For those of you not yet aware, Google is currently updating PageRank they are displaying in their toolbar. Each update causes a stir among SEO community and webmasters trying to get their websites to top of Google Rankings.
What Is PageRank?
Without getting into too much detail, PageRank is essentially a score out of ten as to "value" of your site in comparison to other websites on Internet. It is based on two primary factors; number of links you have pointing to your website and value of links pointing to your website. The value is calculated based on PageRank of page linking to you and debatably relevancy of page linking to you (there is no hard evidence to back up relevancy factor in regards to PageRank that I have seen however it definitely is a factor in your overall ranking).
If you are interested in more information on PageRank you would do well to visit many forums and articles on topic and also visit Google's own description on their website at http://www.google.com/technology/ where theygive a brief description of technology.
The most current PageRank update will undoubtedly cause a larger stir than usual in that many sites have shown drops in their visible PageRank while at same time showing significant increases in their backlinks. This fact reveals that one of three things has occurred in this latest update:
- Google has raised bar on PageRank, making it more difficult to attain a high level, or
- The way they are displaying their backlinks has changed, or
- The way they calculate value of an incoming link has changed.
Any of these are possible and has been noted in past as something they are willing to do. Additionally, it is possible for all to occur at same time.
As we don't like to use client's as examples I will use Beanstalk site, backlink counts, and PageRank changes as meter by which following conclusions are drawn, however this information was attained through looking at a number of client website, and their competitors.
Google Raising The Bar To Lower Yours
In past few PageRank updates it has become quite apparent that Google is continuously raising bar on PageRank. In their defense, with all of reciprocal link building, link renting, etc. going on this was a natural reaction to growing number high PageRank sites that attained those ranks simply by building or buying hundreds and thousands of links.
There is no doubt that this is a factor in changes in this current update. If your site has maintained it's PageRank, and PageRanks of your second-level pages then you have done well in holding steady and if your competitors have not been as diligent their positions will slip.
New Backlink Calculations I mention this one only to bring to light that it is a possibility for your future consideration during other updates. The Beanstalk website went from 750 shown backlinks on Google to 864. it should be noted that Google does not show all backlinks (if you want a more accurate backlink count go to Yahoo! and enter "link:http://www.yourdomain.com" (don't forget http://)).
When Beanstalk site showed 750 backlinks on Google we were showing around 12,000 on Yahoo! (about 6.5% showing on Google). The Beanstalk site is now showing 864 on Google and 15,500 on Yahoo! (about 5.6%). If anything then, Google is showing less links than before which negates possibility that a website's PageRank is dropping due to a decrease in links but being hidden by an increased number being displayed.
In short, while which backlinks Google chooses to display has certainly changed over time it does not appear to be a major factor in this update. If you see an increase in your sites backlink counts during this update you undoubtedly have an increased number of links.
The Value Of Links