What is PageRank?

PageRank is one of the important factors that determine Search Engine Results Page (SERP). It is a numerical value assigned by Google that shows the importance of a web page. When one page links to another, it is actually casting a vote for the other page. It goes to say that a page with more relevant inbound links enjoys a higher page rank. For simplicity sake, PageRank is referred to PR in this article.

Applying the Mathematical Concept of PageRank

Google calculates the PR of a web page using this equation:

PR(A)=(1-d) + d[PR(t1)/C(t1) +…+ PR(tn)/C(tn)]

‘t1…tn’ are pages linking to Page A
‘C’ is the number of outbound links of the linking page
‘d’ is a damping factor set at 0.85

This is the original equation Google published when it developed PR. Whether Google uses a variation of it, only God knows. This equation, though, is essential to an understanding of PR.

Don’t be scared by the above equation. For a fuller explanation of this equation with working examples read The Google Page Rank Algorithm and How it Works by Ian Rogers.

The purpose of this present article is to apply the Mathematical concept of PR to your web page ranking strategy. Yes, you can organize your linking strategy to achieve high PR for your important web pages.

Inbound Linking Strategy

Many people assume that the Toolbar PR values of PR1 to PR10 are set on a logarithmic scale. Nobody outside Google knows for sure, but there is a very good reason for this assumption. That being the case, moving from a lower page rank to the next higher one gets increasingly difficult. So, moving from PR3 to PR4 is more difficult compared to moving from PR1 to PR2. For illustration refer to the table below…

Toolbar PageRank (log base 10)…Real PageRank

0………………………………0 – 10

1……………………………100 – 1,000

2…………………………..1,000 – 10,000

3………………………….10,000 – 100,000

4……………………………..and so on…

*This illustration assumes a log base of 10.

In a nutshell, an inbound page link with a PR8 is worth more than one with PR4. The number of outbound links of the incoming page link becomes immaterial. Inbound links with high PRs that are relevant to your website will boost your web page ranking significantly.

The practice in the past was to buy inbound links with high PR to boost your web page PR. However, Google in recent times has clamped down this practice. A new web page with lots of high PR inbound links will be viewed with suspicion. Buying incoming links has become a thing of the past. The rock solid ways to gather inbound links are through…

a. Directories – Getting listed in quality directories like DMOZ or Yahoo can help boost your page rank.

b. Building a great content site that others want to link with.

Internal Linking Strategy

Based on the equation that Google uses to calculate PR, adding new pages has the effect of improving the overall PR of a website. If your organize your internal links carefully, you can channel the PR of your new pages to the important pages of your website.

The strategy is to grow your website steadily by adding new pages, and link them to your important pages. Avoid pages that are identical eg. affiliate programs web pages. You will be accused of spamming by Google, and run the risk of having your web pages and possibly your entire website penalized. Add new pages that are rich in content, and relevant to your website. Content is king.

However, new pages have to be indexed by Google before they can channel their PR to other pages. Google only indexes pages that have one or more pages on the web linked to them. Organize your internal linking carefully.

Outbound Linking Strategy

You will lose page rank with outbound links. So it is good practice to ask for reciprocal links, and to have outbound links from a page with the lowest PR. Have the anchor text of the incoming links centered on your keywords or similar keywords. You also need to vary the text of your inbound links to make them look natural to Google.

Choose your link exchange partners carefully. Avoid link farms. Period.

Google enjoys about 36 percent of web traffic on the World Wide Web. In absolute terms, this represents a significant figure. As long as PR is one of the important factors Google uses to determine Search Engine Result Pages, it is prudence to understand how PR works and strategize your linking accordingly. You don’t need to crack your head to fully understand PR. All you need is to simply apply the practical concepts delineated in this article to your linking strategy, and a good dose of patience. For Google places emphasis on the age of your links, your domain, and your web pages.

It’s a fool’s game to try to beat Google. Stick to rock solid principles when building your link structure, and you won’t have to worry when the next Google ‘dance’ comes along. Your web pages will still be standing after the dust has settled.

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