SERPs vs. PageRank – Your Google Ranking
Though it is difficult for most of us to understand, there is actually a rather large controversy among SEO experts about the most valuable parameter to consider when evaluating the performance of a website on Google. Should it be the site’s Google ranking or the site’s search results? Since, for most, the question is largely academic, it would seem to be a waste of time and effort to argue over these parameters. However, since the performance of your site is directly affected by the focus of your SEO efforts, whether you choose to promote your Google Page Rank (PR) or the Google Search Engine Results Page, known as the SERPs, will determine how successful those efforts will be.
Page Rank (PR)
“Page Rank 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.” (Borrowed from WebWorkshop.net)
In other words, the key to improving your Page Rank is the number and quality of the links you generate. The higher the PR of your links, the higher your own Page Rank will be. This is an effort by Google to inform the reader of the quality of the site they are visiting, a worthy goal, but one which actually has little effect on the search results the reader receives.
Page Rank then is merely a number, an attempt to create an objective value, assigned to a particular page such as the Home Page of your site, designed to give it a value relative to other pages. However, it has very little to do with where your page ranks in the search results.
Search Engine Results Page: SERPs
“A search engine results page (SERPs), is the listing of web pages returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query. The results normally include a list of web pages with titles, a link to the page, and a short description showing where the Keywords have matched content within the page. A SERPs may refer to a single page of links returned, or to the set of all links returned for a search query.” (Borrowed from Wikipedia.)
In other words, SERPs are the actual results of the search done by a reader seeking information on a particular subject. When that reader types in a word or phrase, a query, we all know what happens. A list of results will pop up on their screen presenting a page of listed websites which offer information on that request. These results contain links to the website, as well as a brief description of the content available.
This is where most visits to a website are generated, directly from the SERPs. These visits are referred to as “click-throughs,” and the higher a website places on the SERPs, the more click-throughs it is likely to receive.
The differences between these two measurements should now be obvious. If it is your goal to impress your friends and colleagues by being able to claim that your Google Ranking is equal to that of Google itself, you should focus on PR. However, if it is your goal to increase traffic to your website, the focus of your SEO efforts should be placed upon improving your search engine results, your SERPs.
The bottom line is this, if you want to boost your ego, focus on your Page Rank. If you want to boost your traffic, focus on your SERPs.