Ask one group of people about PageRank, they’ll tell you it’s unimportant and that you shouldn’t focus too much on it. Ask another group, however, and they’ll swear that PageRankis one of the most crucial elements of SEO that you should focus on. So, which one is it?

Well, let’s just say that the facts are found in the middle. PageRank isn’t the be-all, end-all of a website, but it’s still important.

To that end, you want to strive for a higher ranking on a page. As a link analysis algorithm that assigns weight to linked documents, good PageRank is going to place you on the first few pages of a searched Google term per niche, while poor ranking will leave you on the back pages. It’s simple enough, right?

Some people who have focused on PageRank have been noticing a trend lately. Despite their best efforts to increase their PR, their ranking continues to plummet. What is causing this?

  1.  A Frequently “Down” Site

A lot of people have their sites hosted on servers whose idea of good uptime is 6 days a week. Having to experience some downtime every week or so might not seem like a lot to you, but it’s an eternity for an algorithm that’s ranking your site. If your site is down, it’s going to fall down. It’s as simple as that.

  1.  Too Many Outbound Links

In most SEO-based articles you read, you’re going to find out that link-sharing and providing outbound links to other sites (even if they’re part of your particular network) is a smart way to build traffic. And that’s true for the most part. However, adding too many outbound links will give more weight to those links from your site. Stick with more inbound links than outbound.

  1.  Folder Restructuring

There are many elements of a site which get changed or restructured a lot, even if you’re not aware you’re doing it. The spiders that crawl your site have their own path through your files. If anything is restructured, this is obviously going to throw the algorithm off and leave you with a lower PR. The good news is that it’s only temporary.

  1.  Too Many Keywords

Even if you’re not openly practicing keyword stuffing, wherein you just fill your content with a bunch of related terms and links, your content can still come across as spam-like to a spider. If you have a density higher than 3% or content with a low word count, this will come across as stuffing and your site will be punished.

  1.  Duplicated Content

Other factors like nested table structuring and multi-language content affect your ranking on par with duplicate content, but this deserves more notice because people don’t always understand what “duplicated” means. They think it means copied or plagiarized. This isn’t always the case. Even if you’re rewriting something, it can come across as duplicated if you’re using the same keywords or if you have too many of the same words inside of it.

Now that you know some things that cause Page Rank to fall, you can take steps to reverse the trend and pick your ranking up again. Don’t believe the folks who say it’s unimportant. If you’re in a competitive niche, you’re going to want a good ranking.