Why new websites get high PR – explained

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April 30, 2008 // seo

Page rank on new websites

As you will all know by now yesterday saw the third PR update in 2008 and we are only in April. The majority of webmasters will care more about SERPS more than PR but if you monitor your site enough you will see some correlation involved.

A few months ago I entered the “Yicrosoft Directory” competition at SEO Noobs dot com, although I didn’t win I implemented a some standard SEO practices on a standard WordPress theme and built up under 100 backlinks with 3-4 variations of anchor texts.

Now what is strange is that on reflection on the new update I looked at my site which I hadn’t touched in months or even accessed. To my surprise the little green bar was displaying a PR4, I then proceeded to look at the PR for the top 4 sites under “Yicrosoft directory” and their page ranks were all 4-6. Quite high I’m sure you will agree for websites that are only a few months old about a subject that was made up. This is also not the first time blogs and websites have received high PR updates on young domains.

Now what I believe Google to be doing here is ranking based on an industry level. Say for example you want to rank for a competitive term such as “bank loans” – you may have a 3 year old domain, 50k backlinks and an SEO friendly website, however you still only have a PR of 3 or 4.

Matt…what are you talking about – explain yourself immediately?

Ok, stay with me here – If you have a new keyword phrase, as we all played for (Yicrosoft directory) then out of all websites competing for the term the distribution is shared.

For example:

“mortgages”
Position 1 – PR 6
o Backlinks: 3 Million
o Domain Age: 2001
Position 50 – PR 4
o Backlinks: 6,000
o Domain Age: 1996

“Yicrosoft Directory”
• Position 1 – PR 6
o Backlinks: 2,000
o Domain Age: Feb 2008
• Position 50 – PR 2
o Backlinks: 273
o Domain Age: Feb 2008

I know I have only used 4 examples here but you can see the PR’s match but what doesn’t match are the backlinks and domain ages.

So I guess what I’m trying to explain here is that for your website to rank well in the SERPS and achieve a high PR in competitive industries is a lot harder than on less searched terms. Although this conclusion is far from revolutionary, it does explain why new websites and blogs are ranking highly in Page Rank. To me this indicates the up most relevancy and value of a link to your industry or service, random PR links may not be as valuable to you if they are not directly related.


Matt Ridout

About the author

My name is Matt Ridout, I've been working in digital marketing for 9 years; worked for agencies and currently Head of SEO at fashion startup called Farfetch. Try to test my own theories.

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