Google also states: "Important,high-qualitysites receive a higher PageRank, which Google rememberseach time itconducts a search. Of course, important pages mean nothingto you ifthey don't match your query. So, Google combines PageRankwithsophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that arebothimportant and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyondthenumber of times a term appears on a page and examines all aspectsofthe page's content (and the content of the pages linking to it)todetermine if it's a good match for your query."
Thepurposeof this article is to document the pervasive myths, correct andclarifythe definition by Google, correct the inaccurate PageRankinformationvisible on many Forums, and the unwarranted obsessivenature that manyfolks have about PageRank. In essence, PageRank doesnot work the wayyou might think after reading the Google page.
[b]Linking to other sites using PR (PageRank) as the determining factorand or any factor in your decision
This is a false assumption. Don't waste your time using the Google Toolbar. PR has nothing to dowith where your site is listed in a given search. Want some proof?Drill down to some of this sites Webmaster Directorypageswhich opens in a new window, extract a few keywords and search.In somecases this site is in the top 5 listings and my page is PR2.Still notconvinced? Fasten your hard disk. Run a search for "freewebmastertools" and you will see that this site is currently listed inthe top 6and the PR for my home page is only 6.
Reciprocal linking and linking guidelines
Youshould link to another site because it provides qualitycontentcomplementary to your own, enhances and helps your visitors,propagatesyour "brand", and has the potential to provide both you andyour linkpartner with targeted traffic. I've been using this criteriafor anumber of months on this site with absolutely no regard to PR. Thenetresult is my Google traffic is up over 100% and so are my PageViewsandunique visitors. Our own Barter/Trade Links Forum has provided thousands of Webmasters with link partners, which enhances both parties targeted traffic.
Theirare no shortcuts or tricks to this procedure. You need to examinetheother site, reject "Link Farms", "Off-Site Link Services","TopSites",and any site who has a "links" page which does not branchfrom the siteshome page. What about "bad neighborhood" sites whichhave a gray PR bar?If you take my advice and spend the time to visitthe other site, youwill spot some of these "Spam" kings and rejectthem without the use ofthe Toolbar. If a few slip through, don'tworry. I have no evidence andneither do you that Google will ban yoursite for linking to anunrelated "Spam" site nor am I concerned becauseI spend the time toexamine the site using the criteria I mentioned.
What is the value of PageRank?
Google uses PR in it's Directory listings. The default listings in a given Category is initially sorted by PR. This Directory uses data from ODP (Open Directory Project)whichis also known as DMOZ. You can't determine the actual PR numberbut youcan view the PR bar and ballpark the number. I consider this PRsort oflimited value. Given the fact that most surfers don't drillthrough theDirectory to reach your site. On this site, only about 15%of the Googlereferrals originate from the Directory. Does Googleupdate these sortedPR listing? The evidence is inconclusive.
Want some proof to support the claim that PR may in fact never changein the Directory? My longtime friend, Ryan Adams, of ClickQuickfameused to have a fantastic site but because of time constraints, thesitehas not been updated or any page changed in over 1.5 years.ClickQuickis still listed as number 3inthe Google Directory with a PR6 and as one of his link partners, Icantell you that traffic from my old link on his home page hasexperienceda 400% reduction. Perhaps this is an isolated incidence asI have otherexamples where new sites move up in PR and eventuallyreach the sortedlist as not all sites are sorted by PR. My point isthat a higherlisting in the Google Directory because of your sites PRis still oflittle concern/value and you can and should improve yoursite for Googlewith new content, rather than obsessing over PR.
Have you ever wondered why the PR number is not available in theDirectory (even though the data is fetched) and why you mustusethe Google "Advanced Features" Toolbar, which tracks your surfinghabitsto obtain the PR number? I don't read minds but this procedureis amystery to me. Is this a marketing ploy to collect your surfinghabitsto enhance the advertising sales of Google? I don't think so,since sofew surfers actually use the Advanced Features Toolbar.Frankly, thesmall percent of folks who use this version of the Toolbarare SEO geeksand very teckie Webmasters. My own surveys of regularsurfers indicate90% of them never use the Advanced Features Toolbarand never use a PRvalue as a criteria on bookmarking the site andmaking it one of theirfavorite stops.
It'simportantto remember that everything Google does is secret and inconstant flux.No Webmaster (including me) or any SEO geek can tell youwith 100%certainty exactly the way PR or a SERP (Search Engine ResultsPage)work. I say this after spending over 100 hours in research tocreatethis article. PageRank is but one of perhaps 100 differentfactors whichGoogle may use to determine exactly where your listingwill appear in agiven search. That's all that matters, top 10-20placement in a search.It's best to view PR as a "very raw" metrix andmost importantly, anautomatic result of proper site construction,maintenance, and SEoptimization.
What I cantell you with absolutecertainty is to use common sense from a "userexperience" perspectiveand that sites should be built using threefactors in the exact order stated:
1. Appropriate Design including usability and advertising placement
2. Compelling content updated on a regular basis
3. Optimized for Search Engines and Directories
Forget PR, build your sites in this order and Google will reward you with targeted traffic.