The Less Links, the Better – How SEO Hacker Achieved PageRank 5

Less Links

So there’s that recent PageRank update that finally put me through the PageRank 5 barrier. There is no real ‘quantity’ as to when you are going to have that numerical increase in your PageRank score – but I’m pretty sure that my (approximately) 20,000 inbound links is not anywhere quantitatively enough to put me on PageRank 5. So how did it happen?

The PageRank System

Disclaimer: This is my idea of how Google’s PageRank system works. If you think it is inaccurate or if you know anything to add to my knowledge, please do leave your thoughts at the comments section below.

The PageRank score is a metric that Google gives each and every webpage. It measures the quantity and the quality of your inbound links – that’s all it measures. In order for a website’s PageRank score to increase, it has to exponentially increase its inbound links quantitatively or draw in qualitative links from high PageRank webpages.

Quantitatively this is my idea of how your PageRank score would increase:

  • PageRank 0 – 0 – 10 Links
  • Pagerank 1 – 10 – 100 Links
  • PageRank 2 – 100 – 1000 Links
  • PageRank 3 – 1000 – 10,000 Links
  • PageRank 4 – 10,000 – 100,000 Links
  • PageRank 5 – 100,000 – 1,000,000 Links

I’m currently nowhere near that 100,000 – 1,000,000 links. Good news is, PageRank score does not only deal with quantitative factors but qualitative ones as well. The thing is, I don’t know how they exactly go together to determine a webpage’s PageRank score.

What I do know is I DID NOT actively built links for SEO Hacker. So how did SEO Hacker get to PR 5?

To be honest, I have no real answer and it does also bother me. But here are some of my assumptions:

  1. I have a Content Strategy that I follow for my target audience and my tribe of followers – Create content for beginner to intermediate SEO and write it out all on simple terms.
  2. I got a lot of Word of Mouth links through Cornerstone Content – I don’t ask for links nor work hard to build them. I simply create content that gives value, answers and comfort, and my readers reward the value I give with their referrals.
  3. I practice smart Interlinking – Let people and the search engines which other content in your website is related to the one they’re reading right now. Perhaps they want further readings or sources.
  4. I practice smart Outbound linking – Don’t give out linkjuice if you don’t have to. Give to those who deserve it. Otherwise, keep some for yourself. A site with a lot of outbound links can look like it’s a link farm.Outbound links

Lesson learned?

I’ve always been a guy who looked at the value of great content rather than a great link profile and good rankings. Perhaps I want you to realize that a site that ranks really well can make good money online but can’t make good business in the long run. Someone with solid content is always bound to overtake you in terms of branding.

And mind you, branding is an ever-increasing factor in the Search engines nowadays.

So the key takeaway would be: don’t focus on building links. Build great content that dishes out value to your audience.

Remember the story of Jack and the Beanstalk?

Golden EggsI’m pretty sure you’ve heard of the tale. Jack went up the beanstalk and saw the Goose that laid the golden eggs. What did Jack do? Did he take the golden eggs to make himself rich?


He took the Goose.

Why? Well, the eggs will make you rich – once, twice or perhaps thrice. But after that, his riches will be drained out and he would have to look for magic seeds again to climb the beanstalk and face the giant once more – just to get more golden eggs.

I don’t want to climb the beanstalk again. I don’t want to face the giant again. So I went for the Goose.

You should too.

The Goose? Well, if you haven’t figured out yet, it’s Cornerstone Content. No you don’t steal it. But you’d have to make one yourself. Overlay it with solid content strategy and promote it with exceptional content marketing – that’s the formula for golden eggs to get laid. That’s the formula for attracting Word of mouth links.

I already outlined what SEO Hacker’s content strategy is. What our type of audience is.

Content PromotionWhat you need to do is to define those things for your website – then publish content that follows your content strategy. The thing about the ‘Content is King’ mindset is that they leave out the ‘Promotion Strategy is the Herald’ part of it. Once you’ve got great content, you have to have a great promotion strategy to go with it!

A Great Promotion Strategy Comprises of:

  • An extremely attractive headline overlaid with “Yes” Content – Grab attention with your title. Get people to agree with you. Trigger emotions. Read all about it here.
  • A clearly defined target audience – Who are the kinds of people your content is written for?
  • Platforms where your target audiences are – Where are they spending most of their online time? Facebook? Twitter? Google+? A forum perhaps?
  • Clearly defined list of your target audience’s influencers to help boost your promotion strategy – Who are the influencers in your niche? The thought leaders? The people with a good tribe of followers?
  • An effective strategy in reaching out to those influencers to help you promote – How are you going to tell them about your content? How will it help them? How will it help their followers?
  • Building solid relationships to those influencers so that they would keep on promoting your stuff even if you don’t ask them to anymore – Can you return the favor? Are you willing to promote each other’s content mutually?

The thing is, things are moving slowly but surely away from linkbuilding towards great, solid content that provides your target audience with value. These things are what I’ve been doing for the past 2 years since SEO Hacker started – and lo and behold, we’re now in PageRank 5! It’s a thing to celebrate and I wanted to share with you how I did it.

Forget the golden egg.

Go for the Goose.

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Sean Si

About Sean

is a Filipino motivational speaker and a Leadership Speaker in the Philippines. He is the head honcho and editor-in-chief of SEO Hacker. He does SEO Services for companies in the Philippines and Abroad. Connect with him at Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Check out his new project, Aquascape Philippines.