Google Style Guide and PageRank Update

To help web developers maintain a common style, on April 25th Google published its own HTML and CSS Style Guide containing best practices to encourage better coding etiquette.  Google’s HTML/CSS Style Guide promotes good style advice that is also good performance advice, making it a good standard to use.

Great code has many attributes. It’s effective, efficient, maintainable, elegant. When working on code with many developers and teams and maybe even companies, great code needs to also be consistent and easy to understand. For that purpose there are style guides. We use style guides for a lot of languages, and our newest public style guide is the Google HTML and CSS Style Guide. via Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Coding guidelines for HTML and CSS.

PageRank Update

In 2009 Google removed the PageRank that used to be stated in our webmasters accounts and has downplayed the value of PageRank. This is because web masters became obsessive about attempting to game search engine results. Google also did a Toolbar PageRank Update yesterday. The last one was in February and these take place at roughly 3 month intervals ie. 4 updates annually, as Google’s Matt Cutts shares in the video below.

How do PageRank updates work?

PageRank calculation is Google’s way of deciding relative importance of a webpage. PageRank is a numeric value that represents how important a page is on the web. Google figures that when one page links to another page, it is effectively casting a vote for the other page. The more votes that are cast for a page, the more important the page must be. Also, the importance of the page that is casting the vote determines how important the vote itself is. Google calculates a page’s importance from the votes cast for it. How important each vote is is taken into account when a page’s PageRank is calculated. It matters because it is one of the factors that determines a page’s ranking in the search results. It isn’t the only factor that Google uses to rank pages, but it is an important one. Source: Google’s PageRank explained and how to make the most of it

These are the positive factors that Google’s algorithm takes into consideration:

1. Keyword Use In Title Tag
2. Global Link Popularity Of The Site
3. Anchor Text Of Incoming Links
4. Link Popularity Within The Site
5. Age Of The Site

These are the negative factors that Google’s algorithm takes into consideration:

1. Server Is Often Inaccessible To Googlebot
2. Content Which Is Very Similar Or Duplicate to Existing Content On The Web
3. External Links To Low Quality Sites
4. Participation In Link Schemes or Actively Selling Links
5. Duplicate Meta Tags On More Pages

If your site’s PageRank dropped in this last update, below is a video by Google’s Matt Cutts explaining why this may have happened:

How can I identify causes of a PageRank drop?

There are many factors that go into PageRank calculations. The most persuasive factor is backlinks to your posts, especially those from high authority blogs. Normally a blog does not achieve a PageRank until after 6 months have passed. This is referred to as being in Google’s sandbox and during this timeframe you have an opportunity to build search engine trust. Why is that necessary because the majority of all sites created every day are created by spammers and sploggers.  Develop a site strategy that effectively addresses the positive and negative factors for determination of PageRank. Make it part of your blog strategy to focus your attention on the following:

  • publishing high quality unique content frequently;
  • creating clean code and ensuring your site validates;
  • using keywords in your content naturally and tagging properly so the content can be found and indexed;
  • linking to exceptional content on authoritative sites with PageRank;
  • being careful not to link too link to frequently to sites with lower PageRank and/or to avoiding reciprocal link exchanges with unrealted sites.

*You shouldn’t link to any content unless it’s exceptional and related – this goes double when your site is new and in the 6 month Google sandbox. You earn Google’s trust by linking to authoritative sites with PageRank, and not to too many new sites.

30 thoughts on “Google Style Guide and PageRank Update

    1. According to Google translate what “aneh baget” means in Indonesian is “weird”. When you leave comments like this on blogs published in English that no one can understand those who receive them may mark tham as spam. If many of your comments get sent to spam eventually all comments you make are considered to be spam.

  1. Hi TT

    I am very very new at blogging so am totally confused by most of it!! I love to write and have started to do so but with absolutely NO followers! I wonder how I can attract followers? Do they have to be part of WordPress or can anyone reply? Also I like to read other peoples blogs linked to various article – perhaps in newspapers etc.. do I have to leave them my wordpress link for them to reply to me? I work as a part time journalist and do not have a website so was hoping my blog would be a good place to guide prospective publications to too see a sample of my writing and hopefully a link to my work. How do I guide them to this??
    Hope you can help!!

    1. The best way to attract followers is to locate similar blogs and start commenting on them. No they do not have to be WordPress.com bloggers. If you link you username to your blog then when you leave a comment people can click it and arrive in your blog. It’s very easy to do.

      Here’s how to link your username to your blog in your blog Dashboard -> Users -> Personal Settings -> then scroll down to Account Details. Then scroll down to where it says ‘Primary Blog‘ select the URL for your primary wordpress.com blog and then save changes.

      Now every time you sign into the forum we can all click on your username and your blog will be linked to it. And every time you leave a comment on a blog your username can be likewise clicked and your blog can be instantly located.

      On the bottom of your Admin page you will find a link to the Learn WordPress.com blogging Tutorial prepared by Staff. http://learn.wordpress.com/ The support documentation is all found at the Support link http://en.support.wordpress.com which is also on the bottom of your Admin page.

      Here are 25 basic steps to take to increase traffic to your blog:
      1. Structure a reader and search engine blog;
      2. In blogging content is king create unique, high quality content so publish fresh content frequently;
      3. Learn basic SEO so you can use keywords effectively and apply basic SEO to your headlines, blog and posts;
      Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.
      4. Make your blog posts look professional;
      5. Create at least 4-6 pillar posts and continue to create pillar posts;
      Pillar posts are also referred to as flagship content. Pillar posts are comprehensive posts that offer great value to readers as the contents are timeless in nature. They define you as having authority in the niche you blog in.
      6. Select and link to appropriate anchor text;
      7. Leave meaningful comments on related blogs and encourage comments on your own blog;
      8. Develop relationships with other bloggers so you can build a blog readers’ community around your own blog;
      9. Support the blog centered communities on related blogs by commenting on them and promoting posts from them;
      10. Link to authoritative sources in your posts;
      11. Deep link to your earlier related posts in your new posts;
      12. Assign appropriate categories and tag your posts with care;
      13. Link to related authoritative blogs in your blogroll;
      14. Provide RSS feeds for subscribers;
      RSS (Rich Site Summary or really simple syndication) is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news-related sites, weblogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants it.
      15. Having a well designed theme is important, evaluate your theme for effectiveness, and if required, create a new header, make improvements or replace your theme and reduce page loading time;
      16. Avoid cluttering your blog with widgets that lack reader value and slow page loading time;
      17. Buy your own domain and domain mapping;
      18. Verify your blog with the three big search engines.
      19. Get organized, use an online to do list by developing a blogging workflow;
      20. Join social networks and social media sites like Facebook and use Twitter, Friendfeed and other Free RSS directories to promote your blog posts;
      21. Promote your blog through social networks, online groups, and selected directories;
      22. Develop a social media time management strategy and stick to it;
      23. Submit your latest pillar article to a blog carnival;
      24. Become a guest blogger on sites with higher page rank than your own site.
      25. Create newsletters and/or ebooks for your subscribers.

      You may want to read this post > http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2012/04/20/a-freelance-writing-business/

  2. All this PageRank stuff is quite interesting but it might not to easy to manage depending on the blog we have. I usually write few articles every day in another blog and I often need to link to external websites. A product, a service, a blogger and so on. It would be impossible to check every pagerank. But I know we can use the nofollow attribute. Now, I’ve read Google is changing how they see these nofollow links and someone said they might not consider them very well now. So, I don’t understand why! If we need to link to an external source, and we are not sure about it, the only way is to use a nofollow attribute. And usually I have a good balance of follow and nofollow links. What do you think about it?

  3. Hi TT. Thanks for the update. You have such a great way of explaining your posts, I prefer reading your take on Google than their own, and when on your site, I always find myself reading the comments. (Don’t get too far with that on many other sites) . Anyway is it still true that Google has around 180 different factors that their algorithm uses for deciding on their page-rankings?

    1. Thanks so much for letting me and my commenters know you are finding value in my blog. I don’t know exactly how many factors there are and I believe only Google Staff know that. The algorithm is being continuously updated.

  4. … being in Google’s sandbox… I’m embarrassed to say that was my favorite part of this post! : P

    I’d never heard that expression before. No wonder I had sand between my toes for months after starting my blog! Of course, that doesn’t explain the grit I have now… : (

  5. TT, I was wondering if you could help me. I was getting a feedjit.com live traffic feed for my wordpress.com blog and I am trying to upload it. it said that I need to upload it at my plugins/add-new menu on the left side when I log in. I can’t see that. It also has another option to get it up on my sidebar but I can’t find that ither. help please? Any help is much appreciated. Thank you :)Here is the link to the site that told me to do this.
    http://feedjit.com/freeLiveTrafficFeed/#getWordpress

  6. Hello timethief,
    Thanks for your beautiful explanations along with the links to the appropriate and short videos (from the horses mouth). I love your blog and it has been of immense help to me as I am currently in the process of setting up my own website/blog. Thank you very much.

  7. Ok if I import my blog posts from one a 2nd blog of mine that will be shut down in a few months, does that mean the receiving blog from 2nd blog, will get ranked lower on google.

    How could I even avoid this even if I add more brief commentary in the recipient blog that continues to exist with also brand new unique blog posts that I write?

    I feel tired…

    1. Suppose you have an export file. After the first blog is shut down it will take about 3 – 6 months before the content in the blog that was indexed before it was shut down disappears form the SERPS (search engine page results) when Google flushes their cache. Everyone who locates the material in the SERPs and clicks a link will experience a 404 (page not found). If you import during that period of time then it will be indexed and there will appear be duplicate content in the SERPs, which may or may not affect your receiving blog’s PR. However, after the original indexed content is no longer appearing in the SERPs there won’t be any problem.

      “Duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results. If your site suffers from duplicate content issues, and you don’t follow the advice listed above, we do a good job of choosing a version of the content to show in our search results.” http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66359

  8. Just thinking about page rank makes my head want to spin. Thanks for the explanaiton. I haven’t listened to the videos yet as I have a big work day ahead. It’s strategic not to link to sites with lower Page Rank but that would cut out many of the blogs I love! The dilemma of authentic blogging…is there such a thing or does it makes sense just to get real!

    1. Let me add some context for you. When I first began to blog one could join a web ring and to have one’s blog included one was compelled to a lengthy blogroll (100’s of links). That was common practice and it has taken years to die out — in fact it’s still happening now. The links in such web ring Blogrolls were to blogs that I had never visited or read so I balked at that.

      Instead I chose to do exactly what I have always done when writing College or University papers ie. I linked only to sites that had content I read and considered to be authoritative. As my own blog’s PageRanks slowly increased, from time to time I did choose to link to what I believed to be excellent material in articles on sites that had yet to earn PageRanks or had low PageRanks.

      I don’t think there’s anything “un-real” about choosing not to post links too many sites with no or low PageRanks in a Blogroll or in one’s posts. Both the articles we link to in or posts and in our Blogrolls are recommendations we make to our readers. In my opinion it makes sense to recommend the best sources of information we can find on any given subject, and that doesn’t preclude linking to high quality information of some sites that are new and have no or low PageRanks. It’s really a matter of balance.

      1. Thanks for adding this context! I realized with horror that my comment might sound critical. I agree with you that there’s nothing wrong with linking to top quality sites. It’s good to be reminded that it’s a matter of balance and the idea isn’t necessarily to eliminate links to quality sites that have lower page ranks being newer to the blogosphere. Again, apologies if I sounded critical in anyway. Thanks for your clarifications.

        1. Hi Sandra,
          I didn’t take your comment as being critical and not to worry as I don’t shy away from criticsm. For the first 6 months all sites are in the Google sandbox or trustbox. Using the self improvement niche as an example, I think we can agree that we see lots of the same material (not plagarized) appearing on new sites every day. Some are involved in affiliate marketing schemes and reciprocal linking schemes that I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole. Many don’t earn Google’s trust in the first 6 months and achieve a PageRank because they don’t deserve it. That’s why we need to be careful about which sites we link to and being careful means deactivating our AdBlockers and looking very, very closely at new sites before we choose to link to them in our Blogrolls or content.

      2. Wow. I actually just checked out Goggle’s webmaster tools, and they have helped me a great deal! I submitted a sitemap, which was very easy by just putting my RSS feed into the webmaster tools. Then I submitted several “crawls” to Google. I have noticed an increase of traffic after doing this. Now, once I post a new post. I go to Google-Webmaster Tools-and submit my new post to be “crawled” by Google. Thank you for this post, it has helped me tremendously!

        Question: Do you have a post on this site concerning Gravatars? I cannot locate it anywhere. When I click on a “like” button that someone put on my post, It just goes to their Gravatar profile, and I cannot get their actual blog. Is there a way to fix that? Also, when I put a like on someone else’s blog, my little cat picture sometimes does not show up. How do I fix that? Do you recommend putting my picture in the Gravatar profile?

        Why do we need the Gravatar profile? Wouldn’t people just put all of that on the about page?

        Do you have a post on Facebook? I just put my blog on Facebook, but I don’t know how it can help my site. I want to remain as Liz Fruitberry on Facebook.

        Sorry, it’s just this Gravatar and Facebook thing is a litttle confusing!

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