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What is Google Page Rank? PageRank PR
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Google Page Rank
Have you ever asked yourself: What Is Google PageRank? Is Google PageRank Still Important? Why should I even care about PageRank? If so, then let me clear out the fog of uncertainty so that all is crystal clear by the time you leave here today. PageRank is often abbreviated simply as PR.
Google PageRank History
Back when Google was just getting started and was still called Backrub, Google's algorithm was mostly based upon PageRank to determine the order of results a user would get in response to a search query. The name PageRank has nothing to do with a web page at all.
Instead PageRank is named after one of Google's co-founders, Larry Page. Sergey Brin is the other co-founder of Google who helped to create the multi-billion dollar corporation that started out at Stanford University in a dorm room when both of them were still in college. Much confusion is caused by the fact that Larry's last name is Page and that PageRank is used when referring to a web page or web site's authority.
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What Is Google PageRank?
Richter Scale Analogy
I like to use the Richter Scale analogy to explain how PageRank works and functions. It makes for a great analogy since most people are both familiar with this and understand somewhat how this logarithmic scale functions.
On the Richter Scale a magnitude two earthquake produces ten times larger amplitude waves than a magnitude one earthquake. When measuring the amount of energy released it is thirty two times more powerful than a magnitude one earthquake. Magnitude one, two and three earthquakes are normaly barely perceptible, unless you happen to be very close to the epicenter.
Whereas a magnitude seven, eight, nine or ten will cause widespread damage and destruction. Unfortunately the loss of human and animal life is quite common. Just look at my Haiti Earthquake Facts hub to see how much damage a magnitude 7.0 earthquake can cause. Luckily magnitude 7 - 10 earthquakes are quite rare.
PageRank Scale Explained
Google's PageRank formula works exactly the same way as the Richter scale. PageRank, often abbreviated simply as PR plus a number, also uses a logarithmic scale ranking system just like the Richter scale does, on a scale ranging from 1 to 10.
Most often users will refer to a web page or site, Blog, Lens or Hub's PageRank'ing simply as PR1, PR2, PR3, PR4, PR5, PR6, PR7, PR8, PR9 and PR10. Except PageRank also uses the PR0 designation to refer to a web page that is new and has not yet been ranked. The PR0 ranking also applies to web pages that don't yet have enough incoming links to have achieved a PR1 ranking. The third case for the PR0 or grey listing as seen in the Google Toolbar is when a web site has been banned from Google for being a dirty, naughty little web page.
Usually the webmaster who should hide in shame has used some Black Hat SEO technique trying to trick their way to page one of Google, and got busted by Google's virtual eyes known as Googlebot. They should hide in shame for all of eternity for being so evil! Never link out to a web page you suspect of being banned in Google as it is truly poison to your web page!
How To Tell If A Web Site Is Banned From Google?
While I don't know of anyway to tell for sure there is one method that gives a pretty good indicator. Use a Google query like this one: "info:example.com" but without the parenthesis. If you do not see either a line that reads: "Show Google's Cache of Example.com" or "Find web pages from the site Example.com" then either the web page or site is very new and has not yet been indexed or it is probably banned. Either way your best steering away from linking to, exchanging links with or having anything to do with this web page to be on the safe side. Better safe than sorry!
Only associate your web pages that have at least a PR1 and you never will have any problems with linking out to bad neighborhoods.
A PR0 or PR1 web site is often a very new web page and rather unimportant in the Google scheme of things. Whereas a PR10 web site on the other hand is very important, authoritative and an incoming link from one of these major web sites is worth it's virtual weight in gold. There are only about 150 PR10 web sites out of the billions and billions of web sites that can proudly display their PR10 badge of honor for all to behold with much lust.
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How Does Google PageRank Work?
It takes approximately 10 times more incoming links from other web pages to get to the PR2 level as what it took to achieve the rather easy PR1. The same holds true all the way up the PageRank scale until you reach the golden summit of Google Mountain Rank glory and achieve the most elusive and magical PageRank of 10.
Due to how hard it is to get any of the other high PR web sites, or hundreds of thousands of lesser PR links needed, to link back to yours explains why very few web sites have a PR10 ranking. Only a handful of web sites can fit atop the PageRank Mountain while the rest of us are left trying to climb our way up by gathering up more and more incoming links.
Beside the fact your web page needs more and more incoming links to climb up the PageRank mountain, you also need links from web pages that have more Google PageRank juice to pass along to your web page than what it took to achieve the much easier Page Rankings.
You see 1 backlink from a PR6 web page is probably worth as much, or even more, than 100 PR1 incoming links. So you must consider both quanity and quality, by quality I strictly mean the PR rating, of the places you attempt to get backlinks from. While it's easiest to get backlinks from web sites lower on the PR scale, you will get a much better return for the time you spend by getting links from higher PR web sites. But stay realistic please, Google, Yahoo or Bing are probably not ever going to put a link to your web site on theirs. So don't bother trying, its not happening, sorry.
Another big factor when it comes to gathering up more Google PageRank is for your web pages to have incoming links from web sites related to yours. This means if you have a web site about 'Dogs' then seek links from other pet or animal related web sites, preferably 'Dog' web sites. The more relevant the sites are to your topic that your incoming links are coming from, the more authority you will build up in your niche.
While a link from a high PR game web site will help out your PR mission some, it won't help nearly as much than if this link was on a closely related web site.
Build up enough authority in your niche and your site just may become what is known as an 'Authority Web Site'. This is golden. By the time you reach this milestone your site is going to be ranking top 5 for fairly competitive keywords.
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Is Google PageRank Still Important?
When Google was a bright and shiny new search engine I suspect the main ingredient of their secret sauce was PageRank. This is no longer true now days. According to Google employee Matt Cutts, Google's unofficial SEO spokesperson, Google now uses over 200 different signals to determine which web page will be listed at the #1, #2, #3 positions and so forth.
Here recently Google has went to great lengths to downplay PageRank's importance. In recent months Google even removed the ability for webmasters to see their web page's PageRank from within Google WebMaster Tools. While Google would like for webmasters to stop paying so much attention to PageRank it is still one of the 200 signals Google uses to determine your place among the SERP's, Search Engine Results Page.
So while PageRank doesn't hold the power it once had, it is still a factor to keep in mind if you wish for your web page to rank well for your keywords.
So the short answer would be no, it is not nearly as important as it once was. But it does still carry some weight in Google's algorithm, so don't totally discount it either. Considering how Google's secret sauce was mostly based upon PageRank initially I think it willalwaysbe a factor to consider. Or at least for the foreseeable future.
One of the best uses of Google Page Rank is to use it to judge a web page's authority and age. It is very useful to look at the competitions PR rankings on page one of Google for the keywords your considering targeting. If you find that most have a high PR, then it's a good indication your facing some stiff competition. You better off choosing easier keywords.
What Is My PageRank?
It is often useful to know what your web page's PageRank value is to know how well your backlinking efforts are working. When seeking out incoming links it is very helpful so you can concentrate on web sites that have more sweet Google PR Juice to pass on to your web page.
The easiest way to find out is to use a web site that will tell you what a web page's PageRank is when you enter the URL. Here is a good Google PageRank Tool.
If your still using Internet Exploder, I mean Internet Explorer you can get Google's own Google Toolbar for IE. Be sure to go to the options and activate the PageRank function as it is off by default because of privacy concerns. But please consider a real browser and dump IE before your PC kills you in your sleep for cruel and unusual punishment! You have been warned. :-)
PageRank is NOT all that matters though, not even close. On several occasions I have outranked web pages with PR5 and PR6 rankings with a web page with a much lower PR value on Google. If you doubt this any at all then do a Google search for Haiti Earthquake Facts and there is a good chance you will see my hub page I linked to earlier with a PR2 beating out CNN's PR5 page! As I write this my hub is ranked at postion #3 while CNN is #5! (see screenshot above) These rankings are very dynamic and they do change daily. For a while this hub has maintained a SERP position ranging from #3 - #8 while slowly climbing up closer to #1. I would bet the long amount of time users are spending on my hub is a big factor. Besides being more relevant than the CNN page.
I would have had my doubts I would ever beat out CNN. I hope this doesn't come across the wrong way, but I am still often amazed at what I can pull off on major search engines like Google. This mainly just proves how major web sites don't spend the time tweaking their SEO as much as one individual can. Of course if CNN wanted to crush me like a bug with a bit more effort I would be dead overnight. But they won't never do this most likely.
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What Is Important to Rank Well In The Search Engines?
Be Relevant For The Win
It is my opinion that having a web page that is much more releveant to the users query compared to the PR6 page your competing with means much more than PR does, or ever will. On page SEO optimization is a very important factor. Effective Keyword Usage and using your keywords as Anchor Text when creating incoming links is also very, very, very.... important, second only to the Title you use on the SEO importance scale.
Anchor Text are the words you use to link to another web page. By using your keywords for backlinks you are telling the search engines what the web page is about. Just be sure to mix up the anchor text keywords you use on various web sites. Several closely related keyword phrase variations is a great approach to take. Just don't use the same exact keyword phrase for your anchor text on each and every social bookmarking web site as Mr. Googlebot will know your only trying to manipulate it, and it doesn't like that at all!
Time Spent on Web Page Is Crucial To Ranking Well!
Other factors that I think also count for more than PageRank would include how long a user spends on your web page. This is why its important to try and keep your users engaged on your web page as long as possible. This is one of the many reasons why using videos, polls, pictures, RSS feeds and comments are such a great idea.
Google can and does track how long a user spends on your web page. If they quickly return to Google and click on another link then Google thinks your web page wasn't so relevant after all or of poor quality. If users often quickly return to Google in search of whatever it is they are seeking your web page is going to drop down the SERP's as if it had a virtual lead ball attached to it. This is beyond being bad, its a catastrophe that warrants your immediate attention if you wish to rank well!
Sticky Web Pages
On the other hand if they spend a long time on your web page then they must have liked and found what you had to offer useful. Your web site visitors are voting for or against your web page by how long they spend on it, often unconsciously. I have seen first hand how having a web page that is sticky will help your page slowly, but surely climb up the SERP's over time. Time spent on a web page is very powerful so always keep this in mind and make your web pages sticky as honey. Then the bees will keep coming back for more of your sweet nectar and even tell their friends about such a great resource.
A long hub, web page, or Blog post will also keep a user on your page IF there is good content so they stick around to read it all. Most of my hubs have either a 4 out of 5 or 5 out of 5 ranking for time spent on page according to HubPages internal stats. I try really hard to pack tons of content into my hubs. Sweet stickiness indeed.
Content Is King and Always Will Be
It is often said that when it comes to doing well with respect to SEO that content is king. Having high quality, unique content is what Googlebot and most of all, your users will love. While optimizing your web pages for the search engines is important, your main focus should be the readers, not some silly search engine bot. One reader who loves your content and links to it from a high PR web page will really make your day! Googlebot won't never give you any link love like that.
I know I have strayed a bit off course here while explaining what Google PageRank is, how it works and why it still matters, but I feel it is important for you to understand how PageRank fits into the SEO puzzle that confuses so many. There are other factors that I consider to be much more important than PageRank. I think I have delivered above and beyond here hopefully, so I will save the rest for some other yet to be written hubs.
I would like to take a moment to thank Internetwriter62 for asking me the question that inspired this hub so she could better understand what Google PageRank is and how it works. I hope she and the rest of you understand this much better now.
If you found this hub to be useful please consider clicking on the green "vote "Up" button below, bookmarking via the "Share This" button or linking to this from your own web page. I love all Digg's, Tweets, Stumbles and any other Social Bookmarking love you throw my way! Thank you in advance. If anything is still unclear then please just ask in the comments section below and I will do my best to help you out. Have a great day!
Do you now understand PageRank and how it works better?
Did you learn anything new here about SEO?
By Anthony Goodley ©Anthony Goodley 2010 All Rights Reserved Worldwide.