Till November 2013 most SEO gurus claimed PageRank was dead and irrelevant. However, everything changed in December 2013, when Google made changes to PageRank. Before we get into the importance and relevance of PageRank, it is necessary you understand what PageRank really is.
What is PageRank?
Google uses about 200 metrics in its algorithm to rank websites on search engine page results (SERPs), and PageRank is one of those metrics. This metric looks at the number of backlinks that a website has. It is one of the oldest ranking metrics.
Previously, the sites with more backlinks were ranked higher than sites with few links pointing back. As a result, websites went berserk trying to get as many backlinks as possible, even from sites that were not credible or did not have any relevance to the site.
The Change in PageRank
In December 2013, this metric was upgraded and it became clear that Google still gives PageRank a lot of importance. While there are several factors that determine page ranking in SERPs, PageRank is still important and necessary. This said, your site can still attain high ranking on SERPs even if it has a low PageRank. This is evidence to show that your SEO provider will have to take into account several factors to ensure high Google ranking besides PageRank.
PageRank is important for figuring out the original source of the content when there is a duplicate page; establishing crawl depth and priority of a website; and taking into account the initial results of a webpage before re-ranking it based on other criteria.
Increasing Your Site├óÔé¼Ôäós PageRank
Google made it clear in 2013 that the number of links point back to a site is still important. So, the only way to increase your website├óÔé¼Ôäós PageRank is to ensure you have more backlinks. However, Google also is paying attention to the quality of links. So using black hat methods to get backlinks is out. Instead you should be looking to write articles for well-known newspaper, blogging as guest blogger on credible blogs, using niche directories to list your site or even adding your site to a Wikipedia page.
The key is to use different ways to build links to your website, so that Google spiders do not view it as spam.
Factors Causing Decline in PageRank
As your site├óÔé¼Ôäós overall PR rank does have an effect on the SERPs, you should be aware of the factors that could result in a lowered PageRank score.
If the sites you are linking to are penalized for black hat tactics, you too would be penalized and this will lower your site├óÔé¼Ôäós PR.
PR often declines as Google figures out more about the content on your site. Initially, your site may have a high PageRank score, but as all the metrics in the indexing algorithm work, your score may lower slightly or significantly based on the end result of the algorithm. It is best to let your PR score stabilize over a period of time, so that you know exactly what the score is rather than getting excited initially and then disappointed after seeing your PR score tank.
If you use just one method to get backlinks, you could end up initially with a high PR score and see a decline in the score. This is because using just a single method to build links to your site is viewed as spam.
Even though you are focusing on the local market, you should have an online presence. Today, customers are finding products and services by checking local search engine results. So, if your business is not ranked high in these results, your business will suffer.
Here are some tips to boost your local SEO that will help you leave your competition behind and get more customers.
Optimize Your Website and Content
It is important to have high quality content, not just for search engines, but also for your website visitors. Keyword stuffing is no longer a good way to achieve high search engine ranking; plus your website visitors will not appreciate it. Begin by researching the right keywords. You want keywords that are relevant to your business, but do not have extreme competition. Look for keywords with medium competition. In other words, try and incorporate head terms and corresponding long tail keywords naturally into your content. If you have done research on your customer base, you should not have a problem identifying keywords that they tend to use when looking for a business similar to yours.
Make it a point to include the keyword and key-phrases in the meta title and meta tag description. This also holds true for any image you have added onto your site.
Since you are targeting local customers, your Contact Us page is one of the most important webpages. Mention the name of your business, the address, primary phone number and go sitemap to let local search engines access your website more easily.
Get Listed on Google Places and Local Google+ Pages
Google Places display information on Google search and Google Maps, so that your business can be found more easily by prospective customers. As a result, your customers get access to vital information, such as the address of your business, opening hours and contact details.
Local Google+ facilitates communication between you and your customers and helps your business get more exposure and credibility. When you respond to customer reviews and upload updates to your customers, it opens a two-way communication channel, thereby personalizing the contact you have with your customers.
Get Local Citations
Local citations are extremely important for local search engine rankings. You can opt for structured citations by going in for listing sites, such as yelp.com, yellowpages.com and superpages.com; or unstructured situations, such as blogs, event listing websites, newspaper sites and job sites. Both types of citations are crucial for local search rankings.
Request Customers for Real Reviews
When you do business with a customer, ask them politely to leave a review on your Local Google + page, Yelp page, Facebook page or Superpages page. Make sure you are given multiple options to your customers, but get just one review, so that they are not tempted to copy and paste the review across multiple sites. Remember, the key is to get genuine reviews, be it positive or negative. Make sure you take time to respond to the review and this will boost your credibility.
Off Page SEO
You also need to focus on optimizing your business beyond the website. This will help to maximize the performance of your website in local search engines for targeted keywords. Link building is the way forward. You can do off page SEO by creating interactive and interesting social media profiles, blogging as a guest blogger on credible and authority sites, forum posting and directory listing.
When you are trying to get back links, make sure they are from authority sites, as this will help boost your credibility as well as local search engine rankings.