Should I buy links from sites with higher PageRank?
I have rebuilt my website using the advice in your great book Growing Your Business with Google. I hope that I understood everything correctly! And, of course, I have a question for you: I understand that there are companies that will add you to a site with a higher PageRank for a fee. Do you recommend doing this, if the site is related to your line of work? If so, are there any sites that you recommend, including your own?
Glad you're enjoying my book and finding it helpful. I talk about a ton of different topics therein, but one of the most popular is the issue of Google PageRank, what it is, what it means, and whether it's something you should be obsessing over or not. (I also have background information online: What is Google PageRank?)
In a nutshell, PageRank is Google's 0-10 rating of how important a given page is to the rest of the Internet, based primarily upon how many other pages link to it. It's a popularity contest, akin to class president in high school, but there are some secret nuances to offset the inevitable gaming and spamming that occurs. One important nuance: high PageRank pages have more "vote" than low PageRank pages, so if you get a link from, say, the Google home page, that's worth thousands of links from other sites and tens of thousands of links from brand new, PR0 sites. (good luck getting that link though!)
However, let me state this clearly: you really shouldn't be worrying about your PageRank score for any page or for the home page of your site, other than as a curiosity. You can see this by doing a half-dozen Google searches and comparing the PR (as we SEO -- search engine optimization -- types call Page Rank) of the #1 match for each. You'll find some are a PR7 or PR8 while others might be a PR5 or even lower, even when subsequent matches have higher PR.
Why? Because when it comes to search engine results placement (SERPs), PageRank is but one of over 200 different factors that are taken into account. If you have a page that has been recently changed and is part of a large information-rich site that doesn't have duplicate content from elsewhere on the net and has some good inbound link, you'll do great, even with mediocre PageRank.
So while I won't flat-out state that you should never consider buying a link from a higher PageRank page to boost your own PageRank, I will strongly suggest that your effort and time are almost always better spent making your own pages, your own site, more content-rich, easier to read, and more valuable to the Internet community at large.
If you really want to build some inbound links to your own site and pages, consider offering up information of great value to your customer community or market niche, then emailing other webmasters, site owners, bloggers, etc., in your space, letting them know about your new resource and asking if it's possible for them to promote it within their own community or simply link to it. That's often a good strategy and certainly any time you add value, you'll see a reward down the road.
Hope that helps clarify how to avoid crashing into the reefs surrounding the siren of PageRank in the SEO world!
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