Page Rank was named after Lawrence Page, one of the founders of Google. It is a numerical value between 0 and 10 that reflects the importance of any given page on the web. Rightly or wrongly when one page links to another page Google sees this as a kind of electronic vote for the other page. The more votes a page accumulates the more important that page must be. Furthermore, the importance of the page casting the vote determines the weight or strength of the vote. So Pagerank (or PR) is Google’s way of deciding how important each of your pages are by counting all the votes.
Why is Pagerank important? Pagerank is one of the deciding factors Google will use when deciding where in to rank your site and pages and is important in SEO.
How Is Page Rank Calculated?
When Google attempts to score your pages out of 10 it will look at ALL your inbound links; this includes links coming from your other pages as well as links coming from external pages. See below for the formula Google uses to calculate your PR.
PR(A) = (1-d) + d(PR(t1)/C(t1) + … + PR(tn)/C(tn))
It’s not necessary to understand exactly what this formula means. Rather, just understand that the amount of link juice a page has to vote with is slightly less than it’s own Pagerank (it’s own page rank * 0.85). This link juice is shared equally amongst all the pages that it links out to. Contrary to popular belief, you can not lose any pagerank by linking out to other internal or external pages. If one of your pages has a PR5 and you place a hundered outgoing links to another page – your pagerank will still be 5 and won’t be transferred. Just like if you’re at a board meeting; you know that if you have 1000 shares in the company and the guy next to you has 500 shares then your vote carries more weight. But you don’t lose any of your shares once you place you vote.
How Do I Increase My PageRank?
There are a couple of ways that you can increase your PageRank. You can either get more backlinks from external pages or you can add more pages to your site whilst better optimising your internal page structure. Each page immediately has a pagerank of 1 as soon as you create it, so it makes sense that the more pages you create the better PR you will receive.
However, there are some caveats to this rule. To receive the PR benefit of adding a new page to your site, the page does have to be indexed by Google for it to be counted. Also, the page has to be within your network of pages – meaning that it must link to and from another one of your pages. Of course, it makes most sense to link your new page to a page that you want to receive the highest pagerank on your site; perhaps the home page or one of your product pages.
You can not fabricate pagerank from clever internal linking but it can be wasted if not done correctly. For example, if you have a ‘hanging link’ – which occurs when you have an orphan page not linking from or two another one of your internal pages – then the pagerank of this page will be wasted.
It’s also important to note that the Google pagerank calculation is on a logarithmic scale – meaning that it is much much easier to go from a PR2 to a PR3 than it is to go from a PR6 to a PR7.
It’s difficult to look under the hood of Google’s PR system without getting overwhelmed with figures and metrics. Keep the following in mind and your PR will constantly be on the rise:
Keep adding one-way backlinks from sites with a good PR themselves.
Keep creating new pages ensuring they link to and from at least one other internal page on your site.