SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is the business involved with helping you website “rank” higher in search engines on the Internet. After all, what good is having a website if nobody is going to see it? While it is best to follow the cardinal rules of building a good website – making sure the format is clear and easy to navigate, populating it with excellent content, and networking to build strong, organic links to your website, it is good to understand how the powers-that-be actually “rate” your website.
There are three ranking systems that most SEO companies use to gage a web site’s “value.” They are PageRank, Alexa Rank, and MozRank. Here you will find a brief explanation of each.
PageRank is exclusively Google’s, named after Google co-founder Larry Page, and it is a “link analysis algorithm” that measures the “value” of a web page according to Google’s standards. The algorithm uses, according to Google, “500 million variables and 2 billion terms.” The algorithm changes, but some of the factors include the age of the page, the number of quality links linking back to the page, and more. Google calculates the PageRank (or PR) and assigns it a numeric rank from 0 to 10. 10 is the highest PageRank a website can get. Google is pretty secretive about all the factors that determine PageRank, because there are so many spam engines and unethical people out there who would seek to manipulate and exploit the system.
If a web site is shown to have gained a PR through unapproved means, like buying links, employing a SPAM commenting campaign, or similar, the page can be penalized and the PR will show as “unranked” or having a PR 0. In this case, it is impossible for someone seeking to improve the value of the page to see where it stood PRIOR to the penalty. That’s why there are other ranking systems in place.
MozRank is a ranking system similar to Google’s PageRank, but it is powered by an independent SEO company. MozRank looks at link popularity, the popularity of that link within a certain web community (like WordPress, etc.) and other web links. While PR counts the quality and strength of incoming links to a web site, MozRank factors in ALL the links and assigns its numeric rank according to its own system. The rating system is, again, from 0-10, but MozRank breaks it down to the two numeric units after the decimal, so a page can have a MozRank of 5.82, or 1.65. The higher the MozRank, the better.
Alexa Internet is a sub company of Amazon. It takes in traffic information from different websites and then displays the number of websites in the whole world that have higher popularity than your site. So, your Alexa rank will show you how many websites in the world are more popular in terms of traffic than your own. Because of this, the lower your Alexa Rank, the “better” your website is – or, at least, the better your traffic is. Alexa’s way of tracking is fully disclosed, unlike Google PageRank, so you can decide if the system fully represents data that you want to use for your own assessment of your website.
While these tools are useful, you likely won’t see an increase in your stats until you’ve maintained your website ethically and responsibly for some time. Marketing sites who represent good ethics and values will tell you the same – quality content, organic links, and hard work are the way to improve your website.