What is Pagerank?

Many people are aware of the importance of inbound links. Basically the more links to your website, the better your website will perform in the search engine rankings. For example, if you compare your website to your competition’s webiste, and everything on the page (metatags and keywords) are the same, then the website with the most inbound links would rank higher.

This concept is referred to as link popularity. And just like a popularity contest, the more popular you are the more attention you get.

What most people are not aware of is that some websites make for better link partners than others. In fact Google has created a system to measure the link value of any webpage. This is called Pagerank.

PageRank is a link analysis algorithm used by the Google Internet search engine that assigns weight, or a value, to web pages. The algorithm is used in determining the authority and relevance of a webpage for search engine results. Basically the higher the Pagerank, the better the search engine rankings.

The name “PageRank” is a trademark of Google, and the PageRank process has been patented (U.S. Patent 6,285,999 ). However, the patent is assigned to Stanford University and not to Google. Google has exclusive license rights on the patent from Stanford University. The university received 1.8 million shares in Google in exchange for use of the patent; the shares were sold in 2005 for $336 million.

According to Google “PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves ‘important’ weigh more heavily and help to make other pages important”.

So having higher Pagerank websites linking to lower Pagerank websites will benefit the lower Pagerank website, but not necessarily detract from the higher Pagerank websites.

The best way to track your inbound links is to use Google’s webmasters program.

Pagerank Values

Google Pagerank

The Pagerank is assigned to webpages based on a 0-10 scale. Websites with a Pagerank 10 or PR10 are considered the most popular, and usually are considered the most authoritative on the world wide web. The webpage http://google.com would most definitely fall under this category.

Right below PR8 and PR9 are considered very high achievements. Ebay and ESPN.com homepages would fall in this category.

PR7 and PR6 are above average rankings, and will usually do well for their relevant keywords.

PR3 through PR5 are considered average. These ranking require some effort to achieve.

At the bottom is PR0 through PR2. These are fairly easy to acheive given the right amount of inbound links.

Pagerank Linking Strategy

Key to achieving good Pagerank is having a proper linking strategy. By all means the more above average or elite Pagerank website you have linking to you the better, but this is usually very difficult especially for a new website.

When a webmaster decides to launch a new website, they usually embark upon a link building campaign.  A proper link building campaign should start with identifying the keywords that their visitors would use to find the website. The next step is finding relevant websites they could receive inbound links from. In the past, link exchanges or reciprocal links were used to quickly build Pagerank. Currently the most effective way to build inbound links is by joining social networks, social bookmarking and commenting on blogs.

Certain blogs, like WordPress allow for comments to include links to the commentator’s website. This means that simply by making innocent comments on relevent blogs you can achieve some Pagerank for your new website.

Also keep in mind that Pagerank is assigned to each webpage, not each website. So your hompage could be a PR4 and your About Us page could be a PR2. The interior pages of your website should factor into your Pagerank linking Strategy. Don’t get too caught up into making your homepage the only webpage that recieves inbound links.

Also remember to give a little “link love” back. So often people think that Google only values their inbound links, that people lose sight of the bigger picture, and forget about outbound links. Contrary to some SEO myths, outbound links do not hurt your Pagerank, so long as they are relevent to your website.

Selling Pagerank

Currently there is quite a bit of controversy regarding the selling of Pagerank.

Google has warned against such a practice of selling links to increase Page Rank.

In taking their stance, they clearly state that they will uphold the quality guidelines set forth in their webmaster guidelines. Any site caught selling links to increase Page Rank will be dealt with accordingly. To quote Google they say “we reserve the right to protect the quality of our index.”

Unfortunately there is very little means for Google to police this policy. Unless the websites selling Pagerank actually listed what webpages were involved in the illicit activity, Google would have no way of identifying the bad webpages from the good webpages.

Until Google finds a way to actually discriminate between good and bad links, there will be very little recourse for punishing the culprits.

I have stumbled upon one such website called isellpagerank.com, that sell Quality, One-Way Text Links. They seem interesting, but given the warning from Google, they should be used with caution.

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