If you’re an online artist and you’re interested in search engine optimization (SEO for short) you should probably also know a little bit about PageRank.
PageRank is simply a scale from 0 to 10 that shows how much “authority” your website has compared to other sites online. It was created by Google as a quick and easy way for webmasters to see how their sites were doing.
The higher your website is on that scale, the more authority it has, and the more likely your site is to appear the first page of Google when someone searches for the words and phrases that appear on your website.
It’s important to understand that having a PageRank of 5 (for example) does NOT mean that your website will appear in the 5th spot on the first page of Google. This is a common misconception.
Instead, a PageRank of 5 would be a strong indication that your website is a moderately well-recognized “authority” site—and in practical terms, if another website on your same topic has a PageRank of 4, your website would most likely appear before it in the search engine results.
Naturally, every website starts out with a PageRank of 0. Your website’s PageRank will build up from there once it begins to receive links from other sites around the web.
How to find your website’s PageRank
Years ago, there were many online tools which allow you to check your PageRank, because Google made the PageRank of every website publicly accessible.
These days, however, Google keeps everyone’s PageRank number under wraps. In fact, the algorithm that sets your PageRank for Google is now incredibly complex, and may encompass many different factors about your website.
So it’s less important to know the EXACT PageRank your website has, and more important to just be aware that there are ranking factors involved which determine how “important” your website is considered to be by Google.
Understanding PageRank changes
Since PageRank is determined by how many websites are linking to you, your PageRank will actually be in a constant state of change. As more websites link to your site, your PageRank will increase. If a website removes their link to you, your PageRank will diminish.
Improving your PageRank
PageRank is really all about links—so by linking to other art bloggers and art sites you increase your chances of gaining links back, thereby raising your “authority.”
If your site is a blog, or has a blog attached to it, you can publish good, helpful content, and you will most likely receive links because of that. As your site gains links and authority, your PageRank will increase to reflect that change.
In addition, if you own or manage multiple websites, blogs, or social networking pages (like a Facebook or Myspace page) you should make sure to link from those sites to your main art website. This, too, will help increase your site’s authority and PageRank.
Now, with all this talk of PageRank and authority it may be tempting to focus on just getting more and more links to your website—but to be honest, I’d encourage you to NOT worry about it too much.
So put your effort into making a good website and using SEO techniques wherever possible. In the long run, that will do more good (and bring you more visitors) than if you just worked at increasing your PageRank alone.