Google PageRank 101

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PageRank is Google’s proprietary system for ranking web pages according to importance. PageRank (PR from now on) 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’.)

PageRank 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 weigths the quality of the pages linking to you very heavily, you want to solicit link exchanges with pages that in turn have a high PageRank.

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. This is how the PageRank indicator looks in the Google toolbar (the yellow textbox that spells out the page’s PR will pop up automatically when you place your cursor over the green PR bar):

To download the Google Toolbar go to http://www.google.com/toolbar.html .

To learn all about the Google Toolbar go to: http://toolbar.google.com/help.html

To read Google’s explanation of PageRank go to http://www.google.com/technology/index.html .

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Mario Sanchez publishes The Internet Digest ( http://www.theinternetdigest.net ), an internet marketing content site packed with useful articles and resources, and SEO Tutorial (http://www.seotutorial.info) where you can learn the basics of search engine optimization in four easy steps.

Google PageRank 101
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