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For those who are new to the SEO world, some of the definitions can be hard to pick up on. They aren’t always intuitive, and with so many different sources out there, it can be difficult to figure out what common terms really mean. One particularly confusing term is “pagerank.” In 2014, pagerank is on a lot of minds in SEO, and there’s a good reason for it. But first, let’s talk about what pagerank is and isn’t.

Pagerank is an algorithm made by Google to help rank websites and place them in a search query. Contrary to how it sounds, “pagerank” does not actually refer to the position of your website in the search results. It was actually named after Larry Page, one of the founders of Google. But the “page” in “pagerank” confuses many; if you didn’t know any better, you’d naturally think it meant your literal rank on a page.

Instead, pagerank, according to Google, “works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.”

To sum up, your website’s pagerank, or the number of quality links that point back to your website, is one of the many factors that determines the position of your website in the search results. That’s where “rank” comes in.

“Ranking” refers to where your website is placed in the search results. For example, you might try to “rank” for a local keyword, meaning that when that keyword is entered in a Google search, your site would claim one of the top positions in the results for that keyword.

Why is it important to know the difference between “pagerank” and “rank”?

Back when backlinking was a much more viable SEO strategy, pagerank was huge. Nowadays, that strategy has fallen out of favor; Google found that websites were trading backlinks for the sake of SEO instead of as a way to share authentic, valuable content. That kind of spamming always sets Google off, and now backlinking has far less SEO weight than it used to.

In 2014, pagerank is essentially useless. Google has not updated the pagerank meter for about a full year, and Google webspam leader Matt Cutts has verified that there will not be another update in 2014. It is still one of the many items factored into the ultimate SEO algorithm, but it is far less important than it used to be.

However, ranking is still important to every website. We know that the highest ranked website in Google’s search results will receive the most clicks and traffic, while the second and third receive the second and third highest clicks and traffic. Every website should strive to rank as highly as possible. They just no longer need a good pagerank to do it.

What SEO strategy should I concentrate on instead?

Although backlinking has taken a downward spiral, guest blogging is still an effective method. Creating valuable and authentic guest blog posts – instead of doing so for the sake of SEO – will entice traffic to your website. It will also help your SEO, as long as you don’t make that the only objective in writing that post.

Other helpful strategies include a focus on raising your conversion rate, as Google does use the data from Google Analytics in their SEO algorithm; putting your efforts into ranking for local and regional keywords; and social media sharing.

For more information on the state of SEO in 2014, check out this blog post: https://www.nethosting.com/the-state-of-seo-in-2014/.

Sources:

“Facts about Google and Competition.” http://www.google.com/competition/howgooglesearchworks.html. (11 Feb. 2014).

Hall, John. “4 Changes Google Is Making And How They Affect Content Creation.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnhall/2014/01/05/4-changes-google-is-making-and-how-they-affect-content-creation/. (11 Feb. 2014).

Stamoulis, Alexander. “Pagerank 2014 – Dead or Alive?” http://www.webseoanalytics.com/blog/page-rank-2014-dead-or-alive/. (11 Feb. 2014).