People often used the terms “site visibility” and “page rank” interchangeably. In fact, the terms are quite different. Knowing the difference between the two terms can help the way search engines view your entire website, as well as individual pages. But first, we must understand how search engines function.

When we speak of search engines, we are referring to sites like Google and Bing, which are known as true search engines, as well as search directories, such as DMOZ and Yahoo Directory. Both crawl your site in using spiders or robots in terms of relativity for keywords. They then aggregate this data, and, using an algorithm, determine which phrases your website will show in the SERPs for, depending on the results of the crawl.

The search results can either be paid (AdWords or AdCenter), or organic. Paid results, in the case of Google, appear in three places on the search engine results page (SERP): the top or the bottom of the page in a yellow box, or in the right hand column. Organic search results are those results below the top paid results that appear on the SERPs.

When we speak of visibility, we are referring to where your website falls in the order of search engine results for a particular phrase. The goal is to be listed on the first page of search engine results (SER), near the top. In the example above, eMagine’s blog is the 2nd organic result on the search using the phrase “b2b website strategy” and the 1st paid result for the same phrase.

To gain visibility for these certain phrases, we must practice search engine optimization. This includes on-site optimization of these phrases, consideration of technical properties of your website to clearly show the spiders and robots your site, external links on targeted keyphrases pointing to your site, and social media activity.

External links are the number of links from other websites to your website pages. These links are like “votes” for your site, and its relevance to certain topics. The more “votes” you have, the more relevant you are in the eyes of the search engines. This measurement os external links is know as Link Popularity.

However, link popularity is also measured, to a lesser degree, by a number of other factors besides external links including:

  • Cross Linking – how many links you have within your site to other parts of your site using these keyphrases as the anchor text, or phrase that is highlighted and underlined as the link.
  • Outbound Linking – the number of links you have on your site that link out to other websites
  • Reciprocal Linking – links that are exchanged between you and an external site. In other words, you link to a site and they, in turn, link back to you.

The last two link types are not valued as highly as internal and external linking, but they cause no harm either.

Google, refers to link popularity with the term Page Rank. Google looks at the number of external pages that link to your site, determines their quality, and based on that determines your Page Rank. So, many quality external links, will boost your Page Rank, which, combined with relative visible content on your site, increases your website’s visibility.

The visibility of your website, then, is imperative to your success in being seen by many people on the SERPs. By optimizing your website, increasing the number of external links to your site, and through other means such as directory submissions, paid advertising on the search engines, and other practices, you can successfully increase your page rank, which will improve your site’s visibility.