems like a really simple one, but you’d be surprised how many sites contain little to no useful info.  If you’re an air conditioning contractor for example, you should create pages, and come up with info related to what you do, and the services you perform.  You don’t need to create pages telling your entire life story, and you don’t need to include “spammy” amounts of keywords, just because you think it may push you up the search engines.  Both the search engines, and the viewers of your site can see right through this.  If people got to your site, they are probably looking for information regarding air conditioning repair, air conditioning installation, air conditioning maintenance, or something along those lines.  So, that is what your site should be about!
  5. What would I think if I was viewing my site?  This is the last question, and by far the biggest.  Put yourself in a viewers shoes for a minute.  Pretend that you had searched for something, and you came upon your site.  What would you think?  How long would you spend on the site?  How easy was it for you to find what you were looking for?  Would you ever come back to the site?  This is a huge thing to do…if you don’t like your site, there’s a 99% chance that a random viewer of the site will not like it either.

After reading all of this information, you should now know what it takes to make your website appealing to both people, and search engines, and overall help the optimization of your site.

By Paul Sardella

Leave a comment

Filed under Search Engine Optimization

Is your website slowing you down?

In case you missed it, Google has officially become a race. 

Yes, your ranking on Google is now directly related to how fast your site loads.

Jockeying for Google Position

Ok, that’s a bit of an overstatement.

A bit of background:

Last year, Google announced it would be including site speed as a factor in their search algorithms. On their official announcement, they stated that less than 1% of pages on the web would be affected by page speed. But ever since their recent update (Panda), SEOers across the web started to notice slow speeds affecting their rankings and have been scrambling to optimize their clients’ sites.

Keep in mind, it’s still only one part of their overall ranking algorithm. Either way, having a faster loading site not only will assist you in ranking well, but will also provide a better user experience. No one likes sitting around waiting for a webpage to load, and these days, people expect near-instantaneous results.

So what causes a website to be slow?

Most developer blogs out there point to excessive HTTP requests being the primary cause of slow webpages.  A request is what your web browser sends to a web server, which sends back a response.  For each component on a web page  (images, stylesheets, scripts, Flash, etc) there will be a separate request.  The more components you have, the more requests/responses there are between your browser and the web server, and the longer it will take to render a page.

Request/Response

There are other factors that affect the speed at which a page loads, such as the size of files and the distance to the web servers. There are various ways to reduce requests without sacrificing content. There are also a number of ways to address the other issues. Most of them require a fair amount of technical expertise, so it’s best to leave the actual changes to experienced web developers.

How can I see what’s making my website slow?

For starters, use Google’s  Page Speed assessment tool to see where you can make improvements. This simple tool  conveniently breaks down improvements by priority, with high priority changes being the simplest to implement and providing the most immediate results. To get a feel for it, I picked a site that I knew had issues with speed. Here is what the results page looked like:

As you can see there are a host of suggested changes, from optimizing images, to  deferred parsing of Javascript.

This is a good jumping off point, but don’t rely solely on page speed’s recommendation. I ran a test of a page that was voted “worst webpage ever” on numerous blogs. It’s a poorly coded site that is overloaded with images & sound, yet it somehow scored a 99 out of 100. So Page Speed is good at identifying certain specific problems, but leaves out many others.  There’s a number of other site speed assessment tools out there you can use for comparison.

Wait, what about all these recommendations?

Image optimization is probably the easiest change to implement with a good editing tool (e.g. Photoshop). The general idea here is to reduce file size so downloads happen quicker. Changing simple logos to 16 color GIF files greatly reduces their size, while other file-type changes may vary in size depending on the individual image ( JPG vs. PNG for example). You should also make it a habit of reducing the size of an image file to match the display size on the page. If you set your image to 100 x 100 on your page,  then the image tag shouldn’t point to a file that’s 500 x 500.

CSS Sprites and combined images are handy ways to reduce the number of requests a browser makes. If you have a number of custom buttons and icons on your page that use images, you can put all those images into one image file instead of several. Then use CSS Sprites to pick out which part of the image will be used on a particular element. For example, all the icons on the Yahoo! homepage come from a single GIF file that looks like this. They then use CSS code that basically instructs the browser to “crop out” the appropriate section of the image file for a particular icon on the page.

Minification isn’t something out of a Disney movie. No, minifying your code (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) is simply a matter of removing all the extra spaces, line breaks and indentation. This is another change intended to reduce file size as opposed to reducing the number of requests.  There are tools available that automate this for you, some within Google’s PageSpeed add-on. However, there is a drawback to this method, in that it makes the source code incredibly difficult to read for human eyes. Make sure you save a copy of the original un-minified code and make it available to those working on your page.

Caching is a widely used method of reducing requests and speeding up the browsing experience. You may have noticed that when you visit a website for the first time, it may take a while to load, but subsequent visits load much faster. What has happened is your browser stored a  local copy (the cache) of the webpage,  so it doesn’t have to request all the info and download all the files from the web server every time you type in the URL.  You can tell browsers to cache your page by use of expires headers, Etags and validators. These bits of code give a time frame for how often the browser needs to request new information from the site. You can also set different components to have different expiration dates. Here is  a more detailed explanation of web caching.

Structure Matters. According to Yahoo!, putting CSS stylesheets in the document HEAD section allows the page to render progressively. This ultimately means the user will see things like the navigation bar and images earlier while a page is loading. If CSS is put at the bottom, the user will stare at a blank white screen until the page is fully loaded. Another issue they identify is Javascript at the top of  a page prevents parallel downloads, so they recommend putting it at the bottom of the page or using a DEFER attribute.

To sum up, speed matters, not  just to search engine rankings, but to the overall user experience. Boosting your sites load time may require a fair amount of work and technical expertise, but it will be worth it if it brings you more visitors and more customers.  There are plenty of other ways to make your site faster as well. Fore more information, check out the links below:

Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Website

Optimizing Page Speed

Web Performance

by Anand Perala

Leave a comment

Filed under Search Engine Optimization

Is DMOZ D-umb?

The relevancy of DMOZ (the Open Directory Project) to high search engine ranking has been debated for years. Yet in recent times, its stature in the eyes of SEOs worldwide appears to have plummeted. We’ll take a look at what DMOZ is, why you should or shouldn’t submit your site to it, and what the future holds for this historic web presence.

What is DMOZ?

DMOZ started in the late 1990s as a place for organization of web sites all over the world. Its purpose was to have a cohesive grouping of important web sites, and to weed out the shady & shoddy ones. It is run by a large group of editors, whose sole job is to either accept sites to their listing by using a very specific set of guidelines, or reject and need not explain why. DMOZ is owned by AOL & Time Warner… so they are huge.

Many people still wonder if there is any true value in submitting their site to DMOZ. Google’s own directory is taken directly from the database found there. Google’s spiders crawl DMOZ and millions of other sites online to locate sites that they include in their organic rankings. Up until a few years ago, Google’s results would include the meta description from DMOZ and a link to the page within the directory. What percetange of weight they currently put behind a DMOZ ranking is unknown, however. It appears to be helpful, but cannot hurt you if you don’t get listed in DMOZ.

There are many free directories online which are exact clones of the directory on DMOZ. If your DMOZ listing is copied five hundred times, that would be an additional five hundred backlinks to your site. Sounds like a great plan, right? Not quite… a lot of these sites have low PageRank and simply mirror the listing in DMOZ, anchor text and all. Google has mentioned numerous times that although the total links pointing to your site are heavily considered when they rank sites, the quality of the links need to be good.

The general consensus in the blogging world is that DMOZ is past its prime, unorganized with dead links, and likely to ignore your submission, anyway. Rumors have persisted for years that they don’t have enough editors to comb through the plethora of sites being submitted, hence the wait for months or years for inclusion. And heaven forbid if you should dare ask a question of an editor… you’ll more than likely get a sardonic response…

The editors are akin to the kid who got his books dumped in high school by the jocks for no other reason than being different…

Now, twenty years later, that kid’s awkwardness turned into a “holier than thou” position at the ODP. The bullied has become the bully.

To Submit or Not To Submit – That’s a Good Question

So, should you submit your site to DMOZ? No. It doesn’t take much time to do, but there are better ways to spend your time in optimizing your site. Article submissions, press releases, Facebook and Twitter, natural linking amongst similar sites (i.e. they like your content and refer their visitors to you)… all of these are more time friendly and beneficial than getting on your knees and begging for friendship from the people on their thrones at DMOZ…

The Future of the ODP

There will be one, but its place in SEO relevancy will be even more muted than it is today. It will still have die-hard followers who swear by its importance. But we’re not in Kansas anymore, nor in 2000. The days of needing an existence with DMOZ are over.

By WK

1 Comment

Filed under Search Engine Optimization

PageRank, Not Just a Clever Name

At Stanford University Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed a research project for a new search engine that would be ordered by “link popularity”, where a page would rank higher as there are more links to it.  In 1998 Page and Brin published “The Anatomy of a Large- Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine”, the first paper about this project.  After the publication of this paper, they founded Google, Inc. and the search engine Google.  In this paper the utilization of PageRank, named after Larry Page, is first explained.  According to this paper PageRank “makes use of the link structure of the Web to calculate a quality ranking for each web page”.  

As described by Google:

“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.

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.  We have always taken a pragmatic approach to help improve search quality and create useful products, and our technology uses the collective intelligence of the web to determine a page’s importance.”

I Was Told There’d Be No Math on This SEO Blog

Page and Brin describe the probability that a random web surfer will visit a page as its PageRank. The   algorithm used to determine PageRank is:

PR(A) = (1-d) + d (PR(T1)/C(T1) + … + PR(Tn)/C(Tn))

Ok, let’s try to break this down a little…

PR(A) is the PageRank of page A

 d- is the damping factor which Page and Brin explain as “the probability at each page the ‘random surfer’ will get bored and request another random page. One important variation is to only add the damping factor d to a single page, or a group of pages. This allows for personalization and can make it nearly impossible to deliberately mislead the system in order to get a higher ranking.” This d factor is usually figured to be around .85.

T1- Tn are pages that link to page A

C –is the number of outbound links that a page has

… still not clear, right?

Basically, the  PageRank of a webpage  could best be understood as  the sum of the PageRanks of all pages linking to it, divided by the number of links on each of those pages -its outgoing links.

Inbound Links

According to the PageRank algorithm the more incoming links the better. There cannot be a negative effect from any incoming link, the worst it could do is have no effect at all.  In coming links can be looked upon as “votes” for a particular page.  The amount of PageRank that a page has to vote with is a little less than its own value.  A page does not lose PageRank value as it votes for other pages.  This value is shared equally with all the pages that it links to.  However, not all votes are created equal.  An incoming vote from a page with high PageRank is worth more than ones from pages with low PageRank.

Outbound Links

 As for the number of outgoing links of a page, the fewer the better.  For example if two pages with equal PageRank link to your page, one page with 5 outgoing links and the other with 10, your page will receive twice as much in PageRank from the page that has only 5 outgoing links. Outbound links can drain the total PageRank of a site. It is important to carefully choose which sites you link out to.  To counter act the depletion of PageRank, try to choose links that can be reciprocated.

While there are many factors that determine the ranking of Google’s search results, PageRank continues to be an important one.  For more information on PageRank visit the following sites.

http://infolab.stanford.edu/~backrub/google.html

http://www.webworkshop.net/pagerank.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank

http://www.markhorrell.com/seo/pagerank.html

 By: Janis Jagiello

3 Comments

Filed under Search Engine Optimization