Wednesday, January 19, 2011

SERP and Page Rank: What's the Difference?

If you find the whole idea of page rank and SERP confusing, you are not alone. Many writers unwittingly confuse the two, or simply assume they are the same. They are not.

Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
SERP (Search Engine Results Page) refers to where your particular site (or article) falls in Google as a result of a search. How well your title and url reflect your content, the number of other competing sites and the specific focus and keywords in your work all effect SERP.

SERP changes according to the search term used. Although you may appear in the #1 spot by searching the exact title inside of quotation marks, be aware that unless your title reflects the exact words readers search to find your information, it is unlikely to appear #1 with their search terms.

Many new writers are excited to find their writing ranking well on Google, but fail to understand that unless the term is one that is searched often—it really doesn’t matter. The goal, of course, it to land your work above the fold on the first page of Google with several search terms that are searched often—not #1 with one search term readers seldom use.

Page Rank
Page rank ranges from 0 to 10 with 10 being the highest-ranking possible. This honor is reserved for Google itself. Page rank number reflects the value Google places on your site. Although the algorithm for earning a high rating remains known only to Google, good SEO practices, the amount of traffic and the quality of the links all contribute to the page rank of a site. Google updates Page rank once approximately every three months, while SERP may change frequently.

Building Page Rank
Producing quality work with fresh content helps to build the page rank of the site, but it doesn’t happen overnight. If you have your own blog or website, have patience. Provide the reader with valuable information, seek links from high ranked sites, use good anchor text and create a site that is easy to navigate and page rank will take care of itself.

Improving SERP
Meanwhile, follow good SEO practices to improve SERP, by using relevant keywords and avoiding keyword stuffing--or attempts to trick the system by adding high paying keywords that don’t relate to your topic. Although it may seem like a great idea at the time, attempting to draw traffic to ads by slipping in a few high paying keywords can (and often does) come back to haunt you, as readers decide to go elsewhere to find the information they seek.

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