Enlarge Your PageRank!!!
Click to enlarge! Oh, it doesn’t work?
This is not a funny post. One day out of the blue a client of mine wrote me an angry email threatening to end our cooperation.
Not any client, a client who has been with me for years. It was completely unexpected. I was like: Whoa! What the heck!?!
You know, although I am preaching SEO 2.0 here, most of the time I work as SEO 1.0 for clients, doing
- keyword research
- SEO copywriting
- link building
predominantly for the German market. Yeah, business in Germany is mostly boring and old school. They rarely risk something around here.
Traffic, rankings are up but…
As I read the email I wondered whether I am in a parallel universe as he claimed that our traffic was down for the last 6 months.
Google Analytics clearly showed that it grew continuously over the past half year. When I read on, I realized what the problem is.
Half a year earlier the client’s PageRank was at 5, then it fell to 4 some months later and finally it got a 3 in the PageRank lottery.
Remember that the traffic, and the rankings – mostly at #1, 2 and 3 for the most important terms – went up or remained stable all of the time.
Only neglected keywords – or where Google tweaked something – performed less good, but still with no traffic problems at large.
Everything’s fine or is it?
Even in December when most people do not need what the client is selling (it’s used for office work and thus is not needed during holidays) the traffic was only 10% down.
In fact, just yesterday the site hit a six months high! A traffic record, mostly due to organic search rankings and thus my work.
Then I checked the bounce rate, meaning how many people are leaving immediately upon seeing your page (between 20 and 30% here) and pages per visit (around 5).
I checked the keywords, most of them really really targeted, many long tails keys with an exact match for what the client offers.
Toolbar PageRank is the problem
What the hell is the problem here? It’s PageRank! The toolbar PageRank they can see with ease. For many clients you have to enlarge your PageRank!
This is the only part of SEO they can actually see. They will ignore your thorough reports with analysis of rankings, traffic etc.
Clients will look at the PageRank bar and be either happy or angry.
At the end of the day you basically do not need to optimize the pages. Just start PageRank optimization and people will be satisfied!
On a more professional level: What could this client do? He pays for the lowest possible SEO maintenance plan.
A plan that basically only allows you to stay where you are after initial optimization and gaining some rankings.
Metrics to look at
Nonetheless the rankings improved. With only a few hours for stats checking and link building a month you really can’t take a look at more refined metrics though.
Last time he complained about poor sales I proposed to him that he should check his “shopping cart abandonment rate”.
Shopping cart abandonment rate is a metric showing how many people try to buy something and fail during the process.
What I also suspect, the market he sells to is saturated, so you have to extend your scope to other similar niches.
The less the people pay though, the more they will assume that you, the SEO is responsible for their failure.
Some clients expect you to perform magic tricks for a few bucks.
While in this case the numbers are exactly the opposite of what he claims and only PageRank fell there are at least 7 metrics you should make the client aware of instead of PageRank:
- rankings, are you at the top or not, if yes you should check
- traffic, to determine how many people find you
- bounce rate, to determine if the right people find the right product or service on your site
- conversion rate, how many visitors reach the goal you want them to, here to buy something?
- shopping cart abandonment rate, how many people fail to end a transaction?
- sales, this is obvious
- ROI or Return on Investment – the hard core business metric
This client for instance spends the same amount of money for Google Ads while getting 5 to 10 times more visitors via organic search results.
The Return On Investment is at least a few times as high with SEO than with PPC here, as I can’t ascribe all visitors to my SEO efforts but most.
Sadly I don’t how many actually bought something to make this a real money metric though. I don’t even have access to that data as it’s confidential.
For some clients sadly just one metric counts: PageRank. Thus you ideally enlarge your PageRank and make people happy instead of working hard.
Quit SEO and start PageRank optimization. It’s less work and it offers instant gratification! WHy bother with difficult to follow metrics?
[Update: Luckily Google has stopped updating public (toolbar) PageRank by now.]
Last updated: April 11th, 2018.
There is a new technology for bloggers, which is supposed to be more fair than google’s pagerank.
izearank it is called.
Don’t give up! Clients will learn. If not, we’ll teach them!
I have found that many of those who pay the least expect the most. Greedy in every way and frequently not very appreciative.
LOL that pump is priceless. You had me on the floor
Tad, I am sure someone somewhere is making a fortune out of PageRank pumps.
robo: I never give up, I’m the master of failing. Even if i fail 100 times I know that success is nearer and nearer.
Terry: Exactly, it makes me sad each and every time though.
Vlad: It’s not priceless, I can sell it to you cheaply, money back guarantee ;-)
Andy: You think this would be a good business model?
Tad, did you explain this to them? I find alot of people are too fascinated with page rank. I don’t give a damn about page rank. I do care about rankings and the traffic as a result of those rankings. If page rank was from -10 to +10, give me -10 page rank and top rankings with plenty of traffic any day!
Page Rank Lottery. LOL!!!
That’s exactly what it is. As an owner of about 22 sites, blogs and Squidoo lenses, I’ve been greatly effected by Google’s ewar. As a mom of 7, I’m upset due to the impact it’s had on my income. Ya, think?
Ultimately, I believe what you say. Page rank is overrated.
We’ve given Google too much control of the internet. It’s time we take drastic measures to take it back…
Gave you a stumble…
david: I tried, but I get desperate when after years of working together I experience such a regression.
supermom: 7, indeed you’re supermom. the folks at Google do not really grasp that they ruin people’s lives by not allowing them to sell text links and such.
You also might want to read this here:
Pagerank is really invaluable! we have page rank 5 but were in the top of Webdesign den haag on google with pageranks 6 and 7vens around us
Google is now a days in control of the web.
We all want to hit high in the search results. But why? Is this the only angle for ROI?
Keep the Code of Ethics intact and eventually you will grow larger.
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Anyone tried this?