PageRank: Does Google Think your Page is Hot?

Google PageRank is kind-of like rating a guy's (or girl's) hotness.  Except... it's a search engine rating your page's hotness - and if it doesn't have the right measurements, Google turns up its nose and doesn't try to play matchmaker between your site and searchers.

See, the main page of Freelance Writing Tips has a Google PageRank of 1.  (Hopefully by the time you're reading this, it'll have gone up, though!)  That means on a scale of 1 to 10, Google thinks my lil' punkin is only a little bit hot.  That's okay, though, because it's hotter than a lot of blogs - and it's a good start.

Why do I care if Google thinks my page is a hottie or not?

Because most people use Google.  And beauty is in the eye of the Googlebot.  And Google gives the hottest sites to searchers before they give the 'ugly' ones a chance.

So how do you get the right measurements - the ones that are attractive to Google? 

They sure don't sprout overnight - but this blog is slowly becoming an adult.  As it matures, I have to keep providing value to readers so it becomes more popular.

Google is drawn in by how popular a site is (I know - just like high school).

How can it tell? 

Backlinks.  One-way, beautiful backlinks.  A backlink is simply a link to your site from another site - and Google places more value on one-way links than reciprocal links.  That just means if I link to my favorite blog and they link back to me, Google can see that we're friends and figures we're just trying to help each other out.  If the popular guy likes me and I don't like him back, though, Google thinks I'm an even hotter commodity.

The hotter a page is (the higher its PageRank), the more Google likes its links.  If a site with a PageRank of 10 has a one-way link to my page (cross your fingers for me, 'cause that would be awesome), Google automatically thinks my page is a lot hotter.  My PageRank would skyrocket, and Google would be more likely to give this page in search engine results than it is now, with a lil' ol' PageRank of 1.

Each page only gets a certain amount of 'link juice' to pass on, though.  If that PR 10 page has a hundred links on it, it won't influence my PR as much as it would if mine were the only link on it. 

Make sense?

Are there backlinks that don't matter?

Well, all backlinks matter - but some don't matter to search engines.  Google doesn't count backlinks which are "no follow."  If a site has "no follow" tags built in, Google ignores the fact that a really hot page is linking to yours.  Unfortunately, Facebook is "no follow" - which sucks for me, because my fan page and my personal page have PRs of 4 and 3, respectively.  All the links on those pages are exclusively here or to my professional freelance writing website.

However, every link matters because it'll draw people in.  The more ways people can find you, the better - so even if a site is "no follow," readers can still click on your link and get to your page.

How do you get backlinks?

It's kind-of tedious, actually.  You have to put them out there yourself - and for the love of Bob Saget, please don't use a link building service unless it's in your home country and has an established (and good) reputation!

Building backlinks just takes time.  Commenting on people's blog posts (try to comment on blogs which are not "no follow" - here's a pretty decent list of dofollow blogs) with a link to your site helps; so does commenting in forums, on news articles and asking friends to add you to their blogroll.

Where else?

Anywhere you have the opportunity to post a link without being a pain-in-the-butt spammer, go ahead.  But seriously - don't be a pain-in-the-butt spammer; that means only post links to your site or blog where others will find them useful!  Don't go on a dog breeder's blog and add links to your refrigerator sales website by writing a dumb comment; however, if you happen to sell refrigerators and have a question about buying a Shih-Tzu, it's okay to leave a link in the "Website" field of the comment section. 

Don't get on there and write, "BUY A REFRIGERATOR TODAY at HTTP://BUYMYFRIDGE.COM" - your comment will probably be deleted, and if it isn't, nobody's going to click on it anyway.

One more thing: don't add links on garbage sites.  If you get somewhere and it looks like a crappy, spammy site to you, chances are it looks that way to Google too - and no links are better than bad links.

Anchor Text

How you portray the link is almost as important as the page it comes from.  Make your text reflect what people will be searching for on the Internet - instead of saying "click here for more information," say "Learn more about my press releases and web content writing services."  That way a reader - and a search engine - will know exactly what they're getting into.

How many backlinks do you have?

Check out SEO Pro's Backlink Checker Tool.  Enter your site and they'll tell you how many you've got, where they're coming from and the PageRank of the sites which they're on.  It's good to evaluate every now and then, but don't get too hung up on it.

How do you build backlinks?  Has it made you more successful, or have you abandoned all hope?

(This blog is not "no follow" because I have IntenseDebate Comments - so leave a link!)

"Thermometer" image courtesy of Bodgie at RGBStock.com
"Chain" image courtesy of Saavem at RGBStock.com

© Angie Papple Johnston, 2010; if you are reading this anywhere but on FreeFreelanceWritingTips.Blogspot.com or without my name as author, it's stolen.