So your SEO guy told you that your “Widgets” page has a page rank of 3 for the phrase “square widgets”. But you ran a search and you’re seeing page rank of 5 — what gives ?
Several things affect Page Rank results for any given search phrase. Are you logged into Google ? Are you using instant search ? Are you using personalized results ? Where are you located ? For any given search my results may not be your results. So how do we compare Apples to Apples ? You might try calibrating with your SEO consultant, using these 5 steps:
- Make sure your Search Settings match
In Google, select “Options” (the little “gear” at the right in Google’s top menu bar), and “Search Settings”. Then set the settings as follows:
- SafeSearch filters – moderate
- Select “Never show Instant results”
- Select “Results per page: 10″
- Select “Do not use personal results” (Note: You will not see this if you are not logged in)
- Clear your browsing history / Empty the Cache
This is easy to do but the procedure varies from browser to browser (Chrome: Wrench icon -> Tools -> Clear browsing data; IE: Tools -> Internet Options -> Browsing History -> Delete; Firefox: Tools -> Clear Recent History; etc.)
- Log out of Google
Google will feed you results based on what it knows about you. Log out.
- Don’t count the ads
SEOs are concerned with “organic” (or non-paid) search results. Google ads are currently identified by a light gray background. Start counting search results after the Google ads.
- And… Should you purge your Web History ?
Even though you have cleared your browsing history, Google still maintains a “web history” of your browsing activity. According to Google’s instructions on how to Turn off search history personalization this should not be necessary once you have selected “Do not use personal results” in the Search Settings (see #1 above). However, if you don’t trust this, you can clear your “Web History” by going to google.com/history and then clicking “Remove all web history.”
Just remember, when it’s all said and done, page ranks only help supply traffic. Once you have the traffic, you need to focus on conversions — a problem much better solved using your analytics data. Don’t blindly focus on page rank. Devote an equal if not greater time to improving your conversion rates.