PageRank and Google’s 200 Ranking Signals

Google’s PageRank rating is a huge obsession for many SEO professionals, and yet, it is not nearly the most important factor in determining a page or site’s ranking in the Google index. There is a lot of great information about the how pages are ranked in this video on the Google Webmaster Help YouTube channel. In fact, Google uses over 200 different signals to rank pages.

PageRank is one of the more important among these, but it is still only one of many, and you shouldn’t pay disproportionate attention to it. Because PageRank is one of the only metrics of a page’s ranking which Google actually releases publically, it receives a lot of attention. Unfortunately, we do not know exactly what these other 200 factors are, or how they are weighted. We do know a couple of specifics on the features – things like links, position on the page, page loading speed, and keyword concentration, among others.

In the video, Google’s Matt Cutts describes how these factors are blended and weighted as the “special sauce” that Google uses to generate their search results. Google keeps this a secret in order to prevent spammers form gaming the system. Google does not want to give away the specifics of what they think makes a good site, but they have consistently said that a site with high quality content will rank well, and that you shouldn’t focus on SEO. Google is, perhaps, a bit biased in this as they will feel like any attempts to make a page rank better is gaming the system, but that is not to say that you shouldn’t believe them when they say that good pages will rank well.

When you are designing your site, just keep in mind that it should adhere to good web design standards, and that this is all that you can really do to try to get your page ranked well. There are some pretty safe theories about how to optimize keywords and links, but if you try too hard to get your site ranked well and use illegitimate techniques, you may get your site banned. The best way to get a page ranked well is simply to make it a good page.

Dan Petrovic, the managing director of DEJAN, is Australia’s best-known name in the field of search engine optimisation. Dan is a web author, innovator and a highly regarded search industry event speaker.

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