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Climbing the Beanstalk
January 5, 2005

Welcome to the January 5, 2005 edition of "Climbing The Beanstalk", the bi-weekly newsletter on search engines and search engine positioning from Beanstalk. In this edition we will discuss the recent PageRank update by Google and how this affects you, the recent articles published by Beanstalk staff as well as cover a few of the better resources for researching SEO and asking questions.

If you have any questions regarding any of the areas covered in this newsletter please don't hesitate to contact us.

Does PageRank Mean Your Page Will Rank?

The term Pagerank, for those of you who may not know, refers to an assigned value given to your site by Google. This value is based mainly on the number and quality of links pointing to your website and are a critical part of Google's algorithm (how they decide where to place your site in the rankings). Recently Google "updated it's PageRank". Essentially what this means is that for those who monitor their PageRank and those of other sites, they were able to see those values increase or decrease.

In reality PageRank is updated about once per month however these updates are only sent to the Google toolbar about once every three months (download and enable with advanced features if you want to see a site's PageRank). The PageRank you see one day many not actually be accurate. For example, in the last PageRank update www.beanstalk-inc.com went from a 3/10 to a 6/10. It is not as if overnight our site actually went up that much. Increasing PageRank is a slow process, the success of which is realized over time. It's just that the toolbar reflected 3 months of work in a single update though Google themselves had been working with updated numbers monthly.

So now you know that PageRank updates monthly and that you can see the changes quarterly, so what?

Well, PageRank is a very important characteristic of the Google algorithm in that it is the final multiplier. Google will do all the calculations regarding your titles, content, etc. and when it's done everything it will then multiply in the PageRank to come up with a final value for your site. Please understand that this is a simplification of the formula, however it should give you an idea of what's going on.

Thus, the higher your PageRank the higher the final multiplication, the greater the odds of you ranking for a specific phrase. I do feel it necessary to note that PageRank is not some magic bullet. There are dozens of factors calculated into the algorithms, this is an important one but certainly not the only one.

A bonus we can witness during these updates is the general direction Google is taking. In this case many site who did little or no link building saw decreases in their PageRank. Were PageRank a static calculation this would not happen however it appears that Google has upped the criteria making it harder to hit the higher numbers.

Important to note is a rumor that Google in not actually upping the criteria for higher values but rather has tweaked a relevancy calculation that gives lower weights to less relevant links, thus decreasing their value to your site. I'm not sure if I believe that Google has actually mastered this ability as of yet however they're certainly headed in that direction and I wouldn't be surprised if they had. In fact, my only surprise would be that they had apparently done so without the massive hiccups and issues that I would have expected from such a difficult development.

Essentially, if we want to grab the single most important points from this update they would be:

  1. It is getting harder to attain higher PageRanks. While once it would have been considered "decent" to have a PageRank of 5, I would say a 5 now could well be considered a "good" value.
  2. There may well be the integration of some sort of "relevancy" detection in inbound links. If this is the case all link building efforts should be geared towards relevant sites. This will increase the value of tools such as PR Prowler and Total Optimizer Pro.

Recent Search Engine Positioning Articles

Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization has recently had three of it's articles picked up by WebProNews, ISEDB, and an assortment of other SEO resource sites. These are recommended reading for anyone interested in attaining high rankings.

Monitoring
It's no easy task to get your site where you got it and you deserve a break. Take a week off and don't look at your site, at the very least this'll let you come back at it again with fresher eyes - at best it'll give you time to spend with those who missed you during your obsession with your site and rankings. But don't take too long ... your competition is right on your heals ... <more>

The Extras
The first nine steps in this series cover the true nuts-and-bolts of a solid SEO campaign. These are the crucial steps you need to take to attain top rankings that will stick. That said " there are "the extras", the icing on the SEO-cake so-to-speak. Those little things that will bump you up from number 4 to number 2, or help you hold your positioning through an algorithm change ... <more>

Where Do You Want To Go Today?

As discussed in our last article on "The Extras" (noted above) there are some key online resources that are important if you want to keep yourself up-to-date on the latest happenings in the search engine positioning world. Easily my favorite type of resource is forums based on the variety of people, experiences, and the variations in tactics used. Forums make a great place to ask questions because if you you're on well-traveled forums you're likely to find someone who knows the answer. That said, tread carefully, you may well find someone who only thinks they know the answer.

Remember, just because someone posts a reply doesn't mean they're in the know. Wait until there are a few replies and you'll generally get a decent response. Try asking the same question on a few forums or just read what others have to say.

Some of the best forums I frequent are:

If you run into "beanstalk" while you're there be sure to say "hi".

Thank You

Thank you very much for subscribing to "Climbing The Beanstalk", the bi-weekly search engine positioning newsletter. If you have any questions about the areas covered or if there are any areas of search engine positioning that you would like to see covered in future articles/newsletter please don't hesitate to contact us. We want to write what you want to know.

And let me take this opportunity to wish you all the very best in 2005. This is going to be a very interesting year in the search engine positioning world and we look forward to providing a voice to help you keep up-to-date and navigate the new search engine world, coming soon to a computer near you.

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