Sunday, July 27, 2008

Google Page Rank - An Intro For Poker Bloggers

A new subject area, and something for my fellow poker bloggers no less. I thought I'd share a bunch of information about some specifics on SEO - Search Engine Optimisation. Starting, as you do, at the very beginning.

Some of you will be familiar with the concept of Google's 'Page Rank', others will not. It is an indication based on a 0 to 10 scale, of how much 'authority' Google thinks that your blog or website has. It is only indicative, in fact Google use far more complex factors that those outlined here to determine rankings - however it is useful in certain ways.

To see a pic like the one above you need the Google Toolbar. The green bar shows how much rank was given at the last update (approx every 3 months) to every site you visit. Plan3t Gong is PR4 which is pretty good for a poker blog (very rare to see a PR5 and I have never seen any above this).

Apart from selling adverts (more on that below) PR is really only an 'authority indication' from Google, yet it does tell us a lot about how the big G determines what is a quality site and what is not. The idea is that links coming from sites which have 'authority' are more valuable than links coming from sites without. Page Rank is an indication (not a statement of fact) that your site has some authority. Sites which have a lot of 'natural good quality links' are deemed to be important and thus appear higher up the search results in google.

Here is an experiment for those with the Google Toolbar, surf some poker blogs and compare the Page Rank of sites which contain a lot of text-link type adverts to those which do not. While not 100% you will see a very strong correlation between advert numbers and PR4 (and some PR3) blogs. Why? Because the owners of the sites which buy these adverts know about Page Rank and are actively seeking the PR4 blogs... they are 'buying your 'authority' rather than seeking clicks.

A factor which makes having a higher PR beneficial is 'crawl rates', since the more authority your site has the more often Google will send spiders to check it out - meaning your new material appears in the search results faster.

Many factors influence your Page Rank - I will go into more detail of these, and the use of special 'nofollow' tags in a future post. In the meantime I will leave you with the thought that taking these text-adverts is actually 'giving away' some of the authority of your site... put up too many and you will get fewer and fewer visitors from the search engines... oh, and link to the wrong ones (called 'bad neighbourhoods') and you could lose your PR completely!

GL at the tables - oh, and let me know whether this is a useful line of pokerblogging and something you would like to hear more about



WillWonka said...

I am certainly interested; especially in light of Google changing things up around this.

Littleacornman said...

Me too.My blog has certainly been hit and I've still no idea what a "no follow" link means...

Mark said...

ok guys... will post some more on this when I get back from Vienna.

Some high-profile sites who are also prolific blog link buyers recently had a nasty penalty from Google... looks like this latest PR update has hit those blogs linking to them quite hard (couple of others in addition to yours gone right down in PR-terms Acorn).

Nat Arem had some info on the original penalties on his blog a few weeks back...

Anyway, until later next week!