*2016 Edit: PageRank as a number is used less frequently these days. However, it is still relevant, it is still being used in the algorithms most probably (nobody really knows what these are…), and, it is very useful to know what this is all about. Therefor I choose to republish this 2008 article about Google’s PageRank. Besides that, at the end of the article a fun treat 🙂
PageRank is one of many methods that Google uses to determine a page’s relevance or importance on a certain topic. For this, Google looks at the links from page A to page B, and counts this link as a vote, by page A for page B.
The hard thing about PageRank is, that Google does not only take into account the number of incoming links, but also the relevance and the quality of the page that is linking to you is important. Basically this means you should try to get links to your page from pages that deal with the same topic as you do, but, also their PageRank is of importance to get you a higher PageRank. Incoming links from sites in your interest-area, with a high PageRank will increase your PageRank.
But, as was to be expected with Google, it is not all that simple yet! Also the number of outgoing links on that high PR page that you finally received an incoming link from is of importance. If there is a page with a good PR, and only one link on it, to your page, then this link will get a very high value in your PR calculation. However, if that same page has 100 links on it to all different pages on the same topic, then the value of the link to your site will only get a small fraction of the value it could have.
Weird enough, but glad it is that way, bad incoming links do not have any impact on your PageRank (if they are not paid links). This means, if the worlds worst webmaster, puts a link to your page on his worst of the worst website, this will not bring your PR down. The same goes for sites that are banned from Google, the links from their pages to yours do not count for your PR. That is good news of course 🙂
Although Ranking Popluraity does consider the content, the site age, the backlink relevance, and the duration of the backlinks, PageRank does not take these factors into account. Also, it doesn’t work for your website as a whole, but for each page individually. Meaning, your indexpage can have a PR of 3, all your other pages can have a PR of 5, and one of your articles can have a PR of 9. The pages are all linked to eachother, and in that way taken into account, but their PR is not overall, but rather page wise.
Despite what you often see (in Google’s toolbar, or in articles like this one), PageRank is not a value from 1 to 10, but rather it is a floating point number (3.142879 etc). It is also calculated permanently by Google, but to the outside world (Google Toolbar), the numbers are updated only monthly or less. Menaing you cannot see your next level immediately in the Google Toolbar. Which may be good to not have you dissapointed immediately, since each PageRank level is harder and harder to reach, since it is calculated on a logarithmic scale.
Do you want more info on PageRank? Send me an email, or put something in the comments on this post. I will try to answer your question!
More in-depth info on PageRank will follow later on on iCan’t Internet, but if you want to read about
Pigeon Rank, another technique that Google is using, click on the link, and do not forget to laugh 😉