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Search Engine Rank: Google Page Rank Misconceptions - 2

Improved search engine rank is difficult enough to obtain without you having to trawl through all that has been written about Google Page Rank in order to find the truth. There are many misconceptions about Page Rank, and Part 2 of this article dispels the most common of them, the first being that Yahoo and MSN have their own version. In fact this is not so. Yahoo had a beta version of a ‘Web Rank’ visible for a while, ranking complete websites, but it is now offline. MSN has no equivalent as far I can ascertain. The term ‘PageRank’ is a trade mark of Google, which is why I refer to it as Page Rank and not PageRank.

A small difference, but a significant one. If you are one of those that believe that the more links you can get to your website the better, then you are wrong. When Google started the Page Rank frenzy by putting that little green bar on their toolbar, they didn’t realize the consequences of what they were doing. People fought to get as many links to their website as possible, irrespective of the nature of the websites to which they were linking. That is misconception Number 2.

You do not link to websites, you link to web pages, or should I say, you get links back from web pages, not websites. It is, after all, the link back that counts isn’t it? The link away from your site doesn’t count. Wrong! Misconception Number 3. The link to your web page counts no more than the link away from your web page. In fact, it could count less. You could lose out in the reciprocal linking stakes if your web page is worth more than the other person’s. Let’s dispel that misconception right now. When you receive a link from a web page (not web site) you get a proportion of the Google Page Rank of that web page that depends on the total number of links leaving that page. When you provide a link to another web page, you give away a proportion of your Page Rank that depends on the number of other links leaving your web page. The Page Rank of the website you get a link from is irrelevant, since that is generally the rank of the Home Page.

You will likely find that all these great links you think you have from PR 7 or 8 websites are from a links page that has a PR of ZERO! So you get zilch for the deal. If you are providing them with a link from a page on your site even of PR 1, then you lose! Most people fail to understand that. No incoming link can have a negative effect on your PR. It can have a zero effect, but not negative. However, if you have an incoming link with zero effect, and an outgoing reciprocal link with a positive effect to the target page, then you will effectively lose PR through the deal. Every web page starts with a PR of 1, and so has that single PR to share amongst other pages to which it is linked. The more incoming links it has, the higher PR it can have to share out. If your page has a PR of 4 and has three links leaving it, each gets twice the number of PR votes than if 6 links leave it. Your page with a PR of 4 has to get a similar number of PR votes incoming as it gives away to retain its PR. In simple terms, if your PR 4 page is getting links from a PR 8 page with 20 links leaving it, you lose out big time! It’s simple maths.

No page ever gives away all of its PR. There is a factor in Google’s calculation that reduces this to below 100% of the total PR of any page. However, that is roughly how it works. You don’t get a proportion of the whole website ranking; you only get part of the ranking of the page on which your link is placed. Since most ‘Links Pages’ tend to be full of other outgoing links, then you won’t get much, and will likely get zero. That is why automated reciprocal linking software is often a waste of time. If you want to make the best of linking arrangements, then agree with the other webmaster that you will provide each other with a link from equally ranked pages. That way both of you will gain, and neither loses. Some software allows you to make these arrangements. Another misconception is that only links from external web pages count.

In fact, links between your own web pages can be arranged to provide one page with most of the page rank available. Every page has a start PR of 1, so the more pages you have on your site then the more PR you have to play with and distribute to pages on your website of your choice. Search engine rank can be improved by intelligent use of links, both external and internal, but Google Page Rank does not have the profound effect on your search engine listing that many have led you to believe. Good onsite SEO usually wins so keep that in mind when designing your website.


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