If your work involves Google or SEO, you have most likely come across the term PageRank. So, what is a Page rank?
PageRank is an algorithm used by Google or search engine rankings to ensure search results are of high quality. It uses links to measure the importance of a web page. And for a long time, PageRank scores gave the assumption that pages with the most links were more important than others with fewer.
Understanding Google PageRank?
Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, developed a ranking algorithm used in ranking web pages within a large set of pages by calculating the number of inbound and outbound links connected to the examined page. Nonetheless, PageRank is one of the factors that google search engine uses to rank websites in search results, making it a strong success metric in SEO strategy.
The initial purpose of page rank was to help Google provide highly relevant search results compared to other search engines. And while the original formula of this innovative algorithm has changed, it is still used for search rankings nowadays. Today google’s Pagerank score is not available to the public despite being a significant factor used to determine which websites get a higher PageRank score.
The Introduction of the Google Toolbar Pagerank
Google introduced a public-facing toolbar in the year 2000, allowing people to see the PageRank scores of their pages and their competitor’s sites. The algorithm determined search ranking and testified to the website’s authority. The value a web page gets from being linked to reputable websites is referred to SEOs as “link juice.”
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While this new feature was meant to encourage website owners to do better, the result was not as pleasing. SEOs started focusing more on increasing PangeRank than producing quality content. The goal became to get as many links pointing to their websites as possible.
The result of this shift in focus saw PageRank manipulated, and the quality of content decreased as user experience became worse by the day. The thirst to get more links from web pages with high PageRank scores saw the rise of what many came to know as link farms.
15 years later, Google realized how much damage the public Google toolbar had done to the SEO industry. Come 2014, Google would stop displaying the toolbar PageRank score to the public.
Why did Google Retire the PageRank Toolbar?
SEOs took advantage of Pagerank to ensure their websites ranked higher without considering the quality of content. The obsession with PageRank led to increased link spam while lowering the credibility of highly ranked pages, even on the Google directory. Site owners are no longer focused on providing quality information. Instead, page linking became the most focused SEO tactic.
From Google’s perspective, the PageRank value had dropped too low, and there was no need to update the feature. SEOs used PageRank to manipulate Pagerank, forcing Google to retire the toolbar in 2016.
Factors That Influenced PageRank and That Are Still Applicable
Several factors influence PageRank’s score. Understanding the best SEO practices to improve your rankings and how to apply them for maximum results is important. Knowing which to implement and which to avoid in your SEO tactics can make a huge difference in how your site ranks.
1. Anchor Text
In the initial days of Google, the anchor text was a very crucial factor used to rank web pages. According to Google, anchor text gave a more accurate description of what a web page was about than how the site could present itself. For instance, if you want your site to rank high for the term “fashion house,” the number of links you have with that term as an anchor text could determine how high you rank.
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Using anchor texts and more links became a competition between SEOs trying to match anchor texts from high-ranking pages. Nonetheless, while this worked for some time, eventually overuse of anchor texts was discovered to result in toxic links that can lead to algorithmic adjustment.
2. The Chances of a Link Being Clicked
There are links on a page that have higher chances of being clicked as compared to others. This can be determined by the position of the link and also the anchor text that has been used. For example, links found in a footer or those with words such as “terms of service” are less likely to be clicked.
Therefore, the likelihood of a link being clicked is an essential factor in PageRank and is referred to by Google as a surfer patent.
3. Internal Links
One of the best SEO tactics with guaranteed results is internal linking. Internal PageRank is powerful because it helps your website with the boost it needs to have a noticeable presence. What happens is that PageRank gets to flow through your website pages, linking them and causing them to appear on the Pagerank metric.
4. NoFollow Links Attribute
NoFollow links were beneficial to SEOs as they helped them sculpt the flow of PageRank. The idea was that if you had 5 external links, PageRank would definitely pass through the one followed link point if the rest were NoFollowed. However, the idea changed in 2009 when Google’s Matt Cutts said the NoFollow attribute would no longer work. He also confirmed that PageRank would not be affected by the presence of a NoFollow attribute. Instead, it would be distributed across all the present links on a page.
The PageRank algorithm brings out a probability distribution that banks on the chances of a user arriving at a particular web by incidentally clicking on random links. The calculation starts by applying this algorithm to a website collection of any size. The probability distribution remains the same across the entire collection with the assumption that the pages are homogenous. The algorithm necessitates multiple repetitions or passes through the collection to clarify the nearest PageRank codes and adds a more precise depiction of their actual values.
The probability is conveyed by a numerical value ranging from 0 to 1. To emphasize, if a page has a PageRank of 0.5, it implies a probability of 50% that a user clicking on a random link will land on a specific page.
To shorten the page rank algorithm, let’s target a small universe of four web pages A, B, C, and D. We will overlook some self-links and treat multiple outbound links from one page to another as a single link. In the initial version of PageRank, the sum of PageRank values of all pages was equal to the entire number of pages on the web at that time. Thus, in this example, each page would have an original PageRank value of 1.
Amid each repletion of the algorithm, the PageRank value identical to a particular webpage is distributed evenly among all the terminal pages linked by the webpage.
How to improve your PageRank
Considering that links are key to increasing your PageRank, you need to master the art of linking pages. Let’s look at your options:
Backlink is the best way to increase your PageRank. The greater the number of high authority, relevant and reputable websites that link to you, the higher your PageRank score will be.
Here are some ways to build reliable backlinks:
- Create content with which different people within your niche can relate to.
- Engage other professionals through videos, webinars, and infographics to encourage website owners to link to your pages.
- Invest in reliable backlink indexers on your website.
- Stay active in communities within or related to your niche.
2. Redirect Broken Pages
As your website grows, you will have old pages that seem to lose their original impact. To help boost such pages on your site, redirect them to relevant new pages within your website. By doing this, you will be ensuring the old pages consolidate signals from PageRank. Take time to learn how to implement proper redirects. Ensure when linking your pages, relevance is paramount.
3. Internal Links
While you may have no control over backlinks, internal links are different. You are in control of the anchor text and the pages you want to page link. You can opt to link to pages you feel are major on your site, and you also get to choose carefully the anchor text to promote.
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4. External Links
It is paramount to ensure that the external links you use are from authority websites to help increase your PageRank. While using an external link, the anchor text should be descriptive enough to guide the surfer. Research and learn more about link building to ensure you do it right.
Even though PageRank is no longer public, Google still uses it. And while PageRank uses several factors to determine scores, links remain central. Ranking top on search results is essential for all SEOs. Therefore, use the correct techniques for more backlinks, internal links, and the proper use of anchor texts on top of other SEO strategies.