How to use PageRank for ecommerce websites

30-second summary:

  • The PageRank still exists and here’s a deeper look at how Google’s Reasonable Surfer Model plays a key role
  • A well thought linking strategy both internally and externally for your ecommerce site can amplify search visibility
  • Google expert, Susan Dolan and Founder of leading agency NOVOS, Samuel Hurley share an ecommerce SEO guide ahead of the holiday season

PageRank is a patent Google introduced, which used links to help determine websites rankings in the SERPs. The algorithm was named after Google founder Larry Page.

The original patent has not been renewed and has since been updated by other algorithms, which work to achieve the same goal. However, by understanding the fundamental principles, we can better understand how to position our eCom sites to drive traffic and revenue.

PageRank key concepts

PageRank is passed between websites through links and can be distributed through a single website with internal links.

Some pages have a higher PageRank than others and thus can pass on more PageRank to pages they link to. When a page links to another, a dampening factor is applied. The original patent set this as 0.85 – so a page with a PageRank of one, linking to another page would pass 0.85 PageRank.

Key update: the Reasonable Surfer Model

Google’s Reasonable Surfer Model indicates that a link that is more likely to be clicked on will pass more PageRank than a link that is less likely to be clicked on. This is determined by a whole host of factors, including font size, color, and anchor text. However, the position of a link on a page is also something that we often have control over as SEOs and that we can, therefore, leverage.

Here is a simple, rather crude representation of how certain links will pass more/less PageRank based on the prominence of a link and how likely it is to be clicked on.

How link prominence determines PageRank value

Build external links through to key pages

As linking pages pass PageRank, it stands to reason that we want to generate backlinks to key pages that we want to rank. For most ecommerce sites, the pages that rank for the highest volume and most revenue-driving keywords are category pages.

Wherever possible, we should therefore look to use tactics that support link building through to the pages that drive revenue, which for most sites looks something like:

  • Category pages
  • Product pages
  • Homepage
  • Blog posts

This is obviously easier said than done. Practicing these tactics with an overall aim to drive PageRank to your key pages. This reduces the dampening factors at play.

How to get past this

One common way to bypass this difficulty in building links to category pages is internally linking to key category pages we want to push from blog posts/Digital PR pieces that then get links themselves.

Although the PageRank passed to the page we ideally want to rank will undergo a dampening factor, this can still be more beneficial than failing to get any links at all to your target page.

It is worth considering how relevant the category page is to the blog/PR piece it is being included on, as well as where the links are placed on the page, being mindful of the impact the Reasonable Surfer dampening effect can have.

1. Build links from pages with high PageRank

As any Digital PR will know, high authority pages or pages that have lots of PageRank to pass onto your own site are some of the most sought-after links to attain.

Most of the time, this is actually viewed at a domain level, however as is demonstrated in this great review of how PageRank works by Majestic, a domain that should theoretically have a high PageRank can actually be significantly decreased at a page level by its own internal linking.

One caveat for Digital PR teams in this regard is not being too reliant on domain-level metrics as a proxy for links that pass a lot of PageRank and are thus good for ranking. Exactly which pages have high PageRank is nigh-on impossible to know, and although an over-reliance on third-party tools is never optimal, they may be the closest we can get to figuring out PageRank passed by a specific page, rather than a domain.

2. Build links from relevant sites

As part of the Reasonable Surfer Model, it suggests that a link is less likely to be followed if the links are unrelated to the document:

“This reasonable surfer model reflects the fact that not all of the links associated with a document are equally likely to be followed. Examples of unlikely followed links may include “Terms of Service” links, banner advertisements, and links unrelated to the document.”  (Source)

As a result, building links from sites that are of higher relevance to your own site, is likely to pass more PageRank.

3. Remember it is not just about the number of links

Due to how PageRank is calculated, the PageRank value passed by one site can be drastically higher than the PageRank passed by the culmination of 1000s of others combined.

This is why the reliance on the overall number of links can be misleading.

Use internal linking to spread PageRank

We need to consider a few different methods while identifying pages that will benefit the most from ranking and how you pass PageRank around an ecommerce site:

  1. Link to pages you want to rank from pages that have high PageRank themselves
  2. Link to pages you want to rank more frequently throughout the site
  3. Give links to pages you want more prominently ranked

1. Link to pages you want to rank from pages that have high PageRank themselves

Pages that have high PageRank, from which we can assume to be the pages most linked to from external sites, can be used to pass PageRank to – 

Homepage linking

The best example of how you can do this is through the homepage. The homepage for most websites tends to be one of the most, if not the most externally linked to page on a site.

This means that in terms of PageRank, the homepage has the most to pass on to other internal pages.

By carefully selecting which pages you link to from the homepage, and therefore pass the high levels of PageRank to the key pages you want to rank.

2. Link to pages you want to rank more frequently throughout the site

Another method to consider is how frequently you link to the most important pages you want to rank.

Considering that each page can pass PageRank on – this stands to reason that if a page is internally linked to more frequently, it is likely to pass on more as compared to a page less internally linked to (although obviously influenced by the PageRank of the linking pages).

Therefore, you should be considering where you can add internal links to ensure that important pages are linked to more frequently, including:

Global navigation

Due to being outside of the main body content of the page, we can reasonably assume there is a dampening factor applied to links in the menu. However, given its role in navigation, this is likely to be far less than in the footer. 

Therefore, since the global navigation is, as the name suggests, linked globally from every page on the site, the sheer number of links that will be passing PageRank is likely to funnel to those pages included in the navigation. These should therefore be the key pages you want to be ranking.


As long-time fans of breadcrumbs at NOVOS, their benefit of passing PageRank to key pages should not be underestimated, due to the frequency with which different levels of pages are linked to.

The benefit of breadcrumbs on ecommerce sites (outside of usability benefits for the customers) is that they pass PageRank up to the core pages that generally rank for competitive keywords. They are typically helpful to rank the categories.

Most ecommerce websites have a pyramid structure with the homepage at the top, followed by some core categories, an increasing number of subcategories, and lots of product pages. By implementing breadcrumbs on the site, you use the pyramid structure to your advantage (both SEO and CX wise). Since every product page will link up to its relevant subcategories and category, and every subcategory will link through to its relevant category.

In this sense, you distribute internal links as an inverse pyramid, concentrating the highest number (if we disregard the homepage) on the core categories that are the pages generally targeted for high volume keywords. In this sense, your ecommerce site stands a great chance of receiving large amounts of PageRank from internal links.

Product pages also generally are easier to build links to and also naturally generate them. The higher PageRank product pages can distribute upwards, the greater is the relevance – which implies lesser chances of suffering significantly from dampening factors.

Hierarchy of ecommerce site structure and how PageRank can be transferred


Based on the Reasonable Surfer Model we can assume that the PageRank passed by footer links is significantly impacted by dampening factors. However, the fact that these links are site-wide may mean that there is some benefit to including important pages in the footer for the accumulation of PageRank.

3. Give links to pages you want more prominently ranked

As the Reasonable Surfer Model applied to the likelihood of a link being clicked on a page, it is therefore worth considering whereabouts on a page. This could also mean considering page templates in general links.

For example, in a content strategy, where multiple blogs are being written on a given relevant topic to support a category page, linking to the category page early in the article, with clearly related anchor text, is likely to drive more PageRank than right at the end of an article. On a case-by-case basis, this distinction may appear trivial, however, on an ecommerce site with hundreds and thousands of blogs, the PageRank passed in total may be significant.

Susan Dolan is a Search Engine Optimization Consultant first to crack the Google PageRank algorithm as confirmed by Eric Schmidt’s office in 2014. 

Samuel Hurley is the Founder of NOVOS, Global SEO Agency Of The Year 2020 and 2021.

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The post How to use PageRank for ecommerce websites appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

B2B Marketing News: B2B Digital Ad Spending Grows, Google Adds Knowledge Graphs For Podcasts, Instagram’s New Creator Features, & Gen Z Engagement Study Insights

2021 October 22 eMarketer Chart

2021 October 22 eMarketer Chart

IAB Projects 8% Growth In 2022 Digital Ad Spend, Warns About ‘Bad’ Ad Experiences
U.S. digital advertising spending is expected to see 8 percent growth during 2022 to reach $165.4 billion, and topping the $200 billion mark by 2025 — increases from 2020’s $139.8 billion, according to newly-released forecast data of interest to digital marketers. MediaPost

Podcasts Google Knowledge Panels Go Live
Google has added podcasts to the services that can have extended visibility Knowledge Panels among the search firm’s result pages, giving B2B marketers who utilize podcasts a potential new promotion opportunity, in a recent rollout from the search giant. SEO Roundtable

Advertising No Longer The Least-Trusted Profession, But Not By Much
Recently-released survey data shows that although advertising executives no longer rank as the least trusted profession, ad professionals are still seen by both U.S. and global audiences as having significant ground to make up when it comes to being seen as trustworthy, as doctors, scientists, and teachers were seen as being in the most trusted professions. MediaPost

IndexNow – Instantly Index your web content in Search Engines
Microsoft’s Bing has released a new indexing protocol and related third-party integration API — created in conjunction with search engine Yext — which allows for more complete indexing of websites, content management systems, and content delivery networks, Bing recently announced. Bing

Twitter Announces New #TwitterPrism Initiative to Maximize Inclusion within Advertising
Twitter has begun a diversity and inclusion initiative aimed at marketing partners, with its new #TwitterPrism program to help brands with programs including Cultural Context workshops and co-creation opportunities that bring together diverse creators and marketers, Twitter recently announced. Social Media Today

Reddit Brings Back View Counts in Post Insights
Social news aggregator and discussion platform Reddit has returned counts of how many times posts have been viewed, a metric the firm removed 2018 as it faced growth and scaling challenges. The return of view counts will be joined by additional new content view analytics information Reddit is looking to roll out to its 430-plus million average monthly active users, the firm recently announced. Adweek

2021 October 22 Statistics Image

B2B Exhibition Industry Performance Improves in Q2; Only 2 in 3 Events Cancelled
Overall combined physical and virtual B2B event industry performance has begun to see a rebound from 2020’s pandemic-led low point, with fewer exhibitions cancelling events, according to recently-released survey data from the Center of Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR). MarketingCharts

Instagram adds scheduling and ‘practice mode’ features for Live creators
Facebook’s Instagram social media platform has added the ability to pre-schedule content up to 90 days in advance, and a new connection-testing mode, two of several new features the firm has launched surrounding its Live creators feature, Instagram recently announced. TechCrunch

Twitter Shares New Insights into Gen Z Usage and Engagement
Some 70 percent of Gen Z Twitter users have said that they use the platform’s app to learn about new products — one of several statistics of interest to digital marketers contained in new report data from Twitter exploring how brands can connect to Gen Z using its platform. Social Media Today

eMarketer’s B2B Advertising Forecast 2021: 6 Key Insights & Revelations
Technology and financial services top the list of industries when it comes to B2B advertising spending, with tech products and services accounting for some 32 percent and FinServ 25 percent — two of numerous statistics of interest to B2B marketers contained in recent advertising forecast data. LinkedIn (client)


2021 October 22 Marketoonist Comic Image

A lighthearted look at the “types of creative brief” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Q&A With Adobe’s Brian Glover: The New Era Of CX Initiatives — Demand Gen Report


  • Lee Odden — Influencer Marketing for B2B [Podcast] — Digital Marketing Institute
  • Lee Odden — The Top Content Marketers: 64 Influential & Educational Content Marketing Accounts You Should Be Following — Content Hacker
  • Nick Nelson — 10 Tips for Finding Your Way as a New Entrepreneur — Small Business Trends

Have you found your own top B2B marketing news from the past week of industry news? Please drop us a line in the comments below.

Thanks for taking the time to join us for this week’s TopRank Marketing B2B marketing news, and we hope that you will return again next Friday for more of the week’s most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us on our LinkedIn page, or at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

The post B2B Marketing News: B2B Digital Ad Spending Grows, Google Adds Knowledge Graphs For Podcasts, Instagram’s New Creator Features, & Gen Z Engagement Study Insights appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

How to Drive Traffic with YouTube Live

How to Drive Traffic with Youtube Live

As a marketer, you know how valuable audience connection is.

When you truly connect, you build trust and increase the likelihood of repeat purchases and interaction.

These days, there are more and more ways for marketers to reach their target audiences. From TikTok to in-feed Instagram ads, marketers are encountering never-before-seen amounts of opportunity for connection.

One of these opportunities is live functionality. Available on a slew of platforms, including Twitch, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, this feature allows users to live-stream to their followers.

Given that we know how successful video is as a content form, savvy marketers are making livestreams work for their campaigns. 

While the platforms mentioned above are pretty commonly used for live video, YouTube also shares this live-stream capability.

The video streaming giant offers streamers a unique platform to share information and grow brand awareness.

If you’re looking for new ways to connect with your target audience, read on to learn if YouTube Live is the right platform for you.

What Is YouTube Live and What Are the Benefits?

Much like many other live-streaming services, YouTube Live is YouTube’s livestream arm of its platform. Through this tool, you can reach your audience in real-time, allowing real-time connection.

Users seeking live content navigate to the Live section of the YouTube homepage to find your stream through search. Users can also discover your live stream if they’ve interacted with your account in the past, with your video manifesting on their individual homepage.

The benefits of YouTube Live are truly endless. Big brands like Bon Appetit have taken advantage of the platform, as have many smaller, non-franchised organizations.

six screens YouTube Live Bon Appetit test kitchen

Some of the key benefits include:

Connection With Your Audience

This is a big one. The reason all-live everything is so successful is that it enables face-to-face connection through a screen. By enabling the chat function, you can connect directly with your audience, answering questions, and building relationships and goodwill.

Brand Establishment

Seventy percent of viewers bought from a brand after seeing it on YouTube. When you go live on the platform, you’re not extending brand exposure, you’re establishing your brand as an accessible entity with a notable, reachable figure hosting live events.

Cost-Effective Production

You can use YouTube Live for the cost of an account, which is free.

Given that your video doesn’t require any pre- or post-production, you also save on hefty fees often associated with video creation.

Collaboration With Other YouTubers

While this function is often overlooked, YouTube Live was the first of the live streaming social platforms to enable collaboration.

Through this function, you can cross-promote with another local business or team up to do a giveaway. This capability also allows you to host guests, giving you the opportunity to widen your audience reach by promoting an out-of-house individual’s presence.

How to Use YouTube Live

With more than two billion active users worldwide, YouTube should be a go-to destination for marketers.

If you’ve never planned around live marketing, the thought of executing a YouTube Live strategy can be, well, intimidating.

However, it doesn’t have to be.

YouTube Live offers users two different types of live streams, simple and custom.


With this straightforward delivery, you can go live from your webcam or phone (this is contingent upon having over 1,000 followers). Much like other livestreaming platforms, the simple mode is great for doing a basic Q&A or sharing a presentation.


This delivery mode is much more complex because it meets the needs of more complex presentations. For example, if you want to share your screen or use multiple web cameras, you need an encoder to make this happen. While these two categories are broken out to be opposites of one another, don’t let the term complex alarm you—the custom stream is still pretty easy to achieve.

Much like any other marketing campaign, your YouTube Live strategy should be well-planned and have goals in place.

Before you hit golive on your YouTube homepage, be sure you’ve strategized accordingly.

3 Ways to Drive More Traffic Using YouTube Live

If you’ve identified the need to grow more traffic as one of your top goals, (and let’s be honest, who among us doesn’t want more traffic), YouTube Live is an excellent platform for sending more visitors to your site.

Below, we break down three strategies that can help you harness the power of YouTube Live to score more traffic.

1. Create a Promotional Plan

You know the saying: if a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around to hear it, did it even make a sound?

The same goes for your YouTube Live: if you don’t promote your live event, how will anyone know to show up.

The same amount of forethought and strategizing you reserve for other marketing campaigns should go into your livestream.

Here are our three best tips for making your next livestream a hit.

youtube live chart sharing three benefits of going live

Schedule Your YouTube Live Video

After you’ve established the goal of your YouTube Live video, you need to schedule a date and time so you can promote your livestream to followers and prospects alike.

Socialize Your YouTube Live Video

You want to be promoting your YouTube Live video everywhere. From your social channels to your email contacts, you need to share the who, what, when, why, and where to all followers and prospects.

Build a Retargeting Ads Campaign

Think your work is done after your live stream wraps? Think again. Use retargeting ads on social and other platforms to reach liver stream attendees and remind them to take action.

2. Share Valuable Content

We’ve alluded to the need for a clearly delineated value of your YouTube Live for your audience.

To gain someone’s most valuable asset (hint: it’s their time), you must offer them something valuable in exchange.

Whether that’s a demo of a software upgrade or an unboxing video of the new prints your store is now offering shoppers, be sure that your content is doing more than just making noise.

3. Get Smart About Your CTA

When filing a YouTube Live video, you want to have a very precise call to action (CTA). While we wish there were a silver bullet that would encourage all viewers to take the desired action, choosing your ideal CTA takes some planning.

First, you need to assess what you want viewers to do after viewing your video. Ask yourself:

  • Do I want my viewer to make a purchase?
  • Do I want my viewer to schedule a demo?
  • Do I want my viewer to watch more of my videos?
  • Do I want my viewer to follow me on social channels?

After answering this question, you can determine which CTA is most appropriate for your viewers and incorporate it into the conclusion of your video.

To reiterate, be sure to identify where your viewers are in the buyer’s journey and use a CTA that resonates with that respective stage.

YouTube Live cta buyers journey in three stages

Make the Most of Your YouTube Live Content

You did it. You succeeded in hosting your first YouTube live. You got a bunch of new followers on Twitter, so now you’re done with that content, right?


Now that you’ve created a video asset, you can turn that YouTube Live video into a wealth of evergreen content.

Below are a few ideas for making your YouTube Live video work as hard as you do.

  • Turn your live stream into a typical video and share it on your website.
  • Share interesting segments of your live stream on social media. Pull quotes from your live stream and share them on social media.
  • Edit the audio from your YouTube Live stream into an audio podcast.

These possibilities represent only four of the myriad options you have for repurposing content. We’ve talked about how valuable video is, so be sure not to let it go to waste.

Frequently Asked Questions About Using YouTube Live to Drive Traffic

What is YouTube Live?

YouTube Live is the video streaming giant’s live platform. Users can go live to audiences, streaming in real-time. This channel can be used for Q&As, unboxing videos, how-to guides, and more. 

Is YouTube Live good for marketing?

Yes! Video of all kinds performs incredibly well with audiences. And with 81 percent of Americans using YouTube, you’re actively doing your brand a disservice if you’re not advertising on YouTube in some function. In addition, you can repurpose content from your YouTube Live across other channels, creating an evergreen marketing asset. 

What equipment do I need to do YouTube Live?

For simple live streaming, you only need a webcam or a phone. If you’re looking for more complex functionality from YouTube Live, like multiple cameras, you’re going to need an encoder.

How can I repurpose my YouTube Live content?

You can repurpose your YouTube Live content in so many different ways. From bite-sized video clips on Instagram to a full-fledged podcast episode, the opportunities for repurposing are endless.

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Yes! Video of all kinds performs incredibly well with audiences. And with 81 percent of Americans using YouTube, you’re actively doing your brand a disservice if you’re not advertising on YouTube in some function. In addition, you can repurpose content from your YouTube Live across other channels, creating an evergreen marketing asset. 

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You can repurpose your YouTube Live content in so many different ways. From bite-sized video clips on Instagram to a full-fledged podcast episode, the opportunities for repurposing are endless.


How to Drive Traffic With YouTube Live Conclusion

While Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, and many other platforms offer live streaming, YouTube Live grants you access to the massive YouTube audience.

As you plan your YouTube Live campaign be sure to be strategic about promotion, content, and your final CTA.

If you improvise any of these aspects of your live stream, you likely won’t have your desired impact and run the risk of alienating your audience.

Before embarking on your YouTube Live journey, be sure to research and watch other live streams from brands within your industry. By learning what works and what does not, you can tailor your video around their mistakes, ultimately allowing your brand to outshine your competition.

What’s the best YouTube Live video you’ve ever watched and why was it successful?