Google Pagerank, SEO, Traffic and Your Website

I noticed that the Pagerank for Superbad Internet Marketing was recently increased from PR0 to PR1 in the last few days, so I wanted to discuss a few concepts when it comes to Pagerank (PR).

Most people in the world of internet marketing know that PR is a number from 0 to 10 assigned by Google. Some people obsess over the PR of their website and do everything they can to increase it (through SEO).

Google claims that it’s not very important, it’s just an indicator for internal ranking purposes (or something like that). I’m not gonna get into what PR is and all of that, but I do want to take a look at a few specific examples.

If you don’t know how to find the PR for any given website, you can install the Google Toolbar or the SEO Toolbar from SEO Book. They’re both free. After you get it installed, the little green bar indicates the PR when you hover your mouse over it.

Pagerank is not an indication of the quality of the website. For example, Harsh Agrawal, a blogger at ShoutMeLoud ran a little experiment. He set up a WordPress website with no content, other than the title tag and the navigation menu. He wanted to see if he could increase PR just through commenting on blogs. It worked. The blog, with no content, was increased to PR 3 within 7 months, just based on backlinks from comments.

Since the most recent Google PR update (January 2011), his experimental website has decreased from PR3 to PR1, but the case study is still very useful. I believe he is going to develop the website into something soon, but if you want to see the website he used for the experiment, you can see it here (although I don’t know how long it will be undeveloped). If you want to read his case study, click here.

Pagerank is not an indication of traffic. The website in the experiment above had less than 50 visitors per month, so it certainly wasn’t an indication of traffic. You might think that PR is an indication of number of backlinks. Well, let’s take a look at another website.

First, let me just say that I don’t know the person associated with this website and I have no connection with them in anyway. I came across this example in a forum and it kind of surprised me at the time. This website is a PR3 and it has only 3 incoming links.

One link is from the forum referring to it, so it was a PR 3 before that. Another link seems to be broken. The other link is from a PR4 website. I’m going to link to it here, so that will make it 4 links to the website.

There’s nothing special about that website. It has 5 very short pages and that’s it. I don’t imagine it gets very much traffic, if any. It’s more of a general website for an accounting business in Australia. One link from a PR4 website brought it up to a PR3.

So, what’s my point?

My point is focus on metrics that are important. PR is not an indication of traffic, it’s not an indication of number of backlinks, and it’s certainly not an indication of revenue, which is important if you’re running a website to make money. Spend time on things that you can control and let Google do what they want with their PR system.


  1. Peter J
    Peter J01-21-2011

    Google didn’t update their pagerank for a very long time simply because i think they have also realized that its not very useful. I don’t pay much attention to my pagerank because it does very little – working on where your site sits in google is much more important.

    • Jeff

      Amen to that!

  2. richard lawyer
    richard lawyer01-21-2011

    It seems that google haven’t done a PR update since April/May last year and it is kinda irrelevant these days, I mean PR doesn’t really have an affect on websites these, or does it?

    • Jeff

      PR is a signal for more important factors. Focus on the things that you can control and don’t stress about PR.

  3. richard lawyer
    richard lawyer01-21-2011

    thanks (sheepishly),
    but out of curiosity what important factors?

    • Jeff

      In your specific case, it’s pretty obvious that the main objective for your website is to get leads.

      The most important factor for you would be – how many people complete your form? That’s your most important factor.

      Related to that is your bounce rate. How many people are showing up at your website but not completing the information. If a lot of people are visiting your website but not completing the form, you may want to test new copy for your landing page.

      If the copy makes no difference, then perhaps you’re targeting the wrong places with your backlinks. Where are your backlinks coming from? That’s something that you can control (to an extent).

      Where’s your traffic coming from? If you don’t have any traffic, then you need to focus on generating traffic through SEO, social media, forums, content, etc.

      Important factors to measure include:
      – leads generated
      – bounce rate
      – traffic
      – quality backlinks
      – visitors

      Pagerank is just a consequence of how well you execute the important stuff.

  4. Donace

    The thing with ‘toolbar’ PR ie the type you see is, that its dated. PR is updated constantly. I have gone form PR5 to PR 2 and no drop in traffic, infact an 10% increase .

    PR comes and goes; as long as the site accomplishes its goal its fine.

    • Jeff

      Very true. Traffic is much more important than PR. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Justin Robins
    Justin Robins08-05-2011

    So I just noticed my PR went from 3 to 1, but the keywords that I am targeting got better on rank…Tell me how that works?!?

    • Jeff

      Yeah, a similar thing happened to this website – it went from PR3 to PR2 recently but it keeps ranking better for targeted keywords.

      I also have a PR4 site that ranks for almost nothing and gets no traffic. The only reason it has a PR4 is because it has a link from a static page with a PR5.

      Your PR will go up if you get a good, “do follow” link from a high PR site. If it’s a follow link with anchor text, then it will significantly improve your rankings as well – much more so than a lot of low-quality links. For example, a guest post on a trusted, high PR blog relevant to your industry. The more high PR links you have, the more consistent your PR will be – that’s one of many factors.

      However, a bunch of low-quality links can keep you moving up (slowly) in the search engine rankings, but it won’t do much for your PR. Of course, what really matters is traffic and conversion not PR.

  6. jaison

    Thanks for this great information. I want to know whether this is the same case in terms of Alexa ranking also. Or is it calculated by checking traffic too?

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