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The great PageRank fallacy

Imagine two bigwig CEOs at a summer barbecue, bragging about their accomplishments.

The first CEO trumpets, “Did you see the Super Bowl ad for my product? It got 100 million viewers. The most watched ad in history.”

“That’s great,” the second CEO says. “Mine only got half that. But how are your sales?”

The first CEO shuffles his feet awkwardly. “Well, our product is defective. And our ad didn’t really tell people much about what it does. So sales aren’t good.”

“Well, fancy that,” smirks the second CEO. “Barely anyone watched my ad but we told people exactly where to get my product and people love what we do, so my sales are through the roof!”

Maybe that analogy is a little elaborate – but it applies to the fallacy of PageRank in web content today. So much of search engine optimization is geared toward trying to rank as high as you can in organic search results. To an extent, the principle makes sense. If you want business, people must be able to find you. Ranking at or near the top of search engine results is important.

But it’s only half the battle – at most. Too many business owners and website copywriters think their work is done when they achieve the lofty No. 1 PageRank slot on Google. But patting yourself on the back at that point means you’ve forgotten the true purpose behind everything. It’s about conversion rate. Three core principles are as important if not more important than PageRank if you want your website to truly be a successful extension of your business:

1. Conversion rate

What is more important than conversion rate, or the percentage of visitors to your site that actually “convert” or consume your product? You can have all the traffic in the world, just as CEO No. 1 had, but it won’t matter if no one buys your product or service.

2. Bounce rate

If your site is unappealing – out of date, difficult to navigate, slow, boring, or so on – it may “bounce” users from your site, or send them away as quickly as they arrived. If you don’t put work into your site to make it relevant, current and interesting, your potential customers will leave before you have a chance to convert them.

3. Clickthrough rate (CTR)

There’s still a crucial step between finding your site atop organic search results and actually visiting it: clicking. People still have to click your link. You thus can’t take title tags, headlines or any attention-grabbing information for granted. If searchers don’t know exactly what you’re offering in a few lines, they may drag their mouse (mice?) below you and click the second option.

I’m not saying PageRank isn’t important. It most certainly is. You can’t worry about the other three items on the list if no one finds your site in the first place. But the point is that people give PageRank too much clout. The truth is that it’s one quarter of four components that are crucial to a website’s success.

The ranking of your business, service or product in Google’s search results is critical to your success. Toronto-based content and website copywriting expert Ray Litvak understands the art and science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and using the right words in the right way to increase your rankings. Discover how greater exposure on Google can drive more traffic, increase leads and grow your business. Many of Ray’s clients consistently rank on Google’s first page of results and have grown their business as a result. You can do it too – and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Call Ray locally at 416-226-8676 for a free assessment of your specific needs today. You’ll be glad you did!

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