Why You Shouldn’t Care About PageRank At All

Problems with Social MediaIf you run a website you have by now probably heard that Google changed the way they rank websites again. As happens every few months folks all over the web go crazy when their PageRank drops or celebrate like they’ve “made it” if it goes up a little.

Here’s the question I’ll ask you. Why bother looking at your PageRank at all?

Sure, a good PageRank is neat, but for nearly all websites out there that’s about it. It’s just neat. It isn’t a reflection of the quality of your content. It isn’t a reflection of the income potential of your website, it’s just, well, something neat to look at.

You see, unlike other metrics such as search traffic, key words, visits, trends, and countless others PageRank doesn’t really tell you anything at all. I can’t look at my PageRank and tell if I’m meeting my goal of making this site financially self-sufficient. Heck, my PageRank can’t even tell me why any given person went to my site in the first place. In essence, it simply doesn’t matter.

So what should a website owner be worried about?

There are 3 things that, no matter what your site’s content, you should worry about and 100’s of things that, depending on your site topic, audience, and goals would still be far more productive than PageRank (heck, even digging out an old copy of Netscape Navigator and testing your site on it or using your dog for a usability test of your site would be more valuable than PageRank).

1.) Are you meeting the goals you set for your site

What is your site for? Perhaps you just want to make a name for yourself as a blogger, perhaps you’re selling a product or service, or perhaps you would like to make a living off what you write. In either case the very first question you need to ask yourself when assessing your site is “is my site meeting the goals I set for it?” If the answer is yes then you’re doing good. If the answer is no then you will need to change something to do so.

2.) Trends

The number of people any one of my sites get on a given day really doesn’t matter much in the big scheme of things. Sure it might be nice to see a spike and say you had 20,000 visitors on one day when normally you see 1,000 but it really doesn’t mean much. A better question to ask yourself is “did I see more traffic or less traffic this month compared to last month?” You see, the trend can tell you a lot. If your traffic is growing is means either your marketing has been very effective, people are talking about your site, or hopefully both. If your traffic is falling off you may want to ask yourself why? Did you stop posting? Did you change something that has offended your visitors? What changed (or if you didn’t update what did not change) that is causing your site to see fewer people? In either case the trend can tell you quite a bit about what is going on and whether you will be meeting your goals a few months out.

3.) Social Interactions

From comments on your blog to comments on social networks who is talking about your work? If you’re a blogger putting out high-quality content that gets noticed is probably one of your top goals and the feedback gained on both your site and social networks can be a gold mine. If your site however is a brand, a school, or something else the buzz about you can still help you determine if your “doing it right.” Regardless of who you are and what your site is about when people start talking about you, you know you’re doing something right and if no one is talking about you you’re probably missing something.

Conclusion

In the end too many folks are busy salting their work with keywords to get picked up by a search engine who’s PageRank algorithm will rank them between 0 and 10 and change it next month based on whatever new metric Google decides to include. While a higher rank might be neat it simply misses the big picture. None of it matters if you’re not meeting your own goals of if you’re driving people away or if simply no one cares enough to talk about your work. Put your energy into my 3 metrics and not only will you be happier for it, but in the end, with some high quality content and visitors, you might even see your PageRank climb a litte (if you’re even watching it anymore).

6 Replies to “Why You Shouldn’t Care About PageRank At All”

  1. PageRank is just a means of measurement to gauge your link building success. Nothing more than that as far I am concerned. It is nice to see a higher PageRank though because as we all know the higher the PageRank the more weight your link has on the site it is on. This is common SEO knowledge and remains true to this day. I would not say you have a successful website just because you have a high PageRank. I know of website’s that rank higher in the SERP’s than others sites and have lower PageRanks. Prime example SlingShotSeo.com and SmallBoxWeb.com. Small Box has a lower PageRank than SlingShotSeo and they rank higher in specific searches. Anyway you are correct when your saying not much emphasis should be put into PageRank.

  2. Hi Chris,
    You know, I agree with the points you’ve made. I’ve visited sites with zero or very low page ranks which seems to be popular and doing really well.
    There’s a thriving community based on the interaction between the site owner and readers and it’s because they provide really good content as well as pleasing to the eyes.
    Some of these sites are just starting out and I’m sure that if they continue to head in the right direction and also follow your metrics, they’ll be getting that coveted page rank.

  3. The bottom line is that page rank has turned only into a decoration metric that shows other people how Google sees your website. It doesn’t mean that if you achieve a high rank that you will rank highly in Google, which is a big mistake. Well, even though PageRank is not as important as it used to be, it has it uses. In my opinion, PageRank should only be used to quickly analyze a page.