Only a minority of small or medium sized business websites achieve PageRank greater than 4. HomePage PageRank – The Top Factor in the Google AlgorithmMany SEO experts consider PageRank to be irrelevant because the PageRanks of many webpages on the top Google results page for competitive terms is 0. Here is a typical quote – “There are millions of low (or ZERO) PR pages rankings VERY prominently in search for competitive terms – what more proof do you need?
(Page 1).”search-engine-optimization-secretsDanny Dover has led the SEOmoz team. In his book Search Engine Optimization Secrets (2011) he makes the following comments:”domain popularity is extremely useful for raising the power of weak pages. Even if the number of links to a given page is low, it can still rank hiughly if this metric is large. Currently, we see this all the time with Wikipedia.” (p 75)”Google makes scraping (automatically requesting and distributing) the PageRank metric difficulty.” (p 10)
The google.co.uk results page for ‘York decorator’ showing 6 directory websites – all internal pages – and 4 small business websites – all HomePages.
Handicap-boost-HPRIn the following table, the PageRanks of the above top webpages for ‘York decorator’ and the corresponding HomePage PageRanks have been included – Columns B and C.
In the above table, two webpages (#4 and #5) on the top Google.co.uk results page have PageRank0.
The #5 page is an internal page on a directory website and my contention is that the top factor in the Google algorithm is the HomePage PageRank which for this website is 5.
The webpage in #4 is itself a HomePage so without adjustment the HomePage PageRank remains 0.
The second factor in the Google algorithm (IMHO) is a hidden boost given to HomePages with PageRank 4 or less when they are competing for keywords and my best estimate is 4.5 as seen in column D.
I opened a medical website 11 years ago based on my information leaflets that I gave to my patients.
Some of my webpages, themed on relatively low difficulty keywords, were regularly in #1 on Google.
At various times, three of my webpages dropped from #1 to #2 for a few months.
To test the validity of the top two factors as explained above, you can do a search on any keyword on Google with either Internet Explorer or Firefox with the Google toolbar active.
In this study, there were 2,486 webpages on the top Google results page with PR0 but only 214 were on websites with HomePage PageRank less than 4 or they were not themselves HomePages.
Google must be providing a boost in effective PageRank to HomePages that are competing for a keyword. This can be compared to the handicap system that allows golfers at different skill levels to compete. From an SEO
perspective, this means, for example, that small businesses with websites that rarely achieve HomePage PageRank greater than 3, can compete with locality or trade directory websites that typically have HomePage PageRanks between 4 and 7. In practice, the boost to HomePage PageRank is to about 4.5.
The internal webpages with PR0 on the top page of Google for high difficulty keywords, however, are invariably found on websites with HPR of at least 4 and often 6 or more. It became apparent that whereas the PageRank of an
internal webpage has no major influence by itself in the Google algorithm, the HomePage PageRank of the website is the top factor.
There are also examples of webpages with HPR0 having top page positioning for medium difficulty keywords but careful observation shows that it is the HomePage itself that is competing. This observation formed the basis for the conclusion that Google assumes that the HomePage of a website has the greatest authority and Google is providing a boost to its competitive PR.
HomePages with HPR0-4 have their effective HPR boosted to 4.5. There is no visible increase when the HPR is 5 or greater.