Search engines are a critical part of any digital marketing strategy. Google has become the world’s most popular search engine in recent years, and it is ranked by its “PageRank” algorithm. Learn how to use PageRank for your ecommerce website so that you can rank better on relevant searches across all major platforms.
The idea of PageRank originated from a paper by Google founders Larry and Sergey. The point was to determine how relevant web content is for a given search query. In the years since, it has been adopted as an SEO metric that can be used in many ways including ranking websites on Alexa rankings or determining which news article deserves more importance.
Brief overview in 30 seconds:
- The PageRank algorithm is still in use, and here’s a closer look at how Google’s Reasonable Surfer Model contributes to it.
- Your ecommerce site’s search visibility may be boosted by a well-thought-out linking strategy, both inside and externally.
- Susan Dolan, a Google specialist, and Samuel Hurley, the founder of top consultancy NOVOS, provide an ecommerce SEO guidance ahead of the Christmas season.
PageRank is a Google patent that uses links to assist determine website ranks in search engine results pages (SERPs). The algorithm was named after Larry Page, the creator of Google.
The original patent has not been renewed, and additional algorithms that work toward the same aim have subsequently been upgraded. We can better grasp how to position our eCom sites to promote traffic and revenue if we understand the underlying concepts.
The fundamentals of PageRank
PageRank is shared between websites through links and may be dispersed via internal links on a single website.
Because certain pages have a greater PageRank than others, they may pass on more PageRank to the sites to which they link. A damping factor is used when one page connects to another. The original patent put this value as 0.85, meaning that a page having a PageRank of one would transfer 0.85 PageRank if it linked to another page.
The Reasonable Surfer Model has been updated.
A link that is more likely to be clicked on will transfer more PageRank than a link that is less likely to be clicked on, according to Google’s Reasonable Surfer Model. A variety of variables influence this, including font size, color, and anchor text. However, as SEOs, we frequently have influence over the location of a link on a page and may therefore utilize it.
Here’s a basic, if rough, picture of how different links will transfer more or less PageRank depending on their prominence and likelihood of being visited.
Create external connections to important pages.
Given that connecting pages convey PageRank, it’s only natural that we’d want to build backlinks to the sites we want to rank. Pages for each category are the pages that rank for the largest traffic and revenue-driving keywords on most ecommerce sites.
As a result, we should try to apply strategies that assist link development through to revenue-generating pages wherever feasible, which for most sites looks like:
- Category pages
- Pages dedicated to certain products
- Posts on the blog
Obviously, this is easier said than done. Using these strategies with the goal of increasing PageRank on your most important sites. As a result, the dampening variables in play are reduced.
What is the best way to go through this?
Internal linking to important category sites we want to promote from blog posts/Digital PR pieces that subsequently obtain links themselves is a frequent approach to get around the challenge of generating connections to category pages.
Although the PageRank delivered to the website we ideally want to rank will be diluted, this is still preferable than failing to gain any connections to your target page at all.
It’s important thinking about how relevant the category page is to the blog/PR article it’s on, as well as where the links are situated on the page, taking into account the Reasonable Surfer dampening effect.
1. Build links from high-PageRank sites.
High authority sites or pages with a lot of PageRank to pass on to your own site are some of the most sought-after links, as any Digital PR expert will tell you.
Most of the time, this is observed at the domain level, but as shown in Majestic’s excellent description of how PageRank works, a domain that should theoretically have a high PageRank might instead have its PageRank drastically reduced at the page level due to its own internal linking.
In this sense, Digital PR teams should avoid relying too heavily on domain-level metrics as a proxy for connections that carry a lot of PageRank and are therefore beneficial for ranking. It’s almost hard to determine which sites have high PageRank, and although relying too much on third-party technologies is never a good idea, they may be the closest we can go to determining PageRank passed by a single page rather than a domain.
2. Get relevant sites to connect to you.
According to the Reasonable Surfer Model, if the links are irrelevant to the content, the link is less likely to be followed:
“This realistic surfer model takes into account the reality that not all of a document’s links are equally likely to be followed. “Terms of Service” links, banner adverts, and links unrelated to the content are examples of rarely followed links.” (Source)
As a consequence, getting connections from sites that are more relevant to your own is more likely to pass PageRank.
3. Keep in mind that the amount of connections isn’t everything.
Because of how PageRank is computed, the PageRank value passed by a single site may be far greater than the PageRank value passed by 1000s of others combined.
This is why relying just on the total number of connections might be deceiving.
To propagate PageRank, use internal linking.
When determining which pages would gain the most from ranking and how to transmit PageRank throughout an ecommerce site, we must examine a few distinct methods:
- Link to sites you wish to rank from other pages with a high PageRank.
- Throughout the site, link to sites you wish to rank higher.
- Provide links to sites you wish to be ranked higher.
1. Create links to sites you wish to rank from pages with a high PageRank.
Pages with a high PageRank may be utilized to transmit PageRank to – we can presume that they are the pages with the most external links.
Linking to your home page
The homepage is the finest illustration of how you can achieve this. Most websites’ homepages are one of the most, if not the most, externally linked to pages on the site.
This signifies that the homepage has the highest PageRank to pass on to other internal sites.
By carefully picking the sites you link to from the homepage, you can ensure that the essential pages you want to rank get high amounts of PageRank.
2. Throughout the site, link to sites you wish to rank higher.
Another factor to think about is how often you connect to the sites you wish to rank.
Given that each page may pass PageRank on, it stands to reason that a page that is internally linked to more often would pass on more PageRank than a page that is less regularly linked to (although obviously influenced by the PageRank of the linking pages).
As a result, think about where you might add internal connections to make sure crucial sites get linked to more often, such as:
Navigation on a global scale
We may presume there is a damping factor given to links in the menu since they are outside of the main body content of the website. Given its navigational significance, however, this is likely to be significantly less than in the footer.
As a result, since the global navigation is connected worldwide from every page on the site, the vast majority of links passing PageRank will most likely go to those sites featured in the navigation. As a result, these are the sites you should be rating.
Due to the regularity with which various tiers of sites are linked to, the advantage of transmitting PageRank to crucial pages should not be overlooked by NOVOS, as long-time supporters of breadcrumbs.
Breadcrumbs on ecommerce sites have the advantage of passing PageRank up to the core pages that often rank for competitive keywords (apart from the usability advantages for consumers). They’re usually useful for ranking the categories.
Most ecommerce sites have a pyramid structure, with the homepage at the top, followed by a few core categories, a growing number of subcategories, and a large number of product pages. You may take advantage of the pyramid structure by using breadcrumbs on your website (both SEO and CX wise). Because each product page will connect to its appropriate subcategories and categories, and each subcategory will link to its appropriate category.
In this way, internal links are distributed in an inverted pyramid, with the most links (excluding the homepage) concentrated on the core categories, which are the sites that are often targeted for high volume keywords. In this way, internal connections to your ecommerce site have a good potential of giving your site a lot of PageRank.
Product pages are also often simpler to link to and organically create connections to. The more PageRank product pages can transfer upwards, the more relevant they are — and the less likely they are to be affected by dampening effects.
We may expect that damping variables have a considerable influence on the PageRank passed by footer links based on the Reasonable Surfer Model. However, since these links are site-wide, there may be some value to adding significant sites in the footer in terms of PageRank accumulation.
3. Provide connections to sites you wish to rank higher.
Because the Reasonable Surfer Model is used to determine the possibility of a link being clicked on a website, the location of the link on the page is important to consider. This might also include taking page layouts into account when creating generic connections.
In a content strategy where numerous blogs are produced on a particular relevant subject to support a category page, for example, linking to the category page early in the post with clearly related anchor text is likely to generate more PageRank than connecting to the category page towards the end. This differential may look insignificant on a case-by-case basis, but on an ecommerce site with hundreds of thousands of blogs, the total PageRank passed may be considerable.
Susan Dolan is a Search Engine Optimization Consultant who, according to Eric Schmidt’s office, was the first to unlock the Google PageRank algorithm in 2014.
NOVOS, the Global SEO Agency Of The Year 2020 and 2021, was founded by Samuel Hurley.
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