PageRank is a mystery to many. This is not helped by the fact that there are almost uncountable misconceptions and fallacies about it being circulated on the web. Here then are the top five myths about PageRank, and the real deal behind the PageRank toolbar.
The quality of a link is determined by the (Toolbar) PR of the site or page it comes from. This just isn’t so. Google takes into account the relevance of the page or site to your site. You can have a PR 7 page linking to you, but if it is from NASA and your site is about puppy hoodies, how relevant is it?
A link from a (Toolbar) PR 7 page will boost your (Toolbar) PR to 6. Again, relevance matters. Just because you have links from high PR pages or sites doesn’t mean you automatically qualify. You or your SEO firm must handpick sites with relevance to your own.
The PageRank Toolbar reflects how many visitors there are to your page. Nope, doesn’t have a thing to do with it. Yes, the number of visitors may have some impact, but it would be only one in the hundred plus factors that go in to the calculation.
Your PageRank goes up automatically as you add links to your site. For the umpteenth time, relevance. It doesn’t matter how many sites you link to if you don’t cherry pick the ones that relate to your site.
Finally, the worst myth of all; other sites are leeches that will drain your PageRank away if you link out to them. If I vote for another person to be mayor of cat boot town, do I diminish my rep as the king of dog hood city ? It doesn’t work like that. You can link out to a hundred relevant sites and all you are doing is making it easier for you customers to find what they need. If you go to the trouble of making sure outbound links open in a new window, you increase the chances of a visit after they check out your colleagues as well.
There is no reason to panic about PageRank. It does matter when climbing the SERPs, but relevance and good content still matter too! Don’t get so hung up on one aspect that you forget the other things that matter . A good SEO will make sure that you understand a good linking strategy is just that – a strategic move on the board of the web but not by any means the only plan of attack and certainly not the whole game.