The online community of webmasters has been misled on the Google page rank update discussion yet again. It was previously speculated that there would be no further updates to Google’s Page Rank before the dawning of the new year. However, this morning rumors have begun to circulate as the Google Page Ranks have shown a notable update in the toolbar data through a variety of tools and plugins.

The head of Google’s Webspam team, Matt Cutts, had said earlier this year that it was far from plausible that Google would be updating the system anytime before the coming of 2014. He is said to have made this clear after reports of the data stream being hailed as a broken aspect abounded. Google’s Page Rank system is widely known to generally push information out to the tools displaying the metric.

Despite the seemingly updated data, there are numerous questions flying around about the reliability of the data. So many webmasters have criticized due to the failure to see any significant change received to their site. The lack of any alterations to Page Rank scores is heating up the conjecture that the data utilized could be as dated as September of the past year. A vast number of domainers that had previously bought domains with a view have been dropped in order to employ the former toolbar Page Rank indicators.

What is the background of the update?

It is widely known that the last Toolbar Page Rank update was more than ten months ago. Some were even quoted with statements implying the death of Toolbar Page Rank. However, this morning the big surprise has been quite the opposite.

A Google Page Rank is the basic algorithm employed by Google’s web search engine that ranks listed websites in search engine results. It is simply a method of measuring the significance of various website pages. Google implies that Page Rank is operated by counting the number and quality of links to a page in order to roughly estimate the importance of each site. This is based on the assumption that more valuable sites are likely to receive a higher number of links from other websites.

Page Rank is not only the algorithm utilized by Google for search engine results, but was also the very first used by the company and perhaps the best known. With the automated web spider called Googlebot, the leading search engine meticulously counts links and gathers data from web pages. The Page Rank algorithm has come under fire due to its vulnerability to possible manipulation. Research has been conducted to better identify falsely influenced Page Rank rankings.

What should you do if your page rank has gone down since the last update?

If your website’s Page Rank has decreased after the last update, it is extremely important that you take the time to assess the reasoning for the decline. Whether it is due to what Google deems as poor thin content or there is a surplus of paid links leading to your website, it is crucial that you and your site begin the process of evaluating these drops.

In order to increase the page rank of a website, you absolutely must follow the quality guidelines of Google and begin building some quality backlinks. The only other feasible solution to the predicament of dropped page rank is to increase the quality of your website’s content. This however is not always the issue which makes improved backlinking vital.

Should we be using Page Rank as a quality metric?

Many people have openly criticized the Page Rank system when it comes to gauging the quality of websites. It is often said to be a poor indicator of quality. Through third party domain and page level metrics, most SEOs have stopped purchasing dropped domains with Page Rank and simply begun re-launching them as basic link hosts. This is a fairly trustworthy indicator for Google’s trust in a domain.

The metrics are used only as a guide to evaluate such aspects as content, user experience, user engagement, and relevance. In terms of content, the assessment can seem rather subjective. In relation to Panda, Google has published the guidelines clearly. There are even Google human website rater documents available to those who may be struggling with the concept of quality content. It is imperative to recognize whether your content is themed around particular topics or not. Grammar and spelling are also major signs of the editorial process that Google looks out for.

User experience and user engagement are also extremely critical. User experience displays whether the overall user experience is poor. Google can decipher if visitors will continue to go to a site based on this. The two main aspects to speculate are irrelevant sidebars and heavy advertising. With heavy advertising, you tend to turn off users and will be labeled as a negative ranking. Irrelevant sidebar links typically point to the selling of links by a site owner. User engagement is an incredible quality indicator. It portrays whether or not people find value in the content of the site owner and writers.

Relevance is undoubtedly the most important of all signals. By asking if a site is topically relevant and related to the industry in question, you can gain a quick perspective.

Google Updated Page Rank, What Does it Mean For SEO’s

Although many people tend to think that ranking factors change drastically from one year to the next, that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, the same factors that were though to contribute to page rank a couple of years ago still apply in 2013 such as links and page authority. Here’s a look at some of the most important factors as determined by authority sites like Moz, Search Metrics and Netmark.

Page Authority

Page authority, according to Moz, is the highest correlating factor when it comes to page rank. Page authority is gained when other high quality sites link to and reference your content. So what does that mean? You need to create amazing content that provides a lot of value to the end user.
SEO-Moz-2013-Ranking-Factors-Pie-Chart

Links

The number of links to your site is also a key factor. Google looks at the number of domains that link to a particular page on your site, the number of domains that link to your domain and the relevance of the page that links to your page or site. In order to get the most value out of backlinks, they should come from authoritative sites with content that is relevant to your own.

Social Signals

The relevance of social signals is still being debated by SEO experts, but the data shows that there is a significant correlation between the number and quality of social signals and page rank. Google+ 1s are thought to be given more weight than Facebook likes, but both along with signals from Pinterest and Twitter can help improve a site’s visibility in the search engines.

Anchor Text

Although Google has recently announced that it is cracking down on over-optimized anchor text, a few weeks after the Penguin 2.0 update, data still showed that anchor text plays an important role. Both exact match and partial match anchor text were highly correlated to rank within content.

SEO-Moz-2013-Ranking-Factors-Bar-Graph

 

Domain Name

As with anchor text, domain names there were optimized with exact match or partial match keywords still seem to rank higher than sites that do not employ this technique.

Keywords

Keywords also remain important, especially within the title tags, Meta description, body and H1 tags. Keep in mind that keywords should only be used sparingly, in a natural way. Don’t force keywords into your content or anywhere else on the page.

The takeaway from all this is that Google is focusing on the experience for the end user and whatever makes that experience better will improve rank. Sites should move away from more traditional means of ranking like optimizing anchor text and using exact match domains and more toward improving the experience for the user. This involves authorship for transparency when it comes to content creation, structured data and social signals from users to indicate the relevance and usefulness of content. If you keep the end user in mind when designing your site and creating your content, then you should have no problem ranking well and avoiding Google penalties. For additional information on SEO Moz 2013 ranking factors please click here.

 

 

What You Need to Know About 2013 Ranking Factors