In a previous article, we helped you to understand PageRank and why it is important.
Once you have a basic understanding of PageRank, it's important to check out the PageRank of competitor sites.
If their PageRank is much higher than yours, it will be more difficult for you to be ranked higher in the search engine results than them.
The site with the highest PageRank won't always outperform sites with lower PageRank, mind you.
For example, if your competitor has a PageRank of 6 on their home page and you have a PageRank of 3, you can still do better than them in search results for many keyphrases…if you know what you are doing.
But everything else being equal, the site with the higher PageRank will do better.
To view the PageRank of your competitors, you must have already installed the Google Toolbar.
If you have installed the Google Toolbar, you should see a PageRank section on the toolbar that shows the PageRank of any web page you visit. It has a shaded green and white bar. The green portion represents the PageRank.
If you hover your cursor above, the shaded PageRank bar, you will see exactly what the PageRank is. For example, it might say "PageRank is Google's view of the importance of this page (4/10)." That means the web page has a PageRank of 4.
If you installed the Google toolbar and still are not seeing Google PageRank, you can go into Settings and select Option. Click on the More tag and check the PageRank and Page Info checkbox in the Even More Buttons section. If that doesn't work, you may have to reinstall the Google toolbar.
Once you have installed the Google Toolbar, you can see what PageRank your competitors have, simply by visiting their sites.
We recommend that you build a spreadsheet with a list of competitors, their URLs and their home page PageRank. This will come in handy later during your search engine optimization efforts, as we will explain in other articles.
On a related note, you should know that PageRank is not limited to whole numbers. Your site may be a 3.3, whereas a competitor's site might be a 3.9. Both will show up as 3/10 in the Google Toolbar. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to know your exact PageRank score.
After listing out the PageRank numbers for competitive sites, you can usually come to one of these two conclusions:
- Looking at the PageRanks of your peer and competitor sites, it's clear that most of your peers in the area have not aggressively and proactively taken steps to increase their PageRank. In other words, if you take the time to improve your PageRank, you can expect to do much better in Google search results; or
- Looking at the PageRanks of some peer and competitor sites, it's clear that a few competitors have been very focused on search engine optimization and have managed to achieve higher-than-average PageRank ratings. Clearly, you have a lot of work in front of you to catch up. It's time to find out what they've done to get that high PageRank and whether you can emulate their techniques. Not only that, is there something you can do that they haven't even thought of yet?
Interestingly, regardless of which of those two conclusions you come to, the net result of your evaluation of competitor PageRanks is that you need to focus on improving your own PageRank.
That doesn't mean this exercise can be skipped. By finding competitors with high PageRanks you can learn about the techniques the highest ranked competitor sites in your industry are using. Remember, imitation is the greatest form of flattery. If it works for them, it can work for you too!
So now what?
Since PageRank is based primarily on the quantity and quality of the inbound links to your site, it's time to learn how to get inbound links to a website<