Sunday, June 14, 2009

Why did my PageRank go up?

It occurred to me last time I was posting to glance upward at the PageRank meter in my Google toolbar, which I hadn't done in a while. The last time I looked was months before, and it was ranked a 3 at the time --- that was before I reached my point of winter burnout and returned to full-time hours at work, which has in turn resulted in a complete cessation of my promotional activities (no comments on other blogs) and my, as of late, neglectful posting rate of once-per-month.

So you can imagine my surprise when I saw that Ink and Beans is now ranked a "5." How did that happen?

My understanding was that PageRank is determined primarily by the number of websites linking to you and the relevance of those sites, i.e. how highly ranked are those sites linking to yours? This is why I'd been busting my butt to become an active member of the blogosphere, commenting on other writers' blogs, attempting to trade links, etc.

From what my Analytics report tells me, I have gained no new links to my site, which makes sense considering I've made no efforts to acquire them. And while it pleases me greatly to see that some of my linking, blogger-friends have also become more relevant in Google's eyes (friends like _holm and Highland Madness have also increased in rank since I last saw them... not that I'm keeping track guys :) ), I doubt this would contribute wholly to me jumping two points myself.

Perhaps I shouldn't question good fortune, but it frustrates me when I exerted so much effort to understand and affect a factor that, it now seems, is entirely out of my hands and beyond my understanding.

Has this increase in Google significance affected my traffic, you want to know? Somewhat, yes. I've only been posting once per month and I haven't been sending my usual e-mail and facebook alerts after doing so, yet I seem to be getting about 25 visitors per day. That means a lot more people are finding me via keyword searches on Google, which in turn is explained by my higher Google-relevance.

So I guess I'm only half complaining, but I still wish I knew what I did right, so I could do it more.