Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Archive for the PageRank Category

How Many Incoming Links Do I Really Have?

Link Popularity Is an Important Ranking Factor

Link popularity — the number and quality of inbound links to your site is a critical ranking factor. I estimate it counts for 40-50% of where you rank on Google. While link quality outweighs link counts, many of our clients still like to know how their link counts are doing.

Moz and Majestic

Your link count is one of the link-related ranking factors at Google.

We track client inbound link counts from both Moz and Majestic because there are different ways to “count” links that results in occasionally large differences in link counts between them.

Link age may be a consideration: older links may count less than fresher links. Link weight is also important: the weight of a link is related to the web authority of the linking page so that links from more authoritative pages count significantly more heavily in your favor than links from lesser sources.

Link trend chartMoz tends to track high value links while Majestic tends to dig deeper and track many lower quality links. Moz tends also to have fewer false positives. Both constantly refine their link counting algorithms, resulting in occasional dramatic changes in reported link counts.

Links versus Domain LinksIn our monthly reporting to clients, we rely on the Moz link counts. But we track both and periodically report to clients about both of them, as well as counts of how many other websites are linking. Some websites (domains) may link to you from multiple pages, resulting in a difference between total links and linking domains. We also report on MozRank and Domain Authority.

MozRank

Moz logoMozRank is a link popularity score that weighs the number of incoming links to a given web page (or a given website for Domain MozRank) but modifies that with a quality score for those inbound links. It’s designed to approximate Google’s PageRank score which is an important ranking factor at Google, and is on a logarithmic 0-10 scale like Google’s PageRank.  While Google used to display an approximate PageRank for web pages, they stopped doing that around 2014. MozRank is the closest approximation of that we’ve found.

Domain Authority

Domain Authority by MozDomain Authority is another metric from the folks at Moz to measure the strength of a website in terms of its likelihood to rank prominently in web search results. On a logarithmic 0-100 scale, it’s based on a number of more elementary metrics including link counts, linking domains, link quality, MozRank, and more. It’s being continuously tweaked via machine learning against actual Google search results

If you’d like to know more or have us track your own link popularity, just reach out anytime.

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Google PageRank – Why Isn’t It Updated More Often?

Focus less on Google's displayed PageRank.Since link popularity is such a heavy influence on search rankings, especially in Google, many people rely on the “display PageRank” that Google provides in the Google Toolbar. But anyone who watches that knows that it usually goes for many, many months without being updated. Why is that?

Matt Cutts, “The Google Guy”, answered just that question in a video. Basically, the message is “Don’t perseverate so much on your PageRank.” Matt suggests that your time is better spent focusing on things like user experience, page speed, content, and so forth.

See the Google position on PageRank here.

Top 10 SEO Myths

Almost every time we speak with a new potential client we find they’ve been told something about SEO that’s either an exaggeration or downright false. In a recent issue of .Net Magazine, Mark Buckingham, owner of an SEO company in south-west London called NetSeek, wrote about his top ten favorite SEO myths. Have you heard any of these? Let us know in comments, below.

1. Satisfaction guaranteed

There is no such thing as guaranteed organic rankings. Distrust anyone who promises otherwise. There are about 200 factors in the Google ranking algorithm, and no one can control all of them. Most people who “guarantee” top rankings only do so for long-tail searches that get very little search traffic — phrases like “podiatry malpractice lawyer on Main Street in Chatham”.

2. High Google PageRank = high rankings

Google PageRank is one of the 200 or so ranking factors in Google. It’s at best a fair indicator of a page’s link popularity, and it may be weighted more heavily than many of the other factors, but it’s not uncommon for a web page with a lower PageRank to rank higher in search results than a page with a higher PageRank. It’s a visible indicator of what Google thinks of your page, but again it’s only one of many ranking factors.

3. Endorsed by Google

Any company that says they’re “endorsed”, “approved” or “certified” by Google is probably a fraud. Google has a certification for Google Analytics and Google AdWords (the PPC ads), but Google has no stamp of approval for any SEO company .

4. The meta keyword tag matters

I heard this one as recently as last week. Mark quotes Google’s Matt Cutts to totally debunk that one. Google considers the meta keyword tag to be a waste of time. We typically use it, only because it may be used by some smaller search engines, and because it’s so quick and easy to do. But we never agonize over what to put in there — as Matt says, that’s just a waste of time.

5. You can cheat your way to the top

This reminds me of an old database client of mine who once asked if I would help him send out spam. (It should go without saying that I strongly declined.) Cheating (considered “black hat SEO”) is always a bad idea. Even if it works once in awhile, as soon as the search engines find you out (or when a competitor rats you out) you risk being banned from the search engine results with disastrous bottom line results. This happened to JC Penney recently and to both Ricoh and BMW before that.

6. Cram those keywords in

There’s no magic number of keywords needed to get a high ranking. You need to use the keywords, of course, but using them too often creates what we call “overredundancy”. Forcing your keywords into a web page almost always destroys the page’s power to influence the person reading it and encourage them to want to buy what you’re selling. Pay attention to your keywords, and use them on the page, but make sure you’re always writing for your visitor, not for the search engines.

7. Spending on Google AdWords boosts your rankings

Google has repeatedly denied any connection  between participating in AdWords and organic rankings. SEO experts agree. There is some research showing that if you show up in both the PPC ads and in the organic results, that boosts the likelihood of the searcher clicking on one of your listings. The organic listing super-validates your PPC ad, increasing the likelihood of a click on one or the other. But having a PPC ad has no impact on where you rank in the organic results.

8. Landing pages

The concept of a “landing page” is relevant only to PPC. Almost any page on your website can show up in the organic listings. Don’t assume that people will always enter your site through the front door, for example. In SEO, any page on your site can be a “landing page”.

9. Set it and forget it

It’s true that once your pages are well-optimized there’s little or no need to constantly tweak, change, or “freshen” them up. However you can’t just forget your SEO as soon as you get great rankings. An ongoing stream of inbound links may be important to maintain your rankings, and if those links aren’t happening by themselves it may require some level of continued effort. A blog is a great way to add new content on a regular basis. But you also need to monitor your rankings. There’s no guarantee your great rankings will be permanent, especially if your website undergoes even a minor redesign or your competitors become more aggressive in their social presence and link building. At least keep an eye on your rankings so you can respond if they begin to fall.

10. Rankings are your goal

Content is what converts visitors to customers.Rankings aren’t everything. High rankings are great, but you’re not in business to get high rankings. The bottom line needs to be your bottom line. Do those rankings result in visitors? Do those visitors convert into paying customers? SEO can get more people to your website, but it’s the job of your website to convince them they want to do business with you and with no one else. You need great content that’s effective in closing the sale. All the rankings in the world can’t make up for a poor user experience on your website.

Need help with your web site’s rankings? Rank Magic can help.

8 Popular SEO Myths

SEO MythsNoted SEO expert Jill Whalen recently listed eight of the most widely believed myths about Search Engine Optimization that she’s heard and seen bandied about in SEO articles, at SEO conferences, in SEO blogs and on SEO forums. Below are the quick answers to these myths; Jill’s article expands on these and I recommend you read her comments for the full explanations.

  1. You need special search engine landing pages.
    Nope! Landing pages make sense for PPC campaigns, but not for SEO.
  2. You need to optimize for just one keyword phrase per page.
    That’s a waste of a good page. Why optimize for only one keyword when you can optimize for three? Or perhaps as many as five?
  3. You can’t use tables in your HTML code.
    This is just wrong. It’s always been wrong.
  4. You must use text links, not image links.
    Not necessary. Just use the keyword-rich text you would have used in text links in the alt tags of your link images.
  5. You can’t use Flash on your website.
    Not true. Avoid an all-flash website where links to your content pages are part of the flash, and don’t put important content in the flash. But flash elements on a normal web site are fine.
  6. Google’s link: operator tells you all the links that Google knows about.
    No, no, and double no. Google shows very few of the links it knows about, and often shows none at all. Google itself suggests using Yahoo Site Explorer to get a reasonably comprehensive list of links.
  7. Toolbar PageRank = Real PageRank.
    The PageRank displayed in the Google Toolbar may be as much as nine months out of date, and it’s a gross approximation at best.
  8. Google or other organizations can certify SEO companies or declare them the Best or Top SEO in the world.
    Despite what some SEO companies would like you to believe, there is no such thing as an SEO certification.

Give Your SEO Campaign Time

SEO takes time.A few words of wisdom from the ePower Marketing blog.

Believe me; we understand you need proof that the budget you got approved for a Search Engine Optimization program is or will deliver results, especially in these economic times. However, that is not done with a snap of the fingers. Search Engine Optimization is an ever changing, interactive field, and when an SEO campaign begins, it takes time to really take effect for a Web site.

We find that, starting from scratch with keyword research, it usually takes at least three months to see measurable results in all of the search engines.