During a conversation with a prospective client this week, I was in the usual position of having to explain the value of SEO to their business while not boring them to tears. The client certainly wished to be educated on the merits of SEO, but they simply didn’t wish to concern themselves with the practices. My solution was to focus on giving them a brief explanation of PageRank, and that is also the focus here.
SEO and the Web Now Unavoidable
Nowadays, business owners inexperienced in technology and SEO have to develop even a modest online presence. Typically, these owners will pay for a basic website and add business information to public directories. The web is no longer a luxury for small businesses, but rather it is a necessity. However, it does go without saying that some businesses, like modest corner shops and others, wouldn’t benefit from SEO.
No Complexities Here
Focusing on businesses that would benefit from SEO and developing their web presence, I am going to outline precisely why they need to at least know about PageRank. In an effort to keep this introductory guide as accessible as possible, I am going to refrain from getting overly complex – no matter how much I might want to! (Here is a link to an amazing white paper that goes to very complex depths on PageRank).
What are Backlinks?
The simplest way to get started is by providing you with a PageRank definition. In case you don’t know, PageRank is a search engine algorithm that is exclusive to Google. Basically, this algorithm determines the position of your website in search results by evaluating the numbers of reputable links back to your website from others – these links are known as backlinks.
Google PageRank Definition
PageRank is named after one of the two founding fathers of Google, Larry Page. Development on the groundbreaking algorithm started back in 1996 at Stanford University before later being unveiled in a 1998 research paper. Here is the definition that Google gives for the algorithm:
‘PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.’
The Impact on SEO
The simplest route to developing SEO success for your website is to improve its PageRank score. You don’t need to settle for complex but vague lists of critical SEO actions that you need to undertake in 2014 – the web is already polluted with them. By focusing on one core task, you have the potential to improve your own SEO fortunes without overspending on lacklustre consulting fees.
Obtain Backlinks through Content Marketing
As stated above, the most effective way of improving your PageRank is to obtain backlinks from reputable websites. Now, when I refer to reputable websites, I am talking about active domains that provide engaging content. The organic strategy would be to provide lots of helpful information on your business field and hope that websites start linking their users to your site.
Take an Active Approach
The alternative to taking the organic approach is to be active in obtaining backlinks. You can achieve this by engaging in content marketing, whereby you produce informative articles on key topics in your field, and provide related websites with high-quality articles, guides and blogs that also contain links back to your website.
Patience is Required
The only thing that is difficult about this strategy is remaining patient, as you will need to spend time performing research to find suitable websites in your field before entering in to communication to arrange the publication of your content. Then you just need to write the content – don’t forget the link. Content marketing takes time but it is the only dependable strategy for long-term success.
DO NOT PAY for Backlinks
Before I draw this to a close, I need to warn you about paying for backlinks and the right to publish blog articles. To summarise, Google will penalise your website heavily if you are caught paying for backlinks. This will set your site back to less than zero and have a catastrophic impact on the web presence of your business. There are no shortcuts and anybody telling you otherwise is flat-out lying to you – don’t fall for their sweet nothings. (Photo credit to Mark Kens)
By Mike Porter