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doing so alone will not result in transference of the said equity, unless all the incoming links
are changed to target the new location on the web sites that contain the links (needless to say,
this is not likely to be a successful endeavor). The solution is to inform the search engines about
the change using redirects, which would also result in equity transference. Without a proper
redirect, there is no way for a search engine to know that the links are associated with the new
URL, and the URL equity is thusly entirely lost.
2.
Bookmark equity.
Users will often bookmark useful URLs in their browsers, and more recently
in social bookmarking web sites. Moving content to a new URL will forgo the traffic resulting
from these bookmarks unless a redirect is used to inform the browser that the content has moved.
Without a redirect, a user will likely receive an error message stating that the content is not
available.
3.
Direct citation equity.
Last but not least, other sites may cite and link to URLs on your web
site. That may drive a significant amount of traffic to your web site in itself. Moving content to
a new URL will forgo the traffic resulting from these links unless a redirect is used to inform
the browser that the content has moved.
Therefore, before changing any URLs, log files or web analytics should be consulted. One must under-
stand the value in a URL. Web analytics are particularly useful in this case because the information is
provided in an easy, understandable, summarized format. If a URL must be changed, one may want to
employ a 301-redirect. This will transfer the equity in all three cases. Redirects are discussed at length in
Chapter 4, “Content Relocation and HTTP Status Codes.”
Google PageRank
PageRank is an algorithm patented by Google that measures a particular page’s importance relative to
other pages included in the search engine’s index. It was invented in the late 1990s by Larry Page and
Sergey Brin. PageRank implements the concept of link equity as a ranking factor.
PageRank approximates the likelihood that a user, randomly clicking links throughout the Internet, will
arrive at that particular page. A page that is arrived at more often is likely more important — and has a
higher PageRank. Each page linking to another page increases the PageRank of that other page. Pages
with higher PageRank typically increase the PageRank of the other page more on that basis. You can
read a few details about the PageRank algorithm at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank
.
To view a site’s PageRank, install the Google toolbar (
http://toolbar.google.com/
) and enable
the PageRank feature, or install the SearchStatus plugin for Firefox (
http://www.quirk.biz/
searchstatus/
). One thing to note, however, is that the PageRank indicated by Google is a cached
value, and is usually out of date.
PageRank values are published only a few times per year, and sometimes using out-
dated information. Therefore, PageRank is not a terribly accurate metric. Google
itself is likely using a more current value for rankings.
PageRank considers a link to a page as a vote, indicating importance.
15
Chapter 2: A Primer in Basic SEO
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