Q and A: How can I increase my PageRank to increase sales?

QuestionDear Kalena…

I’ve had my online store for 2 yrs now and have been stuck on a PageRank of 2 it seems forever. Since my income from this site is often the only income coming in at times for my family (economy in our area is awful) I’d like to increase my Page Ranking to increase sales. I’d love to be a PR5. I am no computer genius but know enough to improve my site with the right guidance and information. Your help and knowledge would be much appreciated.

Penny

Dear Penny

While there is certainly a correlation between PageRank and high quality websites, there are a few issues if you focus purely on PageRank.

Firstly, Google may be crunching the numbers behind the scenes but the publicly visible Toolbar PageRank is only updated a few times a year, so what you see may not always be entirely accurate.

Secondly, a high PageRank doesn’t necessarily mean higher rankings in the search results – I’ve seen some great sites with low PR outrank crappy sites with higher PR.

So saying you’d like a PageRank of 5 to help increase your online conversions is like going to a car salesman and asking to buy a red car…

Some people think that red cars go faster, therefore if a car is fast it is most likely sporty and by association, sports cars are often rather sexy and luxurious.

So in actual fact, what you may want is a lightning fast, motoring masterpiece that’s mechanical brilliance is overshadowed only by its sexy aesthetics… but instead you drive away in a Citroën 2CV – a vehicle that takes the better part of a day to get from 0-60 and looks like a Transformer mated with a toad – simply because you asked for a car that was ‘red’ instead of ‘sporty’.

The point is – don’t just ask how to increase your PR – ask how you can increase your rankings, traffic and conversions instead.

So what should you be focusing on?

The first thing you should look at (from an SEO perspective) are your keywords. You could have a PR8 site and plenty of random clicks, but if you’re targeting the wrong keywords you won’t sell a thing.

The next thing to work on are your inbound links. Think of an inbound link as a ‘vote’ for your website. The more votes you have, the more popular your website will seem to the search engines.

Focus on semantically relevant links (ie. links from sites that provide similar products/services or sites that contain information that would be relevant to your users).

Sure, if you manage to gain a lot of high quality links, it will have a positive impact on your PageRank, but the goal should always be to increase your sites exposure and relevant traffic instead of gaining an extra point on an infrequently updated little green Google bar.

Once your keywords, content and links are all looking good, the final thing to work on is your website usability. While this may not strictly fall under the SEO banner, there’s really no point optimising a site to gain more traffic if you cannot convert the clicks into sales.

Hopefully this will help you start focusing on the most effective SEO factors instead of just trying to improve your PageRank.

Cheers

Peter Newsome
SiteMost SEO Services

Google Apps Help the Government Reach Cloud Nine

Yesterday Google announced a new suite of Google Apps designed specifically for US Government agencies.

Google Apps for Government is the first suite of cloud computing applications to receive Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) certification and accreditation from the U.S. government.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, Cloud Computing is another name for Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices on-demand, like electricity. Services and storage are provided over the Internet or *cloud*.

Google Apps for Government includes the same tools as Google Apps Standard Edition, but with a couple of additional security features to meet the needs of the public sector.

Here’s the full list of applications included:

  • Gmail (segregated from public Apps data)
  • Calendar (segregated from public Apps data)
  • Google Docs
  • Google Sites
  • Secure Video
  • Secure Data Storage

The National Institute for Science and Technology has dubbed Google Apps for Government a *community cloud*. In the official blog post, Kripa Krishnan, Technical Program Manager for Google Apps for Government describes the unique advantages of the suite of tools and why it should encourage more Government agencies to migrate to cloud computing:

“Google’s cloud offers higher reliability, best-in-class disaster recovery and access to a steady stream of innovation – all of which can provide substantial improvements over existing systems in addition to significant cost savings. And with no hardware or software to install and maintain, Google Apps for Government allows agencies to redeploy resources to technology projects core to their mission of serving the public. This new edition should give governments an even stronger case for making the move to the cloud.”

The suite is available now to any federal, state or local government in the United States for USD 50 per user, per year.

July Search Light Newsletter: the *at least it’s not August* edition

Search LightIssue No. 3 of the Search Light newsletter for 2010 was published today.

Yes, I’m well aware that we are in month 7 of the year and this is supposed to be a monthly newsletter. But at least I got it out this month and didn’t let it become an August issue :-)

This edition includes an article about Twitter and the US Library of Congress. What prompted the Library of Congress to decide our tweets were of historical value? How will the archiving of public tweets impact you?

It also contains some of the more interesting FAQs answered in this blog and even details of a sweet marketing gig going at Google for someone with the right stuff.

If you’re not yet a newsletter subscriber catch it here and then quickly go and subscribe before I find out and kill your hampster (just kidding).

Clever Use of AdWords Lands Man Top Advertising Job

What’s a job at the top of your field worth to you?

To unemployed advertising executive Alec Brownstein, it was worth around USD 6. That’s what Alec paid Google AdWords to get the attention of New York’s top advertising agencies and score himself two job offers.

Alec decided he wanted a job at one of New York’s top ad agencies. But to get an interview via the regular channels could take months. So he decided to bypass normal job application procedures and appeal to the egos of the Creative Directors instead.

How did he do it? He set up PPC ads using Dynamic Keyword Insertion that would appear whenever one of the Creative Directors Googled themselves, otherwise known as a *vanity search*. So a Google search for Gerry Graf, David Droga, Tony Granger, Ian Reichenthal or Scott Vitrone would trigger Alec’s ad to appear.

The ad read:

Hey [Director's Name]
Googling yourself is a lot of fun.
Hiring me is fun, too.

A click on the ad led to Alec’s site and contact details. According to Brownstein, nobody was bidding on the names, so he was able to achieve the top ad slots for around 10 cents per click.

The result? Alec scored interviews with 4 out of the 5 Creative Directors and job offers from both Ian Reichenthal and Scott Vitrone of Y&R Advertising. He took one of the offers and now has a permament gig at Y&R New York.

Clever eh?

Q and A: Will a Google Places listing affect my national or international rankings?

Question

Dear Kalena…

I’d like to target National as well as International Market for my Internet Business. Moreover I want to get ranked high in all data-centers of Google. I’ve already registered my website business with Google local business center. Now I’m in confusion that does Google consider my website for local market only as I’ve business listed in Google local business center? What if i’d like to get high rankings in all data centers of Google? Should i remove my business from Google local business center to get desired results? Please share your thoughts.

Thanks.
Steve

Hi Steve,

Simply having your business listed with Google Places (formerly known as the Google Local Business Center) will not limit the ability of your site to achieve good rankings in other parts of the U.S or internationally.  It will however make it easier for you to achieve local rankings and can significantly improve your local profile, traffic and sales.

Even without a Google Places listing You are naturally more likely to achieve higher rankings for local queries because :

  1. there is probably going to be significantly less competition and
  2. Google tends to favour local providers (because people tend to favour local providers).

Unless your product/service is very specialised it is probably unlikely that you will achieve high rankings in ALL data centers, as one of the reasons these centers are in place is to provide customised results to meet different regional needs.  I doubt that you could expect to achieve high rankings for an English website in Japan for example.

To compete nationally you would generally need to have a more established site – preferably with national  content and links from other nation-wide authority websites.  To achieve consistently high rankings internationally you would ideally have multiple sites in different countries – each targeting the specific needs of that country (keywords, language, links etc).

Andy Henderson
WebConsulting SEO