May82006

REALTOR: How Can I Increase My PageRank?

While this post will undoubtedly pertain to other industries, it is intended for the RealSEOdisco category, which features internet marketing topics geared towards real estate. These posts will be directed to the REALTOR who is seeking information on marketing their website. For more information, see Real Estate SEO by Kid Disco.

Just about every real estate agent’s website that I’ve seen has some sort of links page crammed with links to other realtors. What is the point of this? Let’s think…

If you are making a living as a realtors, why would you want to point your website visitors to other realtor’s websites? You may say, “Uh… well, I don’t add links of realtors within my marketing area.” Well, if I am coming to your site for information on real estate in your area, why would I ever need to see all these links for other realtors? If I was indeed looking for realtors outside of your dominion, why would you give me the opportunity to contact these other realtors directly? I’m not a realtor, myself, but couldn’t you receive some kind of referral fee for something like that?

Anyway, that’s not really the point because I doubt that a website visitor would ever spend much time on a links page. Wait a second… actually, that IS the point. These links pages are NOT created for your website visitors… they are built to trick the search engines!

These links pages have become what the meta keywords tag had become in days past. If you are not familiar with the fall of the meta keywords tag, here is an outdated-but-still-relevant article.

How did these links pages start? Well, there are probably a variety of reasons, but it all comes down to the implementation of Google’s PageRank algorithm.
What is PageRank?

You may think PageRank is just the little green meter in your toolbar that tells you how good your website’s pages are. Ah yes, the Toolbar PageRank. Here is Google‘s explanation of PageRank:

PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.”

Important, high-quality sites receive a higher PageRank, which Google remembers each time it conducts a search. Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don’t match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines all aspects of the page’s content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it’s a good match for your query.

The subject of PageRank alone could be an extremely long post, but instead I will suggest the ambitious to read PageRank Uncovered [PDF]. This 56 page document clearly explains and simplifies the PageRank hysteria (and then goes into some crazy math). Instead of trying to put it in my own words, here are a few relevant excerpts…

…The Google toolbar is not very accurate in showing you the actual PageRank of a site…

…The toolbar sometimes guesses…

…The toolbar is just a representation of actual PageRank…

So, now that you know all about PageRank, you understand that having the most inbound links to your site isn’t the best thing… especially, if you are linking back to all of them – unless you are optimizing for MSN. Hopefully, MSN will make good use out of $1.1 billion and catch up by developing a more relevant linking and overall algorithm.

Anyway, when you are trying to get links in to your site, you should not worry about PageRank. There are many factors to consider and the little green meter in your toolbar should not be one of them.

…Wow. I didn’t realize how much time this was going to take. I’m not even close to getting to the main point I wanted to write about… I even had to change the title of this post. So, I guess this is going to be a multi-post topic… or just an ongoing topic. I will continue on this next week and leave you with a couple more great resources on PageRank…

Is Google PageRank for Real?

More PageRank Mania

What Price PageRank?

What Price PageRank? Part 2

PageRank Wins

Google PageRank Leakage & Misconceptions on PageRank

The Anatomy of a Search Engine

PageRank as a Function of the Damping Factor

PageRank Related Forum Threads

Stay tuned next week for: Links Pages are Dead

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