What does Google PageRank really mean?
Dave, maybe you can explain something for me: my Web site Freedom For Animals.org apparently has a PageRank of two out of ten (2/10), and I don't really understand what that means. Does it mean, for example, that my organization's site is #2 out of 10 hits?
It's hard to pin down exactly what Google means when it talks about PageRank, but the best definition is that its a rough indication of the popularity of a Web page. A higher PageRank indicates a more popular page.
Notice here that I'm not talking about Web sites here too: Google considers every page of a Web site to be an autonomous entity, one thing that quite frequently confuses people. We've all been taught to think about Web sites, but the new, modern Web is all about separate autonomous pages, not sites at all.
Let's jump back to PageRank for a moment, though. Google PageRank is a measure of the relative popularity of a site, ranging from a rank of zero (you have insufficient inbound links or are too new to have a rank) to a rank of ten (which means you're one of the dozen top sites on the entire network).
A few example values: www.yahoo.com has a PageRank of 9, www.google.com has a PageRank of 10, www.microsoft.com has a PageRank of 9 and www.redcross.org has a PageRank of 8.
But PageRank isn't just an indication of how many Web pages point to your page, it's an indication of how important those sites that point to your page are too. This is the piece of the Google algorithm that make its search engine so darn interesting: if a small number of highly popular (e.g., high PageRank) pages point to your page, you could be considered more important than if hundreds of less important Web sites have links to you.
As a result, everyone who pays attention to PageRank dreams of showing up on the Google home page. That'd be a glorious day for your PageRank!
So now that we've talked about how PageRank is calculated, let's spend some time talking about why you should - or, perhaps, shouldn't - care about its value.
First off, let's set aside a common misunderstanding: a higher PageRank does not mean you'll have better Search Engine Results Placement (or SERP, as search engine geeks call it). Or, at least, it's only one of what's likely over 100 different variables fed into the calculation of what Web pages should be shown in what order as the result of a specific Web search query.
You can see that if you've installed the Google Toolbar, actually. Perform a search for something relatively uncommon, then check the PageRank value of the top 10-15 results. You'll see that the top match or two are often not the highest PageRank pages on that list of the top dozen.
In the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) community, a lot of people pay a lot of attention to PageRank, and seek links to their pages (and sites overall) from other sites with relatively high PageRank. Other SEO people, however, encourage all of us to just simply ignore PageRank entirely and instead focus on building good Web sites.
What's my view? Well, as I wrote at length in my popular book Growing Your Business with Google, I think it's useful to pay attention to your Google PageRank, but the best long-term Web strategy is to build a smart site that offers your online community or marketplace valuable content presented in a readable and credible manner.
And, yeah, asking your friends and colleagues for links to your site doesn't hurt either!
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Reader Comments To Date: 74
Hello Dave! Thank you for having such an interesting website. I run a www.seo-r-us.com website and always can find some useful information from you. Keep up a good work. Thanks again.
Great article Dave!
I can't seem to get a grip on this pagerank thing however..
I have about 400 sites linking to me but I keep getting nada...
Tell me about this page rank thing.. One moment, one of my sites is a PR 4, and the next moment it is a PR 0, and then the next day it is a PR 2. I have no idea why it would change so fast or so much.
BTW, I like your form verification method!
Hello dave, nice verification method :), i want to ask something: Three months after my website came online it had pagerank 3.0, but now all backlinks to my website are zero according to google. why has it happened?
How many backlinks does Google like to see before it starts indexing your site and sending you traffic?
To eddie: You need 1 pr6 backlink to be indexed n google within 24 hours! Doesn't mean you'll get one too,but you'll be indexed
Thanks Dave, you cleared up some misconceptions I had about pagerank. Cheers.
I've got 900+ pages linking to mine, news sites, etc. Even FBI press releases. Still can't get above PR 4?
Hello, just a quick question, how many clicks does a page get in order to have a ranking? Let say for a ranking of 2?
Thanks Dave, I own a web design company in Long Island New York and I am getting into SEO and was curious about Page Rank. Thanks for helping me.
Very informative post and just what I was looking for. Thank you Dave!
Thank you Sir! I understand now.
Great info, Dave! Thank you for sharing.
Thank you so much for explaining things about page rank.
I have been stuck on PR2 ever since the making of my site and no matter how many high ranking dofollow links I find I still cant seem to get it any higher, but ints interesting that you say there are about 100 other attributes to your listing so from now on I think I will divide my time into looking into other methods and still add backlinks as well but look for other ways to get listed higher.
Great reply there and interesting read, cheers mate
Your page came up when I Googled the question "I what page rank is". Good answer, and easy to understand. Seems your site would also be a good place to drop off a link! Thanks for the very good help! Cl Post
Hi: I ended up here when googling "what page rank is?". Good answer and thanks for the help! Looks like a good spot to drop off a link too! TQ
I wonder if you can tell me why my site drops Page Rank during an update and then picks up to how it was or better a couple of weeks after?
Main Page Was PR4 and most pages were PR3.Suddenly main page is PR2 and all other pages are zero.
This effectively stops link queries coming in to my site.Why does Google do this?
How often does the PageRank change? One of my uncles' have this domain name which has been parked on static html pages for quite some time now but the domain still got a pagerank of 3 while I worked hard on my blog for 3 years and got a pagerank of 3. Why the difference?? Is it because his domain got good keywords?
i am excited ijust got my pr of 1 for my four month old site. so that should help me rank a bit better right? i know its not the main factor but it doesn't hurt to have a high pr
I have a site with 459 pageview per month and pr0. How can I grow my pr fast?
Thank you for your help! Great information for all of us do it yourselfers out there.
Thank you that was very helpful! my lowly website is very small, but I am trying to figure out how to make it grow! this was super helpful.
I own a site of my own ( http://dyin.proboards.com ) and i did not ever quite understand the PageRank system. I would like to thank you so much for explaining it to me via your comprehensive article.
Thanks for the effort in explaining that I know lot of people are in misconception that higher page rank = Better SERP.
I got 2 of my blogs on PR 2 in last 3 months time, what did I do you ask ?
1. Submitting blog to directories
2. Valuable comments
3. Keyword research (Long tail keywords)
Any advice ?
Personally, there are so many factors that determine pagerank you would guess forever to try to get them all. For example, I have a site, Militia-PC.com that had no pagerank for the longest time. Then all the sudden, without me doing absolutely anything, I got a PR of 2. What is weird, is that it was on the 1 year anniversary of my website. I think, and this is just my 2 cents, google likes sites that are older and stay up and running. Why is this you ask? To weed out spam sites and garbage sites. They know that a site worth looking at is a site that has been around for a while. There must be a reason to keep it up and running, so they start giving you higher PR. Of course, backlinks, seo, and all that stuff doesn't hurt either.
All these page rank stories are gonna end soon.web 3.0 is waiting at the door.When it comes up,the entire scenerio of search engines will change, search engines that understands the grammer produces relavent results are in demand.I m doing a research on that.And soon it will be on the web :)
So, people do not worry about page ranks.They are nothing more than numbers.Just put all your efforts in building a site that is good and unique in terms of design and content.
When I sear my website url on google - I come up with resultes 432,000,000
What exactly does that mean. I've had the domain a number of years now but i have several others that I've only had a few months that are over 80,000,000
I haven't an clue what that means or if there is a business application for it.
John Hansen firstname.lastname@example.org
I was wondering why many pages are un-ranked (not PR 0) even though they are indexed and do show in the search results?
Thanks for the post Dave,u really mean that a page rank of zero is likely to get pr1 with some more back links, or zero is the minimum value given by them.
thanks for the helpful info. i've been wanting to know more about the google pr for so long XD
I have been adding my site to blogs etc, but I still do not have a page rank. Does it take moths/years ? to get a page rank ?
I am still trying to get a handle on all of this.
Currently my site has a PR2. But I really didn't do
much but make comments on things on the internet
that interest me and put in my URL when asked.
Also the site is 3 years old and a PR2 for at least
My website is 10 years old to date.. and it still has a page rank of only 2. Can't seem to raise that number..
Does this page rank think work for e-commerce sites or for bloggers? There are some sites that I see that have a good Alexa rank but a poor google rank. Why in the world does that happen?
Thanks for posting this, it really gave me a much better insight to how Google page rank works. I wonder how many higher pr ranking pages you need linking to you before your sites goes up.
I got to this page because I was looking for information to understand about Page ranks better. I was just surprised that my blog now has a page rank of 1... better than zero, I suppose. That's why I got curious. Thanks for the info.
I've been focusing on getting backlinks from high PR websites (pr 5, 6 & 7), but it may be in vain because I noticed that while the main 'root' domain is a high pr, the pages that have the backlinks coming from that site are usually pr 0.
Does Google recognize the root domain PR or the PR from the entire URL?
really nice post! very informative. Just what i needed :)
Thanks for this, I kept finding different predictions as to what the algorithm for Google Page Rank was but I really wanted a concise description like this. It seems as though these days, the best way to get a high page rank / good SEO rank is just to have an awesome site and give it time. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for explaining page rank. I was wondering how much my 0/10 page rank mattered when it came to Google's search engine. But as you point out, it's important to focus on building good Websites.
Although, I agree with the point made in the summary, I feel it is a little too non-specific. I still think that the jury is out on the as many links as possible versus a few quality links. I have a site with a page rank of 3 and not even in the top 100 Google searches for any keywords. Webmaster tools shows it has about 130 links (however they are quality links). I have another site with about 600 inbounds but mainly poor quality links, but a page rank of 2. The site is on page one of Google for many of my chosen keywords. I wouldn't imagine that it's PR will ever increase, but it doesn't matter, the site is doing the job it is supposed to. The conclusion I draw from this is that page rank has more benefit for people linking to you. The other key point is page optimisation. I think this is the most important. My site with PR 3 is not optimised. Finally, page rank is also helped by good quality outbound links. This follows the point about providing a good site "offering good content" I suppose, what I am trying to say is that PR is probably a factor that should be taken into consideration least. You will more than likely get a good PR if you have a good site. Good informative articles too!
"Other SEO people, however, encourage all of us to just simply ignore PageRank entirely and instead focus on building good Web sites."
Hello Dave, yes i agree with you here.
my website has the worst pagerank which is ZERO of course..,
but whenever i tried to google or yahoo several common keywords taht has value in my website, i always get my website posted at the first page of google search or sometimes at the 2nd or 3rd.
so, i can rest assured that even though my site is not popular in PageRank, but i still have good hits on nice google keywords search.
Page rank is just an indication of sites linking in thats all. I could have a page rank 0 overtake a page rank 10! Just think of it like a football team you need goal keeper, defenders, strikers, midfield, manager an so on pr is just one part of that team not the hole team!
I am seo baby in terms of knowledge ,, i know what is the procedure by doing practicals on 3 sites but i do not have knowledge what its advantages or disadvantages .. if i want to ask what book i have to read to get knowledge ..
Thank you for having precise information that was easy to understand. Not going to sweat the page rank number as much. I still have much to learn.
Thank you for the great explanation on what PageRank is. Your explanation is really easy to understand, good for Internet newbies like me. :)
Hi! I just got to the nice website and i love the discussion. But i can't see the answers you gave to some questions i would have love read too. Most of the question are questions i will like to ask too and it makes no sense in asking again because they are already here.
Best Regards from Germany
Thanks for the informative article on Google Page Rank!!
Google page rank i was a 0 i managed to get that being a naughty kid and Google took my page rank away from me but after 2 year guess what im a two again so they must have room to forgive. The thing now i didn't realise they measure blogs with page rank to. And also they give you different ranks for different pages on your site.
My website's competitors have PR of 5 - 6 and they are using paid PR back links. Its proving very difficult to compete with them google should ban paid back links. It should be spammed.
In my opinion Pagerank means more than just links. I think Googe looks at overall web presence, because I do not have very many links but I have serveral references on the web. (videos, blogs, social media sites)
Firstly thank you for your post you have made me look at things in a diferent prespective, thanks
I have just recently launched my site and have been looking alot into how to get a higher page rank in order to get nearer to a first page result.
I have spent endless hours reading on SEO and backlinks etc that I overlooked the simple things like using: html validator and broken links checker tools that check your site and give you warnings and sugestions on your code. I though my site was complete untill I ran it through online site cheacker and meta tag analyzers and found tons of problems i wasnt even aware of - I had obselete links i didnt even know I had! highly recommended
I think you have a very good point along with others who have also left comments, content and the amount of traffic a website receives in my opinion are bound to be a few of the most imporant thing they evaluate. They obviously want to be the best search engine in the world by being able to provide the most relelvant webpages according the the user search. They cant just rely on meta tags to do this . If you have enough quality content and many people coming to your site google will soon see this as a sign that this site is relevant.
Too many people are lookng for quick results there and too many webpages to compete with. The way I see it there must be millions of people selling the same service we do, why would mine come first - all i can do is concentrate in improving my sites actual content and slowly but surely "if you build it they wll come"
Google analytics code on your site lets google see how many people exactly is coming to your page and where the traffic came from giving them more info to work with.
Build a good site visualy and most imporantly correctly (content and code) - use as much free web advertising as possible (there is more out there trust me) and if you havent tried it yet try google adwords and see how it does for you, they give you £50 free advertising and Bing ad centre gives you £30 free advertising credit.
one last tip do your homework on the main keywords for you category and expand on them so that your credit does'nt run out in a flash, resulting in getting more sales convertions as opposed to getting loads of people clicking on your site and not acually buying anything.
Sorry about the long message but just wanted to unload some info to poeple probably reading the same material I am at the mo - thanks again for the info Good Post
I couldn't agree more. This is a must-read for people that become obsessed with their PR. Thanks!
Thanks for this article you made. I have actually Google page rank 2 so far and I didn't know what's the meaning of it so I search to found out this things. Thanks for your post.
Hi, and thanks for the explanation. Being new to all this I wasn't quite sure about the pr thing, so this cleared it up.
Although it is interesting to read about PR and to see a good number for my site, my main focus is to build backlinks and see the placement of web pages in Google search results.
I followed your suggestion to observe the PR of search results. It is so interesting to see lower PR sites ranked higher in search results than higher PR sites. i.e. higher PR does not guarantee higher placement in search results.
I really enjoyed the article on Google page rank. It clarified things for me. Thanks.
Great article. This is the best article on explaining google page rank. No wonder it was the top link in my search on google!! =]
Obviously you know what you are talking about. I am just starting making web pages and learning the whole google algorithm. Thanks for all the information.
I have recently done some research for my daughter on SEO shes about to open her website. Some very interesting comments and facts. I say facts because I have just read a book called SEO Made simple by Michael H. Fleischner. It's a truly amazing read, I have read it three times and am using it for reference.
Page rank is important but so is site design. In fact how your pages link together can effect page rank. Also time spent on site effects the page rank as well.
So does your website have links within the pages pointing to other pages?
Do you relative backward links and are people spending time on your site????
A great article about but I have to say all this SEO stuff is mind blowing, do I use backlinks, do I concentrate on page ranking, bottom line is I want to get more traffic to my site - www.premiumcookware.co.uk - short of cost for click what do you think is the best way?
Maybe I cans top banging my head against a brick wall.
Hey Dave, I've been beginning work on learning and implementing SEO tactics for my Long Island freelance web design company and definitely needed this info. Thanks for the help!
This is a bit confusing.
We set up our internet cottage (vacation rentals) business three years ago. After 1 and a half years we reached rank 4. Since then we have slid to rank 2.
Meanwhile the web site has been radically improved with great content and business has expanded.
Our SEO is not as good as it might be, but we are doing the content thing and the site is modern and competent and business if brisk.
I don't get it.
Pagerank has to be the most confusing web variable ever created.
It was a great run, and I hope the readers who discovered us found our content useful.
i tried a lot for making a programming tutorials site, from where i can post 1000's c, c++ and java programs for beginner students...But a new thing is just arrived SEO, what to for it..?
could you given for me some informations and detail and summary in the this is page, please to be... Thank you.
Thanks for the article dave, i started a website in august ( www.dogzforlife.com ), so it took a while to even be indexed and all this time was PR0 then today its suddenly PR2 its quite confusing to say the least, i dont think its hugely important but its a nice barometer
Closely related to this wonderful article I have developed a website worth estimation algorithm that uses Google Page Rank as one of main evaluation parameters:
Keep up the good work!
I got a great info from your post.You have shared a nice post, thanks for sharing.
Great post thanks for sharing, really helps me understand PageRank.
I do have a lot to say, and questions of my own for that matter, but first I'd like to say thank you, Dave, for all your helpful information by
buying you a cup of coffee!||
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