PageRank™ is Google’s proprietary system for ranking web pages according to importance. Page Rank (PR) is a grade (on a scale from one to ten) that Google gives a page after performing a series of elaborate calculations (Google’s PageRank algorithm) that take into account the page’s content, and the number and quality of pages linking to it.
In a nutshell, the more inbound links a web page has, coming from pages that (a) have a high PR and (b) feature similar or complementary content, the higher its PR will be. The second condition is very important, since a link from a high PR soccer page to a dog grooming page is unlikely to result in any PR benefit for the dog grooming page.
The closer a web page gets to a PR of 10, the higher its importance. A PageRank of 4 or 5 is considered good. Very few pages attain a PR of 10 (among those few are Yahoo! and Google itself). Although nobody knows for a fact, it is widely believed that PageRank is determined using a logarithmic grading scale instead of a linear one. What this means in layman’s terms is that it is much more difficult for a web page to move from a PR of 6 to a PR of 7, than it is to move from a PR of 1 to PR of 2. (For more insights on how PageRank works read ‘Uncovering Google’s PageRank System’.)
Page Rank is used by Google to determine the position of a page in the search results after a query. For example, if you search for ‘Italian Food’, Google will first find all the pages relevant to that topic, and then will rank them based on their PR. Given equal relevance, those with a higher PR will be displayed first.
PageRank is a vital piece of statistics to track the progress of your search engine optimization strategy. By checking the PR of your pages frequently, you will be able to tell if your SEO efforts are paying off.
Aside from utilizing PR to analyze your own pages, you can also use it to determine the relative importance of other web pages. This will come in handy when conducting a link exchange campaign. Since Google weights the quality of the pages linking to you very heavily, you want to solicit link exchanges with pages that in turn have a high Page Rank.
To be able to see the PageRank of a web page, you have to download the Google toolbar, a free plug-in that works with your web browser. The Google toolbar provides you with a PageRank indicator that automatically shows you the PageRank of the page you are viewing.
To download the Google Toolbar: google.com/toolbar.html
To learn all about the Google Toolbar: toolbar.google.com/help.html.
To read Google’s explanation of PageRank: google.com/technology/index.html
Article © Mario Sanchez. All rights reserved.
About the Author: Mario Sanchez is a Miami based freelance writer, who focuses on web design and Internet marketing topics. He publishes The Internet Digest (https://www.theinternetdigest.net), a collection of web design and Internet marketing articles, tips and resources. You can freely reprint his weekly articles in your website, ezine, newsletter or ebook.