Anyone who cares anything about natural search optimization has probably heard about Google’s infamous PageRank system. But you might not realize that there are two different services with the same name.
The one that most people know about is Google PageRank, the little item that installs in your Google toolbar and tells you how valuable Google thinks a particular web site is. Each site is rated on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being useless and 10 being extremely valuable. This system makes its determinations based on a series of evaluations of the web site: how many external sites link to this site, how keyword rich is the content, etc. And while those are important issues for any site, you should know that this is NOT “the” page rank system that Google really uses behind the scenes. The toolbar item is more like a little toy, entertaining but not necessarily all that meaningful.
What you do care about is Google’s internal page rank system. This is an incredibly complex algorithm that uses hundreds of variables to determine the ranking of a web page. It is what determines where you appear in Google’s search page results. Among the variables considered, external links to your site is at the top of the list. So start talking to partners and your channel about linking to your site. And make sure you’ve got a good PR program in place; the value of a link from one of the big industry magazine will far outweigh one from a small, static site.
Google also cares about internal links within your site (do your press releases link to the product data sheets, do product data sheets link to relevant case histories, etc.). Content is still king and must be updated regularly.
And clean up your sites code so navigation is clean and pages load faster and use less bandwidth. There isn’t enough bandwidth or electricity for any company to search and index the entire Internet, so even Google has to make choices about which sites to spider and which to index.
Ultimately, Google will tell you that the way to get better rankings is to create a community of like-minded individuals that builds its popularity over time.