Longtail Keyword SEO: Site rank vs Page Rank


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Let me clarify that what I am about to present to you is not about ranking your site, or your Home Page. It’s about Ranking Your Specific Long Tail Keyword Phrases… these are your money phrases, the phrases that people use once they have narrowed down their search – the Keyword Phrases that MAKE MONEY!

The first thing you MUST understand if you want to Rank Well for a Long Tail Keyword Search Phrase

PageRank is not SiteRank – Pages rank on their own for specific search phrases. You can not rank a single page for every phrase you want to rank. While you want a diverse incoming link base, you want those incoming links to be tied to specific anchor text phrases and to specific pages.

Too often people who do not understand this principal go out and just get as many links as they can and actually do themselves irreversible harm! They create untargeted incoming links that just confuse Google.The result is non targeted keywords hurt Your Rankings. People waste way too much time trying to rank their Home Page for a ridiculously large set of keyword phrases. They lose site of the highly profitable Long Tail Keyword Phrases.

A well crafted page that is optimized for a Long Tail Keyword Phrase can outrank even high authority sites! Why? Because Google rewards information that is targeted to the search phrase over authority… they want to provide the “Best Match” for the search. This is great news for the Internet Marketer – it’s the loophole smart Internet Marketers leverage to make big profits.

Let me give you an example:

Today I am researching a specific niche in Google in the Automotive Industry… a 3 word phrase “Keyword 1 Keyword 2 Keyword 3”

Here are the particulars:

Google Local Volume: 22,000
Anchor Text with Phrase: 770
Competition: 137,000 *

* This is not really competition; rather the number of times this phrase appears on other pages in Google’s Index.

Google Page 1 results for this Targeted Keyword Phrase:

#1 PR 0 – that’s right ZERO!
#2 Site has a PR of 4
#3 is also Zero!
#4 is PR 3.

What does that tell you about the PR as a ranking indicator? Answer: It is not! You rank for the phrase and the page content NOT the site!Why does this PR ZERO Page using this Targeted Keyword Phrase Rank so


The #1 Site contains the EXACT keyword Phrase in both the Title and the URL and has a nice distribution in their body text.The URL does NOT point to the Home Page, rather a highly targeted content page directly related to the search.

More Analysis:

I placed the High Ranking URL in SEO Elite so I could examine the linking structure and anchor text. The results are as follows:

Incoming text links:

• PR 4 – 1
• PR 3 – 1
• PR 2 – 4
• PR 1 – 4
• All other incoming links show no PR!

Only 19 incoming links total! All .com’s no edu, no .gov, no .net – Okay we all know that Google doesn’t like to show us the full results so one could infer there are additional incoming links… but the trend for low PR sites in this case is evident.

Age of the Sites Linking in:

The majority of incoming links are from sites created between 2004-2008

Authority Directories

Not listed in Yahoo, Wikipedia, or DMOZ

Anchor Text Analysis

Anchor Text from incoming links is split almost equally between the 3 keywords.

Cross Linking

This site cross links extensively between other company owned sites using specific targeted keyword phrases. Because the links are relevant it appears to be helping not hurting. So much for cross linking penalties! You should infer that it’s okay as long as the links are relevant. This is a sticky issue, but all you can do is test it for yourself.

Domain Age

This site was registered in 1998


While you can not draw specific conclusions from a single Case Study with a single keyword phrase you can infer the following (I see these trends over and over as I do keyword research).

PR does NOT matter for Long Tail keywords… get over it, forgetabout it, and move on. I do not believe it matters for any ranking. It’s just an indicator like a thermometer that says… yes we know about you and think your site is just nifty. Google is not publishing information to the general public in their PR indicator that really makes any difference to you.

Keyword Anchor Text is CRITICAL. Do NOT mix up you keyword anchor text when commenting, posting to forums, etc. You want an even distribution of your keywords… there are plenty of scrape sites and other sites you can not control who will mess this up for you. If you are targeting “Safe Baby Toys” the most variation you create for your own links would be to rearrange the words like this: “Baby Toys that are Safe”, “Safe Baby Toys”, “Safe for Baby Toys”… filler words like the, and or etc. don’t matter.

The Age of your site absolutely matters. The older the better. Not much you can do about this. This is the reward for being an established business. If you have a great idea, buy the domain now, put up a little content and let it settle in. You’ll need it later.

Use your keyword phrase in your Title in Exact Form. Put it in your URL and include it in your body text. I see this over and over in top ranking results.

You should target your incoming links for each specific phrase to the page with the content, not your Home Page (Unless your Home Page is the target destination for the Long Tail Keyword Phrase).

FYI: The PR 4 site that ranks #2 has 50 “Dot Com’s” linking back to it from PR 1-6 sites and it’s getting beat! It does not contain the same high quality targeted anchor text link structure. It just has a lot more authority.

So if you are focusing on long tail you now know what to do! You still want high quality authority links… but you want to focus on your keyword phrase and anchor text. A high authority site will always outrank you all things being equal, but if you do your homework you can move to the top with Long Tail Keyword Phrases!

Good luck.

PS: If you have high authority and targeted Long Trail you can really cash in. You’ll get there, but focus on these principals, and make money now while you grow!

Software used: SEO Elite, KeywordResearchPro, Aaron Walls Free FireFox

SEO Plugin


  1. Katimusha says:

    This was a incredibly useful post because i have been wondering the difference between page rank and site rank. Also it gives some tips which is also very helpful.

  2. JB Media says:

    Great post. I really love how you talk about finding longtail SEO keywords. But nonetheless, I’ve still been having a problem finding the correct/right key words for my blog. Do you have any advise?

  3. I would LOVE your opinion on a topic that I can not seem to find the answer for.

    My developer told me it would be wise to take off all the internal links of my long tail words, as these links were diluting the possibility of rising in the ranks for the three main key words. For example, I used to have all the local cities we sold to with the key word and more long tail versions.

    We converted the site and I took his suggestion. Our sales are down a lot, BUT we might be on our way..( a slow process) to getting optimized for the big fish.

    What is your recommendation on this topic? Is it better to first go for the three big words THAN the long tails, or long tails while you are waiting for the big ones.

    How do you do this so it does not dilute your pages?

    Many thanks….can’t wait to hear!

  4. good article on explaining site rank & page rank….

    thanks a lot :)

  5. KB,
    Based on what Matt Cutts has been letting on in his recent public appearances, I would suggest you continue with longtails and “roll up” to larger keywords. It is easier to rank and get authority for longtails than “big money” large terms. Once you’ve hit #1 on those longtails or have enough highly ranked longtails, start working toward the bigger keywords. This has been our strategy on many client sites and it’s been paying off–they get more traffic through longtails and their rankings for the bigger terms have risen as well.

    Regardless, the best form of SEO is relevant and highly useful CONTENT.

  6. I have never seen where pagerank is important in ranking high within google. Keywords within the url seem to rank high. The single most important thing is your H1 title tags and incoming links.

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