“Why is my PageRank still at 0, and how can I improve it?”
This question came from a client two months after launching their brand new site meant to facilitate their shiny new content strategy. This question comes loaded with certain expectations of performance and simple solutions in the form of an action plan. First, I can absolutely understand how they’re feeling after the hype and build up launching a website, and excitement to get results. Which is another point I’d like to make with this post – setting client expectations before and after working on strategies and website projects, which I’ll come back to later.
To answer the initial question…
It’s nice that he’s keeping an eye on that kind of stuff, but PageRank is not really used as a measurement of success or comparison anymore. The use and importance of PageRank can get a little fuzzy. This metric simply measures the importance of a page (and domains) by volume of links directing to the page / domain. For this reason, it is very limited as a measurement of performance. Their current PR is 1/10. The only thing we really use PR for anymore is to monitor for fluctuations to identify potential impacts of links, monitor the health of your backlinks and algorithm updates.
There seems to be a million tools to report on PageRank, which are often inconsistent with each other. I would also ask him what tools he’s using to measure PageRank, it looks like they have a PR of 1. In addition to PageRank, we use a domain scoring formula, Domain Authority, which is Moz’s score for predicting rank potential and modeled after the PageRank algorithm, and allows us to see more of what this “score” entails. Instead of focusing too much on one metric or score, it’s a good idea to look at any sort of metrics, indicators, and predictive scores together and in context.
PR and DA are measurements to predict how well a website will rank in comparison to their competitors. We also use them to monitor for fluctuations in link volume and quality. First, it should be stated that it’s increasingly harder to progress in PR and DA “scores”. The average PR for a healthy, established website sits around a PR of 3. Some of the best and most popular websites have a PR of 5. Google doesn’t even have a PR of 10/10.
In a nutshell, PR and DA are influenced by links and site history. For a brand spanking new site, like this client’s, in order to build steam with their strategy, visibility, PR or DA, they needed a very proactive strategy with their content, link earning, and a little bit of time to prove themselves in the search landscape. Fortunately for my client, however, their parent brand lent them quite a bit of credibility and influence to leverage in this strategy.
Links are incredibly important, but it’s critical to build links of higher quality and relevancy to each page than to increase link volume. High quality links require high quality content. My client’s site needed to be worthy enough for their followers to share and for other sites to want to link to them. Quality of content and difficulty of promotion are inversely related. The higher quality their content, the easier it is for users to share and thus, earn links. Which brings me to user engagement and content value.
The key to increasing your PageRank and Domain Authority is content value?
In a way, yes. Creating content that has value and meaning is the only way for you to actually succeed in getting links back to your site. For example, this client was having difficulty getting users to engage with the content on their site, and aren’t willing to make any return visits. This tells me they’re missing the mark with content their target audience wants to consume.