Google PR Update
My old church in Urbana, Illinois has broken through the barrier from PR4 to PR5 today. It's a small website without much content, and amazingly almost every page has a PageRank of 5. What's especially interesting is that most of this site hasn't been updated in years. The photo on the homepage is one that I took four or five years ago. And unfortunately, this high PageRank does not translate into a good placement on the results page when searching for churches in Urbana or Champaign. I believe this easily rectified, however, and I hope to talk with the church webmistress to suggest some fixes. I'll let you know how that goes. The pages have good content and is easy for users to navigate.
I've also been following this church in Sacramento, California. Their church website lost PageRank today, dropping from 4 to 3. One of the people on their web team told me that this is "evidence that a static page that has not been updated will lose rank... and fast." This is contrary to the experience I cited about the Urbana church website. This team is aggressive on their web optimization, using numerous Technorati and Flickr tags, several gateway sites, and extensive crosslinking across sites in an attempt to boost the number of inbound links to their church website. Done clumsily, these techniques will result in Google detecting this as an attempt to spam or game their algorithms, and if it's bad enough Google will ban your site from their results completely.
What are the lessons to learn? Don't try to game the system -- make your site user-friendly and easily navigable, and include good content. For high placement, though, this might not be quite enough. For that, keywords in your pages and in anchor text linking to your site are the key. Read the other articles on this blog for more information.
Where does your church website place in Google? Search for "church city, state or province." Let me know how you're doing in the comment section.
Technorati tag: seo | google