March 07, 2005
Get Your Google Page Rank
If you have a blog or web site, and you're curious to know your Google Page Rank, try these two sites:
Both sites are helpful in different ways, and neither seems to be affiliated with Google. While the latter is good for returning a general GPR, I like GoogleRankings.com because it returns the Page Rank relative to various keywords. So you can run a number of queries to determine where your site is doing well, and where it might need a boost.
Disclaimer: I'm not a Google algorithm expert, so take from this what you will, as this is merely my general understanding of how this stuff works. Google's inner workings are constantly being tweaked.
Basically, Google's algorithm assigns each web site a Page Rank from 0-10, with 10 being best. In reading some of the search engine watch sites, exactly how Google arrives at the score seems to be a moving target. I wouldn't be surprised if this scale wasn't linear, as I suspect it's much more difficult to move from a "9" to a "10" than it is to move from a "1" to a "2".
After all, per the Google PankRank Calculator site, the 10's are the massively popular sites like Google and Yahoo!. Even usatoday.com ranks a "9", while nytimes.com and cnn.com only rank an "8". So I'm pretty darn satisfied with a "6". Some of the most popular blawgs seem to rank between 5 and 7 (although I only ran the query for a half dozen of them, so it's not statistically significant). Precious few got a 7, such as Bag and Baggage. Most of the well-known blawgs are at 5 or 6.
Some general rules of thumb seem to play out with Google SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for earning a higher Page Rank: Sites that update content regularly, and that are more heavily linked to (inbound links) from other sites generally receive a higher Page Rank.
So why are Google Page Ranks relevant? The raw score doesn't mean much by itself. When combined with a Google keyword or phrase search, in context, that's when the page rank makes a difference. For example, LawTech Guru is the number one result returned when searching for Jeff Beard or lawtech, but is nowhere in the top 1,000 results for the word "tomato" -- probably because I've never used "tomato" in a post before today. Now, the interesting thing will be to see if and how that tomato page rank changes within a week, since I've now changed the status quo by this post. (In scientific terms, I've changed the environment by the act of studying it.)
So Page Rank scores, by themselves, probably won't get you new business. But what they may get you, in the right context, is increased visibility in Google search results. But which results? Some of my highest rankings are from posts that have nothing to do with legal technology, at least not directly. I suspect those got there by others linking to them.
What's important to take away from this is that if you want your blog or web site to be found for various keyword or phrase searches, it's helpful to know where you're starting from, and which words you need to add to your content on a regular basis. To get a bigger boost, you'll want those pages to be linked to by other high-ranking sites, as that will help to elevate your ranking, and potentially, your online visibility. I can tell you firsthand that while I don't sell anything here, not even services, professional visibility is quite valuable.
Now with that said, don't get caught in the trap that you must be found on Google or other major search engines to be found online. Yes, it's very important, but it's not the whole enchilada. Again, I'll use this blog as an example. According to GoogleRankings.com, this site currently ranks as 29 to the keyword search for "legal technology" using lawtechguru.com as the URL pattern. That gets knocked down to 49 when using www.lawtechguru.com as the URL pattern. Which means that I'm not on the first two pages of Google results for legal technology. But you know what? Thanks to the collegiality of my fellow blawgers, I'm linked on many of their blogrolls and vice versa. Which means that when they get found via search engines and their sites are read, some of those readers will invariably stumble onto my blog -- it's how the blogosphere works.
So, when the dust and smoke clears, while Google Page Ranks are important to understand and leverage, they are only one piece of the overall solution for online marketing and visibility. Rather than an end, they are an important means to achieving an overall plan.