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There is More to Internet Marketing Than Google 

Added: 09/25/2007, Hits: 2,950, Rating: 0, Comments: 0, Votes: 0
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Google and its PageRank algorithm have been the marketing buzzwords for a while now. So much so that it seems rare to find webmasters and SEO specialists talking about anything else. In this article, I am going to explain why focusing solely on PageRank is a flawed way to look at internet marketing.

Let me preface the rest of this article by saying that PR is important! It just isn't as important as many articles and forum posts would have you believe. The marketing world keeps staring at that little green PR bar and has forgotten that TRAFFIC is what internet marketing is all about.

For starters, the PageRank system is inherently flawed because you can buy PR. Buy a few text links on sites with a PR8, for example, and watch your PageRank go. Those with money have an unfair advantage in a system that is supposed to be based on relevancy and good results.

Unfortunately, people assume that PR is a representation of traffic. For example, if you visit 2 web pages and one of them has a PR of 5 and the other has a 6, one would logically assume that the site with the 6 gets more traffic. This may or may not be true. In fact, it is possible that the PR5 site gets WAY more traffic than the PR6 site. This means that the average Google loving SEO specialist is going to pick the PR6 site to exchange links with (or buy advertising on) over the PR5 site, but you see the fallacy here, right? All things being equal, the PR6 site may benefit your page rank, which may increase your traffic a little as the result of better placement in the search results, but what if you missed out on a huge chunk of traffic from the popular PR5 site?

Google doesn't know your industry, and because of that PageRank can't help you make decisions regarding branding. As a real world example, on one of our other sites we recently exchanged links with a related site. Their links page has a PR of 0, and I know that most marketers would consider that a complete waste of time. Fortunately, I am not a marketer and I know my industry. Our new link partner is a very well respected site that gets a lot of traffic and when other webmasters see our link there, they may consider linking to us. More importantly, we instantly started receiving traffic from them. Actions like this are contrary to what many SEO marketers suggest to their clients.

On a related topic, many SEO folk will tell you not to link to a site that has a lower PR than you. I think this is a tragic philosophy. A small or new site could be tomorrow's megasite. Once a site gets big, they will be very reluctant to add a link to yours, particularly if you snubbed them while they were young. Sites with a high PR and those with a lot of traffic are constantly hounded and even spammed with link exchange requests. It is to the point that most medium to large sites ignore them.

Another problem with relying too heavily on Google is that they periodically change their algorithm. It is likely that it will continue to remain dependent on the concept of link popularity, however, decisions you make now may not be the best choices for the future. Furthermore, things change quickly in the internet and Google may not always have the clout that they currently do. In fact, I think we have all seen a major decrease in the overall quality of search results during the last couple of years. Let's also not forget that Microsoft would love to have a bigger piece of the search pie, and history has proven that Microsoft usually gets what it wants. I am not saying that Google is a flash-in-the-pan empire, however, I think most of us remember when Yahoo was king followed by AltaVista.

There is no denying that Google is brilliant. They have devised a way to keep webmasters and marketers slaving away for whatever crumbs they feel you deserve, while life on the internet goes on. I believe it is time to get back to old-fashioned marketing. I believe that the best way to improve your traffic is to follow these basic rules:
  1. Continuously add useful content to your site and update your site often.

  2. Get as many links to your site on related sites as you can, no matter what their PR is.

  3. Make your outbound links to quality sites no matter how high their PR or how much traffic they get. The internet is supposed to be a place where people can find quality information, products, and services. By linking to quality sites, you provide a useful service to your visitors. Do not worry about the number of outbound links you have on your links page. If those links are all reciprocated, then they belong there.

  4. Do not optimize your site for search engines at the expense of your users' experience. There is no point in getting more traffic if they will not stick around because your site is horrible to navigate and has little or no worthwhile content.

  5. If you want to purchase advertising on another site, worry more about their relevance to your site, reputation, traffic levels, and quality of service than their PR.

I believe that these are the best internet marketing strategies over the long haul. Good luck!

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