That is the most recent question that I’ve been asked and as promised I said I would address any questions that came in so here is one of the first questions that I’m going to address, this question came from a reader that just finished reading an older thread here called Proper Keyword Research Is Powerful.
The real answer to this question is simply no page rank doesn’t mean anything but yes it can be an important factor when trying to rank your sites for particular keywords. Confused by that statement?
You see PR is simply Google’s way to rank a site based upon how many relative backlinks it has, the more quality backlinks to a site simply means that its more popular, Google thinks if more people link to a particular site then it must be providing good quality and relevant content so it ranks the site higher. That is the simplest form of it but you’ve got to remember that no one factor will help you rank your sites.
Ok I’m going to be using the exact example that came from the email question. I honestly don’t know what the term is but we do have some information that I can work with, for instance we know that by using the allinurl operators and the allintitle operators we see that the allinurl returns below 2,000 results and the allintitle operator returns below 50,000 results but at least one of the sites has a PR of 6 but only 50 backlinks and we also know that there are 16 million other pages found.
So what does the allinurl and allintitle operators represent in terms of keyword research, well I’ll be 100% honest they mean pretty much nothing and you should never ever be judging your results based upon these two factors but it is a good idea to just have a look and even save those numbers even though your not going to be basing any results off them.
The reason for that is because with each and every keyword you’ll see huge differences in the allinurl and allintitle searches and you can’t base anything off that but what you can judge off those numbers is that the lower the allinurl numbers means that there is less people trying to rank for that term from the start but if the allintitle operator shows a much higher number then we know that a bunch of sites are trying to rank or have just wrote something about that particular term. After awhile of researching keywords and looking at these numbers you’ll begin to know off your head which is a high or low number (Generally anything under 5K is a low number).
When trying to rank for a term in the search engines its always better to have that term in the sites URL and on the pages title, this is because Google gives weight to both those factors. An example would be two identical sites, same amount of backlinks, same quality of links, same everything except that site A has the term in the URL but site B only has it in there title, well in the eyes of Google site A is more relevant to the topic and should rank higher in the search engines.
So to sum that part up the only thing you should be looking at in those results are lower numbers but even if the numbers are high don’t let that discourage you because they play a very small role in the rankings, you see if you are trying to rank for this term its simply better to have that term in the URL, Title, and H1 tags on the page but its not 100% required. Its even better to have all those elements as close to the top as possible.
Ok the next question to this is if I did manage to get 50+ backlinks on a fresh domain would I be able to surpass the current rankings?
This again is a very hard question because I don’t have all the information but based upon the information I do have I would say no your not going to be ranking your site for this term, even if this term is low in competition and that is because the keyword research has been done wrong.
You see we know that a site with a PR 6 has a page in the results with 50 backlinks. This is something that I need to cover and that is your not going to get a PR 6 with only 50 backlinks.
So when looking at this don’t get confused (Trust me its easy to get confused), you see this page that is ranked for this term probably has a PR 1 or PR 3 at the most even though a ton of tools will tell you this page has a PR 6, that is not true because most PR tools will tell you the PR of the actual domain and not the individual pages that domain hosts.
So a domain something like www.principleofmarketing.com might have a PR 10 but a page which looks something like this www.principleofmarketing.com/anotherpage.html might only have 50 backlinks pointing to it at which point your not directly competing with the domain www.principleofmarketing.com instead your directly competing with a page from that domain, your competing with www.principleofmarketing.com/anotherpage.html
So I can determine that your not going to be competing with the main domain for this term but the site did at some point write a page about this topic and got ranked for it.
Now you should know that the main domain will pass on some of its PR strength to its sub-pages depending upon how well the site is internally linked, most sites make the mistake of only doing basic internal linking and they don’t deep link, when a site is deep linked then any and every page can be reached within only a few clicks from the main page, even if there are a billion pages on that website. This makes it harder to outrank older articles but most of the time older types of articles will be easier to outrank because the site that its on doesn’t have the proper deep-linking structure to support its old pages (That eventually go dead and loose rank because of it).
I mentioned that this person is doing there keyword research wrong based upon the information presented to me and what I meant by this was that it sounds as if your only taking one site into consideration when you should be taking into consideration at least the top 10 sites.
What you really need to do is use Yahoo’s Site Explorer and type in each of the top 10 domain names into the tool and mark down how many backlinks each site has, then add up all those numbers and average them out. So if you marked down the backlinks of 10 sites and added those numbers up, then divided by 10 (Because you marked down 10 sites), you’ll get an average number.
This average number can be used to give you a general idea of how many quality backlinks you’ll need to get a ranking on the first page of the search engines for this term, notice how I said to get on the first page and not to get in the top position or even the top 3 position, this is because once you get a ranking on the top page then you can better determine your position, things change up a bit here.
If your ranked #3 right away then go back and look at the amount of backlinks sites one and two have because they might be beating you by just a little bit so don’t give up just hammer down some more links and surpass them.
As a final tip, when you get a new domain name and you want to avoid the so called Google Sandbox and get ranked inside of a week or two instead of 6 months then get as many quality backlinks to the site as possible as soon as possible and do your absolute best to get at least one PR 7 or higher link to your site, this will help you rank quickly (All this assuming the site is going to have unique content). But be warned that getting a big site to link to your brand new very small site is going to cost you some cash.
I hope this helped out some more and if there are more questions concerning this or if there is anything else not mentioned that you would have liked mentioned, just leave a comment or toss me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do up a post for that as well.
Remember the new direction of this blog is to share any and all knowledge I have in terms of SEO, SEM, Arbitrage, Internet Marketing, Making Money Online, Programming and related fields and also to give everyone here 100% free consulting.