Does Google Know You're There? PageRank and More
How do you know of Google has visited your site? How does PageRank work? Explore how PageRank works and consider ways in which you can improve your PageRank with Google.
You’ve done everything in your power to get Google’s attention. Now how do you know when the Googlebot (www.google.com/bot.html), Google’s web-crawling robot, has come calling? Of course, if your site starts appearing in Google results, you can rest easy knowing Google is hip to you.
But otherwise, it’s not particularly obvious when the Googlebot arrives, investigates, and leaves your site. With a little simple research, however, you can figure out what parts of your site Google is and – and more importantly – isn’t finding.
The place to look is your web server or site’s logs, which keep a record of comings and goings from your site – requests and responses in webmaster vernacular. They make for an entertaining read, in a geeky way, and are worth getting familiar with.
Web server logs are simple text files and you can read them by using a simple text editor or Unix command line tools. You can also pursue them through a log analysis tool, a desktop application, an administrative tool, or a web-based service.
The Importance of PageRank
PageRank is Google’s algorithm for determining the ranking of Web pages. It was formulated by Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page and has been used ever since – in concert with a plethora of other calculations and corrections – as the juice behind Google.
Put succinctly, the rank of page is determined by the number of pages that point to it. The PageRank algorithm rates pages on a scale from zero to ten, scoring everything from as-yet-unheard-of web pages to the likes of Amazon, Google and Yahoo. Despite its name, however, PageRank is more of a score than a rank. Google doesn’t have a single hierarchy of pages, and many pages share the same value.
In addition, a page’s rank exists outside of any particular Google search. Put another way: Google ignores PageRank when it’s searching, using it instead to decide the order in which it displays the results of that search. So when you run a search, Google looks through its various indexes of keywords and phrases, and first builds a list of results from pages that match your criteria. Then Google uses the PageRank of each of these pages to help determine what order to offer them in.
You can find out your site’s PageRank on the Google toolbar. First, make sure you’ve got the PageRank display turned on. To do so, open the Toolbar Options dialog box by clicking the Options button and then the Options tab, where you can find the PageRank display choice; to turn it in, you must have the Advanced Features going. Then go to a page on your site and mouse over the PageRank bar to display a little box revealing the rank.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Gibbins is an experienced business professional who has worked within Retail, Customer Service, Audit and Operations Management. He is the Managing Director of Cortina Web Solutions, a Website Design and SEO Consultation business that provides advanced internet business solutions.
Daniel is also the Operations Manager and Senior Project Leader of The Church Website Design Project, a Christian based not-for-profit online communications service that offer church website design for Christian churches throughout the world. Daniel is also a member of the General Teaching Council of England and holds Qualified Teacher Status in the UK.