A few notes about Page Rank
There are a number of things wrong in the Gazette story “Gazette Online tops Google for Phuket” that should have most webmasters up in arms.
Firstly, the Gazette Online does not top Google for Phuket. But we’ll get back to that.
From The Phuket Gazette:
As the result of a recent fine tuning in the way Google ranks the “importance” (popularity) of websites around the world, the Gazette Online is now tie for Number One with Phuket.Com for sites in or about Phuket.
There was no “recent fine tuning” of the way Google ranks sites. The ranking of websites in Google is constantly changing and it’s based on a number of factors, primarily the importance of a website as determined by the number of linkbacks it has and where those linkbacks come from, as well as the content and organization of the website in question. Google’s algorithm for Page Rank can be seen here. Bear in mind, however, that Page Rank is a mere number and it alone does not determine where a website ranks on search engine results pages.
With a Google ranking of ‘6’, the two sites share the highest rating Google confers for Phuket, and they are the only sites to have achieved that rating.
There is no such thing as “Google ranking”. There is Page Rank, which experienced webmasters know only goes some way to determining a website’s traffic. In theory, there is no reason why PhuketGazette.com and Phuket.com could not have a Page Rank of 7, 8, 9 or even 10.
According to Anna Susangrat, general manager for digital products at the Gazette, the company’s website owes its position in Google not only to news but also to the variety of its other content.
“We cannot know exactly what Google looks for in assigning its ratings,” she says. “But we believe variety is critical. What’s given our site its Google power can’t be just news alone. Google also puts us on top for ‘Phuket Events’ and ‘Phuket Classifieds’, and as Number One for ‘Phuket Television’ and a number of other key search terms.”
This could be the Gazette’s “SEO expert” speaking, who was perhaps responsible for optimizing the Gazette’s website, most notably in its headline structure. It is, however, well known what Google looks for in its ratings. It looks for backlinks and content, among other things. There is also no such thing as “Google power”. And the top website in Google for “Phuket classifieds” is actually Thailand-Classified.com while for “Phuket events” the Gazette falls behind Phuket.com, so “on top” isn’t correct.
There are eight Websites with Google’s second highest ranking (‘5’) for Phuket: These are: Wikipedia Phuket, Agoda Phuket, Phuket-maps.Com, TourismThailand.Org, Phuket-Guide.Net, PhuketTourism.Org, PhuketHospital.Com, and LagunaPhuket.Com.
These major sites are followed by roughly 1,000 other listings in Google’s search results under the critical key word ‘Phuket’.
One of the mistakes amateur webmasters make when they discover Page Rank is to focus their efforts on increasing their Page Rank, instead of focusing on developing rankings on search engine results pages. A quick search reveals that the Gazette website does not rank in the top 100 for the terms “Patong”, “Kata” or “Karon”.
Also, it should be noted that Wikipedia Phuket, Agoda Phuket and the Tourism Thailand Phuket page are web pages, not websites, and the Page Rank of the sites is 8, 6 and 7 respectively. AOT also has a web page about Phuket with a Page Rank of 5. And let’s not forget Phuket Airport Online, which has Page Rank 5 for its homepage.
Plus, in Google, there are actually more than 11 million results, not “listings”, for the search term “Phuket” — just a little more than “roughly 1,000”.
As a primary source of information about Phuket, the Phuket Gazette has a responsibility to better inform its readership about the subject matter it covers. Spreading this kind of disinformation only serves to confuse readers.
If the Gazette wants to boast about its stats, it should share information about any increase in the number of unique hits the website receives with a focus on any improvement in keyword areas. This would be an easy opportunity for the Gazette to seek out the services of a writer who knows about Page Rank instead of relying on sloppy journalism.