Google PageRank Simplified
By Bryan Clark
The blog-o-sphere is buzzing with news that we are just weeks (if not days) away from the next Google PageRank update. But what is Google Pagerank?
It gets complicated. And when I say complicated I mean Einstein-esque complicated. The Google PageRank explanation isn't for the faint of heart. So... if you have heart conditions, blod clots, emphysema, are pregnant, nursing or could become pregnant... Look the other way... NOW!
Google PageRank History
Google PageRank was developed in the mid 90's by Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford University. The two worked tirelessly for 3 years on an algorithm that could produce a numerical ranking of webpages based on a number of factors (we'll get to those in a second).
After a successful prototype was created in 1998, the two went on to found Google shortly after. The Google PageRank became the standard by which Google now ranks webpages.
The PageRank Algorithm
I'm going to zoom right through this part because this is where it gets complicated. I just want to show you the world famous algorithm.
PR(A) = (1-d) + d (PR(T1)/C(T1) + ... + PR(Tn)/C(Tn))
PR(A) is the PageRank of page A,
PR(Ti) is the PageRank of pages Ti which link to page A,
C(Ti) is the number of outbound links on page Ti and
d is a damping factor
This is the original Google PageRank algorithm as discovered by Page, and Brin. It has undergone a lot of changes since then, and the ACTUAL algorithm that is used now remains somewhat mysterious.
So What Exactly Is A PageRank?
Google PageRank is defined by a number from 0-10 (10 being the highest). It is, essentially, a vote of confidence from the community. The higher the PageRank, the more "trusted" your site is by Google. That said, the links from these sites are also highly trusted (more on that later).
What Does Google PageRank Mean To Me?
PageRank or PR, in short, means EVERYTHING! If you are aspiring to build a great site that generates tons of revenue and loads of daily visitors, PageRank is very important. There is a huge misconception floating around that Google PageRank also determines your search engine results placement (or SERP). This is not, and has never been true. On Google alone, it is a SMALL factor. When I say a small factor, I mean it is only one of a couple dozen factors. None of the other search engines use PageRank to determine their results.
That said, Google PageRank IS a very important statistic for a monetized blog or site. It is one of the deciding factors when determining everything from how much you charge advertisers, to the overall value of your site if you should go to sell it. Some sites even charge other sites for a link if their page has a high enough PageRank. I'll get into this in a minute.
How Do I Get A High Google PageRank?
Pray! Actually the single most effective way to build a PageRank all has to do with a very basic blog principle. Write quality content! It's that simple.... kinda.
Google PageRank is a system that relies heavily on links. Incoming and outgoing links are the biggest factor in your PageRank. You know how I'm always preaching "link love"? This is one of the reasons (besides my strong desire to better the community). Every link that comes into your site (linkback, trackback, backlink) is given a value. The overall value of your incoming links weighs heavily on your Google PageRank.
Every link is assigned a value based on how high the site that linked to you is rated. For example... if you had 1,000 incoming links from websites that don't have a PageRank, it might not weigh as heavily as having 100 incoming links from a site with a PR 5. As I mentioned above, the higher the PageRank, the more trusted the site is. Therefore, when it comes to incoming links, the higher the PageRank of the links, the better your chances of increasing your PageRank. The higher your PageRank, the more leverage you have as a blogger.
There are also factors that you can't control when it comes to PR. The older your site is, the more trusted it becomes and therefore, it is looked upon in a favorable way by Google. Google wants lots of pages, lots of incoming links to said pages, and lots of internal links to your pages. That means that you should try to link to as many pages inside your site as possible. This shouldn't be hard, because it only helps your cause. A "recent post" category in your sidebar is an example of an internal link.
Some people even BUY incoming links from sites with a high Google PageRank. I don't condone this on either end though. For one it costs money and it isn't really cost effective for a new blogger. And secondly, the sites that do this are usually punished when Google finds out.
This was just the basics of how Google PageRank works. I'm no expert, but it should help you out as you are getting started. I hope this helps un-mystify PR a little bit.
In closing, I'll tell you this... The fastest way to build Google PageRank is to get linked to, A LOT! Also, I mentioned that writing quality content was the way to build Google PageRank, and here is how. The more quality content you put into your blog, the more pages you accumulate. Google likes sites with a lot of pages. Also, the more quality content you write, the more you get linked to. Incoming links mean sweet PageRank improvement, and gaining a few awesome readers!