Seven Ways to Beef Up Your Best Pages for the Next Google PR Update

[ Image: Grotesquely muscular older man ] Time is running out! Soon, it will be time for the next Google PageRank (PR) update. While it is difficult to predict how your site will perform overall, it seems likely that your highest ranking pages will continue to rank well. The idea behind this article is to improve your site’s overall pagerank by totally beefing up your most popular pages.

Of course, every page on your site is important. Ideally, you would want to employ these techniques to every article on your site. But time is short, and Google is coming soon! The next PageRank update is slated for any day now, probably before I manage to post this article. ;) Thus, our strategy is to focus on pages that already have some Google juice flowing to them. Your most popular articles. Your best-ranked pages. Your top ten posts.

For now, focus on your ten highest-ranking pages. Then, if you still have more time, apply the formula to as many other pages as possible. Remember, your immediate goal is to improve (or maintain) the quality and PageRank of individual pages or posts. Beyond that, the ultimate goal is to improve the quality and PageRank of your entire site. The key here is to think holistically, realizing that PageRank flows from page to page throughout your site. Feel the Juice flowing through you!

One last thing before we dig into it. Keep in mind that I do not claim to be an SEO expert of any kind. I do take a great deal of interest in the subject, however, especially insofar as it affects my own online empire. Hopefully, you will find this article useful. If anything, let it be a reminder to use your own arsenal of tricks to prepare your site for the next PR update. — Good luck!

Top Seven Ways to Beef Up Your Best Pages

Grab your site’s top ten pages and make ‘em shine!

1. Freshen up the content
Your best articles are popular for a reason: people find the content useful and link to it. Great, yes, but now is not the time to walk away and forget your cornerstones. Add to them. Update them with fresh content. Make them new again. Give them that shot in the arm that will take them to the next level. A great way to add updated content is to announce the fact under a giant subheading that reads, “UPDATED!” Do some additional research and increase the relevancy of the content with your findings. You could also integrate new material directly into existing content, thereby infusing a berry fresh blast of newness and insight for your readers. If you have nothing new to add to the article, read through it again and check the grammar. Check for accuracy. There are a million ways to update and improve your content — so get freshening!
2. Enhance your meta information
SEO experts to seem to agree that search engines place significant emphasis on several key meta elements: description, robots, and keywords. Most likely, your top ten pages already have pretty good meta information. After all, they are ranking well and everything is peaches and cream, right? Wrong. There is no such thing as a “perfectly” written meta description. Compare your description and keywords with the search terms used by visitors to reach your pages. Notice any trends? You want to emphasize frequently used keywords in your meta information. Place the most common search terms right up front, repeating key phrases and terms once or twice. Eliminate terms that are never used in searches. Drop needless words. Get smart and pimp each tag to its fullest potential. Also, double check that your meta robots tag is allowing both indexing and following. Take advantage!
3. Eliminate broken links
Terminate your site’s dead links! Dead/broken links are links that point to missing or unavailable content. Due to the dynamically evolving nature of the Internet, there is a good chance that your pages contain a fair number of dead links. Beyond hurting your site’s overall PageRank, broken links make your site look sloppy. You and I both know that nobody has the time to continually check their site for dead links, but your visitors don’t see it that way. To them, that article they just found represents your finest, most recent effort. If that article is riddled with dead links, visitors may not trust your site and possibly refuse to return. An article with accurate, living links is a great resource. There are many easy ways to check your pages for dead links, including the LinkChecker Firefox extension by Kevin Freitas, and the powerful site-wide checker at dead-links.com (404 link removed 2013/06/16). Use these tools to locate problem links and then repair or eliminate them. You may also want to multitask by taking advantage of link restructuring as an opportunity to update the site’s content.
4. Clean up your comments
When was the last time you examined your site’s comments, trackbacks, and pingbacks? With hundreds of articles, checking every post may not be a reality, but repairing your top ten pages can really make a difference. When I first did this with a few of my better ranked articles, I was surprised at how many broken links I found littered throughout the comment sections. Signature links and comment links may seem legitimate initially, but often break with the passing of time. Especially if your best articles have many comments, you may discover a hefty number of busted or invalid links. Of course, removing these broken links is very important. There are many tools available — online and off — that will scan your pages and check for broken links. Xenu’s Link Sleuth is an excellent free offline link checker while the W3C Link Checker is great for quick online checks. Cleaning up your comment, pingback, and trackback links will eliminate potential PR-leakage while providing a more accurate comments section for your readers to enjoy.
5. Get more links
Add more fuel to the fire for your top pages by getting even more inbound links! When it comes to beefing up previously well-ranked pages, nothing beats a few fresh links. Grab your Google, search for articles covering related material, and contribute to other posts with intelligent comments that point to your page. Wash, rinse, repeat. If your article is technical in nature, search for on-topic forum discussions and help them out with a few insightful pointers and a link to the full story. If you provide free themes, plugins or scripts, there are always new places to announce your offerings and snatch a few links. Search for a few of your top keywords and see what comes up. Look for pages that rank well and see if your best pages can offer anything to the conversation. You get the idea. Searching for links is not my favorite thing to do, but it always proves beneficial. Just remember that it is important to find links that are meant to be, meaning that everyone benefits from it.
6. Share the wealth
Sure your top pages will probably continue to rank well with the search engines. But what about the rest of your site? Are you harnessing the power of the G-juice? Spread some of that Google love around to other pages of your site by cross-linking your posts. Keeping your best pages in mind, scan your archives of recent material, look for relevant topics, and link to them from your older, higher-ranking pages. Likewise, link to your popular pages from your lower-ranking pages. After you have interlinked as many articles as possible, use a similar posts plugin to display a list of related articles on your top pages. Conversely, you may want to use a popular posts plugin to link your best pages. Another great idea is to revive your best content by directing your visitors’s focused attention via a “Blast from the Past” type of article. In the post, explain what makes the original article incredibly awesome and encourage people to revisit it and check it out. With a little creativity, you will find countless ways to interlink your content and share that juicy Google goodness.
7. A few more suggestions
As you employ the techniques described in this article, your best pages will become even better. Both users and search engines will recognize that these articles serve as the cornerstone content of your site. Strengthening these pages and sharing their strength will in turn strengthen your entire site. In addition to the ideas mentioned above, there are many other ways to improve the quality and rank of your pages. Sure, you could go crazy and redesign your entire site according to all the latest SEO theories, but there is probably not enough time — Santa Google is coming soon! A better approach is to focus on items that can be beefed up relatively quickly. For example, examine the source code of your top posts. Look for details that could be improved on a page-by-page basis. Check out your title and alt descriptions. Are they adequately overflowing with perfected keyword sequences? As you dig, are you noticing a lack of nofollow tags on older posts? Are comments still open? Are there actual links such as “http://example.com/” that are used merely as examples? Look at the code, scan for details, and focus on improvement.

Conclusion

That’s all for now. Beefing up your top pages works to ensure their continued prosperity in the eyes of Google as well as the other search engines. While not everyone cares about what Google thinks of their site, most bloggers and site owners do care about reaching their target audience, sharing their best material, and rewarding their visitors with a great experience. Employing the seven methods presented in this article will help you improve your site’s pages and (hopefully) rank well with Google.