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12 Feb: Don't throw away your Google PageRankEveryone agrees that Google is the #1 search engine, right? It is the only place I go now to find information, and it brings 75% of the traffic to my site. So it is important to understand a few things about how Google works.
First, I admit that I've screwed up. That's why I'm writing this article, so that you'll understand something that I haven't seen written about before. If asked, I'm betting that most web developers would immediately understand and agree with this, but they won't have thought about it first:
Always use the same URL to link to your site.
Let me briefly explain. Simplistically, Google ranks your page higher in its search results if other sites link to it (read more about PageRank). Unfortunately, many "developers" (myself included) have grown fond of using URL's without the www (or dub-dub-dub as Microsoft's Scott Guthrie famously calls it).
Look at the address of this page - it is likely to start http://coveryourasp.com because that is always how I have referenced the site when I submit it to directories like ASPRSS.
The problem is, hundreds of other people link to my site. College professors quote my pages in their curriculum, students discuss them in forums. And they always use www.coveryourasp.com.
Do you see the problem? I've diluted my PageRank significantly. If you have the Google Toolbar installed (as every webmaster should) you could see this in action.
Visit http://coveryourasp.com and see that there is a PageRank of 6/10.
Now visit http://www.coveryourasp.com - PageRank 5/10!
http://coveryourasp.com/default.asp and http://www.coveryourasp.com/default.asp too - all four of these URL's point to the same content, but are ranked individually by Google!
If only I had realized this problem 2 years ago I could now have a PageRank of 7/10 or higher, have more traffic directed to my site and be making more advertising dollars! =;-)
It wasn't actually on CoverYourASP that I noticed this problem, it was my OurLittleNet Neighborhood sites. I originally started by using (for example) http://ourroswell.net to link to my home town site from other places. Then I noticed that local people were using www.ouroswell.net. So I have quickly changed ALL links to use the www prefix and now wait patiently for Google to do its dance next month. Hopefully within 2 months I should be maximizing my OurLittleNet PageRank, and all will be well with the world.