Google PageRank: what do you need to know about it

by Tolovaj

Short explanation of Google PageRank. How to check the rank of your page. Should you increase your PR?

Google PageRank (some wrongly call it page rank) is pretty controversial theme. Every page on the web has its own PageRank and a lot of webmasters seek to increase it as high it is possible. But many claim it is outdated factor which looses its importance from month to month.

Who is right? What exactly is PageRank (PR)? How to check your PR? How to increase it? How is PR calculated?

Here are top 10 things you should know about PageRank!

(Image credit: clker.com)

What is PageRank (also wrongly called page rank)?

Google PageRank explained

1. Google PageRank is a measure of authority of every single page on the internet. It was initially calculated by relatively simple formula (but times are changing) used for measuring importance of articles in scientific publications with this logic:

- if article A is quoted in article C and article B is quoted in articles C and D, we have a ground to believe article B is more important (authoritative) than article A

How you get PageRank
More backlinks means more authority
More backlinks means more authority

- if article E is quoted by less important (authoritative) article A and article F is quoted by more important (authoritative) article B, we have a ground to believe article F is more important than article E (he has more 'powerful vote')

How you get higher PR
More authoritative pages links to your page, higher authority you get
More authoritative pages links to your page, higher authority you get

- if we substitute article with web page, we can compare authorities of web pages on the same premisses.

2. PageRank is Google's trademark. It is named after one of his authors: Larry Page. So Page in name is not connected to web page, it is really connected to the name of real person.

3. PageRank (not page rank) is calculated for every page (like http://www.pravljice.org/pravljice/o-pravljicah/wilde-saloma-pravljice), not site (like http://www.pravljice.org) on the web. It can have one of numbers from 0 to 10, where 0 represents lowest and 10 represents highest authority.

You can also note main site in this example has PR 2 and page under this site has PR 4. This is not a typical case, but is not too rare either.

PageRank 10 is reserved for only few pages in the whole world (this is example of page with millions of authoritative backlinks: http://get.adobe.com/reader).

How can I check my PageRank?

4. There are numerous ways to check your PR:

- free on-line PR checkers, for instance http://www.prchecker.info

- free programs for PR check, like "Rank me V3.0.exe" (this checker is great, it is free, it does not need installation and it can check every single page what many add-ons can't)

- add-ons for browsers, some call them prcheckers, just type "PageRank checker for Mozilla" or "PR check for Chrome", or something like that depending on your browser.

Let's check some PageRanks!
Let's check some PageRanks!
clker.com

There are also tons of so-called SEO tool bars for browsers out there and pagerank tool is integrated in every one of them.

Why is page rank important?

5. You will hear two fat lies about PageRank:

- PageRank is most important factor in the world.

- PageRank is not important at all and you should forget everything about it.

The truth is in between. PageRank (PR) was only few years ago so important the owner of the page with higher PR always ranked better than the owner of page with lower PR if they competed for same keyword in search engine rankings. But PageRank is only one of more than 200 factors by which a decision of search engine is made and it is constantly loosing its weight from one update to another.

This doesn't mean PageRank is not important. Typical example is site with PR 4 where you can expect a visit of search engine's bots every single day (or more times a day). With PR 0 you can wait for weeks, even months to get a visit and if you have fresh content on your site (you added new page, for example), you can wait for long time before your new page is indexed. Fortunatelly there are other techniques to accelarate indexing of your fresh pages.

Anyway: if you can choose between lower and higher PageRank for your site, high is always better! With higher PR you can also count more of your pages in single site will be indexed than with lower PR.

6. You should know there is one more possible PR status for your page. Not only from 0 to 10, but also 'not available', what means 'not calculated' and is displayed with - or N/A in your PR toolbar.

If you get this info, there is a chance this page is not indexed by Google. Or it is indexed, but PR not calculated and you have to wait until calculation is finished.

How do you feel about PageRank?

How important is in your opinion?

How to increase PageRank?

7. You need backlinks. Backlink is a link from other page pointing to your page. More backlinks you have and higher PR they have, better chance for you to have high PR on your page.

You will hear two more fat lies about PageRank:

- Some new pages (for example freshly opened blogs) can get PR higher than 0 even without backlinks. You can blame so called Google dance for that.

This is not true. When you publish new blog it will be probably shown somewhere. If we look for instance at wordpress.com, your blog can be shown after publishing for some time on first page and if it is indexed by bots just at the right time in the right place, it can get PR 5 or some similar undeserved number just on that trivial fact.

- You can get higher PR by adding fresh content, deleting duplicated content and checking your texts for typos.

This is just not the case either. PageRank is dependent on backlinks only. I have seen numerous pages breaking those rules, full of dead links and typos, without fresh content for years and so on, but still having PR 5 or 6. They only had powerful backlinks and this is it.

8. Nobody (I believe that includes Larry Page) can say for sure, how many links with certain authority you need to achieve certain PageRank on your page. Experiments show you need about 18 backlinks with PR 3 to have PR 3 on your site. You need about 5 backlinks from page with PR 4 or only 1 backlink from page with PR 5 to achieve the same authority.

9. Things complicate further because the strength of every backlink (what is related to passing authority from one page to another) is dependent of the number of backlinks on page from where backlink comes to your site. In web directories you can get easy backlinks but in company of thousand backlinks the authority you get is insignificant.

Calculation of PageRank takes time
Calculation of PageRank takes time
clker.com

How often is PageRank updated?

When we'll see next PR update?

10. Google tells us only when it already happened. It is typically four times a year, but you never know. Last update (after long waiting time and a lot of guessing) was December 6, 2013, before was February 4 2013, before that was November 7 2012, before was August 2, 2012 and before May 3, 2012. We can only speculate about the date of next update. If I was forced to bet, I would go on March 2014.

Of course when you see PR update, you can't be sure what backlinks were counted and used in the calculation, what are already counted but not yet entered the equation and what backlinks are counted but for some reason will never be in the calculation. PR which can be seen at this very moment is always an outdated info!

When we can expect next PR update?

When we can expect next PR update?

Image credit: Free printable calendars

Note: Due to quarterly pattern PR update was expected in the beginning of May 2013, but we got it only in December 6, 2013, so always expect the unexpected.

Don't be obsessed with PR, but be good and try to increase your PageRanks of your pages however. After all PR is a measure of your success. Higher PR means more (quantity and quality counts) backlinks, and this means higher popularity. And we all want to be liked by others, don't we?

Updated: 12/06/2013, Tolovaj
 
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What is highest PR of any of your pages right now?


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Tolovaj on 02/18/2014

Well, for start page rank (rank of certain page in search results) is not the same as PageRank (measure of authority). But don't worry, it's a process and it can be actually fun, ologsinquito:)

ologsinquito on 02/18/2014

It's still difficult for me to understand all the ins an outs of page rank and SEO, but I'm slowly learning.

Tolovaj on 11/14/2013

You are right, ologsinquito. Traffic is much better indicator of success. CTR and sales are even better:)

ologsinquito on 11/12/2013

I'm not sure because I haven't checked in a while, and I'm mostly focused on traffic. If I see the numbers (from search engines) I'm happy.

Tolovaj on 06/24/2013

@WriterArtist: Thanks!

WriterArtist on 06/23/2013

PageRank explained in simple words - Well Done.

Tolovaj on 06/01/2013

Although PageRank is not as powerful indicator as it was several years ago, Google is very clear on his very short list of clear directions (there is also VERY long list of unclear directions).
Let' back to the short list. It says: "Don't sell PageRank from your pages." If nothing else, this clearly says PR is important and everybody who tried to reverse engineer their algo, can confirm that.

davestone13 on 06/01/2013

Interesting. I was aware of PageRank but had little clarity on how it all worked. This made it very clear. Thanks.

Tolovaj on 02/11/2013

@RebeccaE, thanks for stopping by. Yes, authority is still the major factor on the web and although many people believe social activity will eventually replace the PR (which is only a part of equation), I really don't believe this can happen in near future. My tests clearly show PageRank is important and knowing about hundreds of thousands fake profiles made by SEO companies only convinced me to stick to PR. Frankly - will Google trust more to its algorithm or to fake profiles?

Just don't forget - only a part of equation!

RebeccaE on 02/10/2013

thanks for clearing this up, you made it easy. I knew about PageRanks, but I wasn't as sure about the authority so the examples are a great reminder.


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