Though it is difficult for most of us to understand, there is actually a rather large controversy among SEO experts about the most valuable parameter to consider when evaluating the performance of a website on Google. Should it be the site’s Google ranking or the site’s search results? Since, for most, the question is largely academic, it would seem to be a waste of time and effort to argue over these parameters.

However, since the performance of your site is directly affected by the focus of your SEO efforts, whether you choose to promote your Google PageRank (PR) or the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) will determine how successful those efforts will be.

To help you understand the differences, we’ve borrowed a couple of definitions from reliable online sources who understand them much better than we do.

PageRank (PR)

“PageRank is a numeric value that represents how important a page is on the web. Google figures that when one page links to another page, it is effectively casting a vote for the other page. The more votes that are cast for a page, the more important the page must be. Also, the importance of the page that is casting the vote determines how important the vote itself is.” (Borrowed from

In other words, the key to improving your PageRank is the number and quality of the links you generate. The higher the PageRank of your links, the higher your own PageRank will be. This is an effort by Google to inform the reader of the quality of the site they are visiting, a worthy goal, but one which actually has little effect on the search results the reader receives.

PageRank then is merely a number, an attempt to create an objective value, assigned to a particular page such as the Home Page of your site, designed to give it a value relative to other pages. However, it has very little to do with where your page ranks in the search results.

Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

“A search engine results page (SERP), is the listing of web pages returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query. The results normally include a list of web pages with titles, a link to the page, and a short description showing where the Keywords have matched content within the page. A SERP may refer to a single page of links returned, or to the set of all links returned for a search query.” (Borrowed from Wikipedia.)

In other words, SERPs are the actual results of the search done by a reader seeking information on a particular subject. When that reader types in a word or phrase, a query, we all know what happens. A list of results will pop up on their screen presenting a page of listed websites which offer information on that request. These results contain links to the website, as well as a brief description of the content available.