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How Important is PageRank in 2014?

PageRank relates to the number of links that point to your website and was developed by Google owners Larry Page and Sergey Brin. It is one part of the complex algorithms that Google uses to rank your site in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and is known as the oldest and most famous. As Google does not publish full details of how the algorithms work, even when providing updates, understanding PageRank is something of a mystic art. But you can get to grips with it and take steps to improve your situation.

When looking at PageRank, Google does not simply count the number of links that direct to your website from inside and outside sources (known as backlinks), but also takes into account the quality. This is an important factor to remember. In the early days of internet search engines PageRank was effectively the only metric for determining ranking on SERPs – now it is just part of the puzzle.

For current website owners, PageRank means they have to take steps to build a backlink profile of reputable, quality links. In the past it was acceptable to simply pay for links on all sorts of dubious sites (that also had paid-for links from dozens if not hundreds of other companies). And this would help improve rankings. This is no longer the case.

An upgrade at the end of last year demonstrated that Google continues to value the number of links, but within the bigger scheme of things. Quality of links remains vital, so black hat techniques must be avoided. In fact, it is likely that sites will be penalised for dodgy inbound links.

Some of the best techniques for improving PageRank are:

  • Guests posts on reputable blogs/sites
  • Articles on news providers’ websites
  • Landing pages for long-tail keywords
  • Presence on social and professional networking sites

And factors such as bounce rate, page loading speed, website traffic and regular new content also influence your SERPs listing as part of the overall Google algorithm assessment. There are more than 200 ranking factors that Google uses, so performing well in one or two alone will not drastically improve your ranking – you should attempt to do well in as many of the known factors as possible in order to gain your website a strong position in the SERPs. You must also regularly assess and update your site to ensure it stays in-tune with the latest Google updates and continues to perform well – a few new algorithm additions and you could fall off the page if your site has been neglected.

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