Page Rank or Visitors?

Here’s a question I saw in a forum this week:  is it better to have a good page rank or lots of visitors to your site.

The person in question had a site which was focused on design and design services, so my opening response was that what they really wanted was lots of visitors who were looking to buy design services.

A statement of the obvious, I know, but it opens up another thought which I think is worth reiterating: how much attention should you focus on all the SEO type stuff (of which page rank is a bit)?

If you’ve seen my other articles on this you’ll know that I do believe in getting the basics right.  That means getting your on-site SEO sorted out and getting some links to your site.  There are several articles on that here.

But once you’ve got the basics done then you should focus on providing a valuable resource to your visitors.  If you don’t they’ll not only leave (quickly), but the search engines will work it out too and they’ll stop sending you any visitors at all.

So how do you provide a valuable resource?

Well, for a start, stop thinking of yourself as a blogger, or a webmaster.  Think of yourself as a publisher.

Which is, after all, what you are:  an online publisher.

A publisher is not going to publish stuff that’s not going to make him any money.  So when he’s looking for stuff to publish he needs to know there’s a market for it, and that what he’s thinking of publishing provides value to that market.

It’s no different if you’re publishing a website – unless you’re purely writing for your own gratification or a few specific friends.

You need to know there’s a market for what you’re publishing and you need to provide value to that market.  If you do, they’ll visit your site, tell their friends, who’ll also visit your site and tell their friends.

Before you know it you’ve got yourself a following.

The good thing about that is this: the search engines will notice that people are staying on your site longer and returning more often.  So they’ll send more people your way.

Some of those people may link to your site, if they have sites of their own. And before you know it your page rank will start to rise.

So, once you’ve done the basics forget about all the SEO stuff.

Just produce high quality, good value information, which is regularly updated and meets the needs of your market, and the SEO stuff will take care of itself.


Martin Malden

About the author: Martin has been working online since 2006 and focuses on two areas: 1) affiliate marketing and 2) designing and building websites based on WordPress. He has his own WordPress agency, and serves clients in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK.

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  • Anthony Lawrence Jan 5, 2009 @ 8:24

    “the search engines will notice that people are staying on your site longer”

    I don’t think “staying” is necessarily important to page rank or even to you as the owner. I don’t mean that it’s unimportant, but only that it doesn’t always matter and can even be exactly what you do not want!

    For example, I have several pages that have been page 1 position one in Google for several years. They are “problem solving” pages; for example how to fix a lost Linux password.

    If someone searches “lost root password” or “lost linux password”, they’ll get my page as the top Google hit. The bounce rate on those pages is almost 90% – meaning that all but a handful of visitors leave without reading anything else.

    But why wouldn’t they? Losing a root password is a serious issue – when they find the answer, the most likely next step is to immediately go apply the fix and get on with whatever they were trying to do.

    If I sort by bounce rate and ignore low volume pages, the pages with high bounce rates are usually “problem solvers”.

    A blog that gets most of its traffic from regular subscribers (high repeat visitors) is going to show a smaller number of average page views per visit – a higher bounce rate- because those folks have visited regularly, have already read the other pages, why would they read them again?

    Finally, for a sales website, trying to drive visitors to that final page where they place their order, a high number of page views per visitor – low bounce rate – might indicate confusion: they can’t find what they need to know and you may be losing sales because of it.

    So bounce ratee and page views per visitor can mean good or bad..

    • WealthyDragon Jan 5, 2009 @ 15:52

      Tony, hi,

      Thanks! Yes – I absolutely hear what you’re saying and I hadn’t looked at it that way until a few days ago when I read one of your posts that covered exactly this.

      I can see that a high bounce rate is good on a sales site if the link they’re leaving through is your affiliate (or buy now) link in order to make a purchase. Not if it’s not!

      I guess it also depends on how they arrive there. For example – if they arrive through a natural search and bounce, it’s probably because you’ve solved their problem, made a sale or your page is completely irrelevant.

      If they arrive as a result of a content network ad (Adsense, Adbrite, etc) they’re more likely to be browsers, rather than people looking for a solution – does that make sense..?

      I actually quite like to see people exploring the different pages on both my blog and my travel site, although that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to leave through an affiliate link! I guess it’s just my ego they’re feeding 🙂