SEO Best Practices: What is PageRank?

PageRank was developed as a way to measure the relative importance among Web pages. Higher PageRank implies the Web page is more popular among web users than others and often correlates to more prominent search engine ranking. Background information on how PageRank originally figured into Google’s business plans can be found on Google’s technology overview page.

In terms of SEO, most SEO professionals commonly refer to the Google Toolbar PageRank which displays PageRank as a number between 1 and 10, with a PageRank of 10 being the best (as opposed to a probability between 0 and 1, which is what the PageRank algorithm calculates).

The concept of the Google Toolbar PageRank can be explained using a simple analogy: a popularity contest. Each link is essentially a ‘vote’ for a Web page, hence the importance of ‘link building’ in SEO. In this contest, however, ‘votes’ are not created equal – links from sites with higher PageRank are weighted more heavily than sites with lower PageRank. Additionally, there are numerous additional factors that are considered by Google as well. Although Google does not publicly identify these factors, most SEO professionals agree that elements such as the age of the site, frequency of content updates, title tags as well as link anchor texts are important factors.

Using PageRank, Google seeks to qualify sites and highlight more prominently pages that are the most relevant to a user’s search query.

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About William Tyree

William Tyree is a marketing technologist and writer, and is currently Vice President of Marketing for DemandResults. He has worked as a marketing and technology strategist in a variety of industries, including B2B software, entertainment, healthcare, legal, large nonprofit, eGovernment and food & beverage. His writing has been published in Harvard Review, The Atlantic, Japan Inc and elsewhere.

10 Responses to “SEO Best Practices: What is PageRank?”

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