Whether you’re searching for the most influential bloggers, or the best online article directories, or simply trying to make your own website more attractive to the search engines, a valuable tool you must use to put everything in perspective is the Google Toolbar which you can download for free.
It’s available for both Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers. Key features include a search box, spell checker, pop-up blocker and auto form filler.
I use it mostly to determine how Google has ranked a particular website or blog on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the greatest importance. If I’m researching bloggers who I want to get in front of, for example, I spend more time at blogs with a page rank of 4 or higher. The PageRank tool appears just underneath my Internet Explorer browser window. The longer the green bar, the more important the site. (Hold your cursor over the PageRank tool and you’ll see the score.)
Google’s criteria for determining PageRank is a closely guarded secret. Gayle Carson, a co-founder of the Internet Association of Information Marketers, one of my trade associations, passed along an excellent article from Smashing Magazine in which the writers, after extensive research and studying academic papers, do their best to unravel the PageRank mystery.
The number of inbound links to a website from other high-ranked websites is key. But there’s a lot more involved than just that. Read the article, then do everything you can to increase your page rank on your blog and website.