I just read an amazing article on Google called Pagerank: Google’s Original Sin. Now it brings up some interesting points about how PageRank technology works creates a reinforcing cycle of “rich” websites getting richer and bestowing their “riches” on partners and such. Frankly though, I think the article is a little whiny. If you can’t get a PageRank above 5, then you’re doing something wrong on your site. As a webmaster who has created about two dozen sites on as many domains, even with the earliest have decent PageRanks. If you write a page with good semantically meaningful markup and have useful content, people will find it even if the PageRank isn’t spectacular, and if people find it and it’s truly useful, they’ll link to it. Also most of the tips and tricks I’ve seen for optimizing for search engines also make sense for users. If your page is about a subject, but it in your title! Put it in the URI! Use real headings! Keep the most significant content above the fold! I guess it seems logical now, but I can’t say honestly that I followed all these rules when I was first starting out.
An example of what I consider to be meaningful markup and URIs would be Mullenweg.com. It has a ton of unique content and information (thanks to my wonderful sister), yet the front page has a measly PageRank of 5, and it goes down from there. However it averages 47 unique visitors a day, and the vast majority of them come from Google. Why? Because you find stuff there that simply isn’t anywhere else.
That said, PageRank can be frustrating for me simply because I feel trapped by it’s quantified measure of importance. While I don’t have any sites below 5, I also don’t have any above 6. Breaking the 6 barrier has been quite a challenge, and I don’t see it happening any time soon. Oh well. 6 is respectable, right? And she said PageRank doesn’t really matter . . .