There are varying opinions regarding the terms Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and PageRank (PR). Many say that these two are entirely different, independent and are not related with one another while others say they are directly related, as one decreases the other follows and as one improves the other one increases. It doesn’t need to be an expert in SEO to explain the relevance, difference and relation of these two terms. One just got to have an open mind and understand the algorithm that is presented by the Google Corporate Technology.
What is SERP?
SERP is listing of Web pages shown or returned by Search Engines (Google in this case) in response to searches made by Internet users. Google shows a list of websites (usually ten per page) that is considered relevant based on the keywords used by the searcher. The first page or top SERP is the most important page of all and this is where every webmaster wants their websites to be presented; to hold a position within the top ten websites that will be listed. Having a rank in this important results page will increase the chances of being visited by Internet users because people searching the Internet seldom go the next page of search results.
What is PageRank?
So now let’s define what is PageRank or PR. Stated briefly, PR is a trademark of Google, it belongs only to Google and it is used to rank websites to show their importance, quality and popularity in the Internet. Valuation of PR is all about quality links pointing to a certain website. Now there are many reasons why websites link to other websites, it might be there importance, useful content, reference or quality. These links also serve as votes and the more quality backlinks a website acquires from other websites, it is assumed that its PR will be higher. These links will be evaluated by Google and will be used in the computation of a website’s PR.
Improving PageRank will Increase Your Rank in SERP
“PageRank Technology: PageRank reflects our view of the importance of web pages by considering more than 500 million variables and 2 billion terms. Pages that we believe are important pages receive a higher PageRank and are more likely to appear at the top of the search results.”
The above is quoted from Google Corporate Technology Overview (at the time of this writing). It is self-explanatory and clearly states that improving your PR will definitely increase your chances in landing at the top results. Take note that this is only one way on how Google decides which websites will be chosen to be listed at the top of SERP, another way will be discussed later. Now, the direct relation of PR to SERP is presented plainly here. If a website’s PR increases then the chances of having a good listing in SERP also improve but take note, it does not always work the other way around or vice versa, having a low PR does not always mean a website’s status in SERP will lessen or drop.
Your Rank in SERP Can Increase Even with a Low or No PageRank
“Hypertext-Matching Analysis: Our search engine also analyzes page content….our technology analyzes the full content of a page and factors in fonts, subdivisions and the precise location of each word. We also analyze the content of neighboring web pages to ensure the results returned are the most relevant to a user’s query.”
Again, the above is quoted from Google Corporate Technology Overview (at the time of this writing). This is the second way on how Google determines which websites will be presented at the top search results. This method does not require the use of PR but rather the relevance of the content based on the keywords being searched by Internet users. This is the reason why some websites even with zero or low PR or which are new in the Internet lands at the top ten search results. This is also the reason why some webmasters might say to go for SERP and not PR, not knowing that PR also plays an important role in SERP rank. They don’t realize that the relevance of content matched against the keywords being searched is the method being used on who lands at the top search results. So in my opinion, if two competing Web pages having similar content and targeting the same set of keywords are indexed, the one with the higher PR will be rightfully chosen.
These two are just an overview on how Google presents its SERP, it may be the use of PR, the use and relevance of keywords or both. It is a very complex process and currently no one really knows the latest algorithm used by Google as it is no longer announced or made known publicly, but rest assured Google is doing great in providing the most relevant search results in the Web. So in order to increase your website’s chances to land at the top search results, to have a good rank in Google SERP, place good content in your website and improve its PR by acquiring quality backlinks.