24. What is Page Rank?

Page Rank is Google's way of deciding a web page's importance among the billions of pages online. It is an important factor because it plays a role in ranking a web page in the search engine results pages and thus a key SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) metric. Though Page Rank is not the only factor that Google uses torank pages, it is one of the many important ones. Pages that are important pages receive a higher Page Rank and thus are more likely to appear in the top rankings of the search engine results pages (SERP’s).

To add further, it is a link analysis algorithm formulated for better search engine performance from a user perspective. This concept is named after one of the founders of Google, Larry Page and used by the Google search engine. The fundamental idea is to assign a numeric weightage to a hyperlinked set of web pages with the objective of "measuring" each page's relative importance within the evaluation set. This numerical weight that Google assigns to a website page is referred to as Page Rank and denoted by PR.

The way Google looks at web pages is very different. The theory being that the most important pages on the Internet are the pages with links many pointing to them. The Page Rank algorithm thinks of these links as votes, where a page linking to another page is casting a vote for the other page, thereby giving it a positive vote of importance or relevance. The more votes a page gets, the more important the page must be and thus relevant for a set of users. An important factor one must remember is that the page rank of the page giving a vote determines the importance of the vote. Hence primarily Google calculates a page's importance from the votes cast for it or received by it by way of backlinks. The page rank system also looks at the number of links on the page casting the "vote." Pages with more links have less weight. The importance of each vote and the number of votes received is taken into account when PageRank is calculated.

While it may sound simple, it is not. You cannot just go out there and start posting links and expect a high page rank. Not all backlinks/inbound links are counted by Google. There is a very effective and efficient link filtration process which filters out links from known link farms.

It’s not just the inbound links or backlinks, but the outbound links which play a role in PR as well. While Google understands that webmasters cannot control which websites link to their websites, but webmasters surely can control which websites they link out to. So it is important to be careful which sites or web pages your web pages link to. If a page has no PR or PR0, it would be unwise to link to it till it achieves a PR.

I hope this makes sense to you, people do want to link to pages with fresh, non-duplicate and relevant content, and pages with more links pointing to them are usually better than pages that nobody links back to.

Importance of Page Rank?

Page Rank is one of many factors that determine search engine results ranking. You will hear most SEO professionals referring to page rank as an important metric.

What bout Flaws/Loopholes in Page Rank system?

Software’s which rely upon crunching huge amounts of user generated data for results and have their own inefficiencies. And as such, there are flaws in the Page Rank system too. Over time, many people figured ways both right and wrong to get a higher Page Rank with data manipulation etc. Google is aware of these and regularly updates its capabilities to ensure fair results. If Google’s system finds you using illegal methods, your website may be penalized and off rankings for a long time. It’s best to stick to good rules of Search Engine Optimization.

Where and how can I see Page Rank of my website pages?

PR is measured on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest PR. Very few websites across the world have managed to achieve PR 10.

PR is assigned to individual pages of a website and not to the entire website.There are many ways you can find page rank of a web page, you can use Google Toolbar or plugins in Firefox, Opera, Safari browsers or simply search for a page rank checker and you will be provided with many options.

So the next question obviously, how can PageRank be improved?

First of all, you need to have a website with relevant and user friendly content which other sites and web pages would love to link into. Then to increase the page rank you need to have many "back-links" or inbound links to your website. There are many ways of creating backlinks, but the relevance of these keep changing as the algorithms are updated. Links can be traded with other sites, taking care that only relevant links are traded and never trade links with a link farm or else you stand to face the Google penalty. Register your website with high PR directories to get links, write and post articles with relevant content and avoid duplication here. You can do press releases for your business, even these get you good back links,

Use social media effectively so more and more people know about your website and may want to link to it or share it. As you create and add more content to your website, you must also create links by linking to your pages for content which is interconnected and will be useful to the reader

And do not forget that the numbers of links you create are accounted for too when allocating Page Rank, so don’t just go about on a link building spree and overdo it.