Google PageRank explained

Elsewhere on my website, I’ve already explained a little bit about how search engines rank websites when showing sites on its SERP (search engine results page). All together, there are about 200 rules that either are known or are rumoured to play a part in the SERP ranking.

Google PageRank is not how your site ranks on the SERP

Besides the SERP ranking, there’s also another algorhythm applied to your website. It’s called Google PageRank. Personally, I ran into the term on a website that had run an analysis on my domain name, for whatever reason. It peaked my curiosity to find out more.

Initially, I thought it was what you probably assume too, but when someone talks to you about Google Ranking (minus the word Page) they actually mean SERP, in most cases. This is the page in Google, where ranking applies to the results of a search given in Google. Google PageRank is not that. You can think of Google PageRank (from here on in shortened as PR) as a grade your page is getting from Google. Yep, your website is being graded.

From 0 to 10

Google Pagerank is a score from 0 to 10.  A zero means that there is no rank available and a 10 out 10 rank is perfect. In short, the latter would mean you have a very popular website.

To give you some idea; currently, Twitter is 10/10, LinkedIn 9/10 and mine is 3/10. Should I worry about this? No, only if I were one of those geeks who just wants perfect scores for everything, but in general: No. Just keep reading.

When the analysis of my domain name was done, it only checked the PR of my homepage, so the value returned just applied to Home. Every individual page of a website has its own PR.

How to see the PR

In order to see which PR a page has, all you have to do, is install the Google PageRank toolbar for your browser. While you surf, it will show you the PR of each page you visit. There are also website that allow you to check the PageRank of any domain.

On one hand, PageRank was introduced to give you a reference, while surfing the Internet. It’s there to give you some idea on how popular a page is. And on the other, it is used to rank websites in Google’s SERP.

When using the toolbar, keep in mind that the information it provides could be outdated. Google is known to only update the toolbar every once in a while.

How is a PR determined?

Google PageRank is based on the simple theory that a website most referred to by others, is probably an important resource. Otherwise, why would all these other websites refer to it? So a PageRank is simply determined by other websites than your own.

However, before you think about submitting your website to any link directory, there’s a more complex system that applies to this.

It’s not just quantity, but also quality linking

The more websites refer to your page, the more it’ll increase your PR, but what will help even more, is if a the link comes from a website that has a high PR of its own. After all, Google assumes, that if an important source is linking to you, you must be of relevance as well.

But just one link is not enough, the more high ranking pages link to you, the more it will help increase your Google PageRank. This will mostly take time to build up, which is why older pages usually rank higher than new ones.

Outgoing links also weigh in

Counting incoming links and testing the quality of those links, is only one part of the story. The PR you see on the Toolbar also takes into account how big your page is, when you last updated it, the number of changes the page has received, the headlines used in the text and the text of the outgoing links you’ve included.

What can you do to improve your Google PageRank?

Well, basically, not much really. Update your website regularly. Create good content and link to great resources. Write content that is worth linking to, ‘cos it’s all down to the people. They have to like what you offer.

The best advice I can give you, is to network with people online and offline. Work together with other websites, perhaps by guest blogging, or collaborating on some other level. It’s down to building a name and a good reputation. This will help you get the links. And be sure to return the favor!

Watch out with link farms

There are many sites that just collect links, purely for the purpose of trying to influence the PR. These websites are called link farms, and the process is called Link Farming.

Link farms are different from the previously mentioned link directories. Link directories are DMOZ. DMOZ serves a real purpose. Link farms are pretty much bogus sites; a collection of links with nothing apparent to tie them together. They will obviously have a low PR themselves and there’s no real point to use them just to get linked to.

Also, don’t ask people to pay for links on your website purely for the goal of influencing Google PageRank. Google warns webmasters for these practices. If they find out, you will lose the reputation you have built up in Google.

So, what’s a bad score?

Obviously, when you create a new page, it’ll be PR0 and you’ll have to take it from there. One thing to keep in mind is, that your growth from a PR0 to PR1 will be completely different than from a PR6 to PR7. There are different rules (algorhythms) that apply to each step.

Should you be worried when you have a low PR?

No, just let it go.

Does it effect your ranking in Google’s search results (SERP)?

Google is very hush hush on whether the two affect one another, but research by others have shown that your PR does affect SERP, but the influence is considered to be “slightly”.


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