Google PageRank in a Nutshell
A knowledge of the basics behind Google PageRank is integral to anyone who wants to make money off the Internet, be it an SEO expert or someone who just wants to get a grasp of how to rank high up in SERPs. This article will talk about some PageRank fundamentals; and how it can affect your blog, website, or any web business endeavor.
Msrs. Page and Brin, who founded the Internet behemoth known as Google, came up with the PageRank system – the essential mechanism behind Google’s operation. It’s safe to say that Google did not attain its current status due to trial and error, but reached the apex as the largest search engine that produced superlative results. Arguably, the Google PageRank system gave the company a great advantage over the competition. It enhanced the precision in which search results were delivered for a visitor’s search entry.
How Google Sees It
The unrestricted ‘character’ of the Internet is what makes PageRank work. The matrix of links that is the web serves to denote the authority or value of a specific web page. If site X links to site Y, then PageRank reads cumulative actions of that nature as a poll, and each of those links as a vote for the latter site. The old adage of quality versus quantity is also taken into account. It is not merely the site with the greatest number of ‘votes’ that should rank high, but also the site with high-quality ‘voters’ (scrutiny of the linking sites also occurs). Links from significant sites or pages are more significant themselves. Essentially, it is a large number of important links from important sites that cause high SERPs rankings.
These significant, premium sites are given higher PageRanks. Google notes these for future reference. PageRank is utilized along with a fairly incisive technology which identifies pages which are not only significant, but also well-related to a user’s query. Again, the system observes how many instances a particular term is shown on a web page; as well as analyzing the numerous facets of a page and what it contains; and the quality of the subsequent linking pages. This forms part of the criteria on which Google judges the relevance of a page to a query.
PageRank simply allows webmasters and site owners to accurately gauge a website’s value in connection with any search query, such as a keyword or phrase. The linking sub-structures between a certain website and other significant websites establish that value. The links that sprout from one website to another bolster the ‘mother’ site’s PageRank, ergo elevating it within the hierarchy of search results.
Elements in the PageRank Equation
Although RageRank, theoretically, is a constantly evolving system (which means that there are no hard and fast routes to success), a good rule of thumb to rank high is to take into consideration the following factors:
- Keywords – which pertain not only to the keywords incorporated into your site content (headers, titles); but also the keywords used by the websites which link to yours
- Links – the number of links to you site, the pertinence of the linking pages to your site’s niche, and these linking site’s individual PageRanks
What varies between these factors is the degree of management that you have over them. You can directly control some of these factors, merely influence some, and simply observe others. What one needs to know is that control notwithstanding, all of these aspects will make or break your place in search results. A little bit of luck, or uncertainty (depending on your philosophy) determines your website’s fate or outcome.
The Mysteries of PageRank
Entropy, defined as ‘the quantitative measure of disorder in a system,’ can serve to give us mortals a glimpse into the inner sanctum of PageRank. In the realm of statistical mechanics, entropy is the quantity of ‘mixedupness’ which a system still contains after all observable aspects have been considered. Again, as not much of the Google machinery (much less PageRank) is disclosed to the public, I think the term can encapsulate all that is unseen and uncontrollable within PageRank formulae.
People who are in-the-know about SEO analyze tons of factors, such as backlinks to a page, to try and identify the modus operandis of high-SERP websites. Hopefully, they can fine-tune their findings, apply these to their site/s, and achieve good page rankings. This is a doable procedure to follow to improve one’s rank, for a well-established site or even a mewling blog. Of course, it’s going to be more commendable (and slightly cooler) to build your site’s ranking from scratch, but results are faster and easier through tweaking what already works well for others.
The downside is, after diligent study and analysis of all observable criterion, the randomness card in the SERPs and PageRank is still wild. What Google will probably reply to such a statement would be that the system is entirely mechanical – PageRank follows results from algorithms and assorted procedures. This may be valid, but one who wants to understand how PageRank works could very well get lost in the metaphorical woods.
Some websites that have superb PageRank status may actually have a very small number of backlinks. Some of them may even have none at all. We have come to understand that an integral variable that factors in PageRank’s computations – how can these sites have high rank as displayed by their associated toolbars? The proprietary Backlink Lookup feature is another mystery that webmasters simply discard, as opposed to scrutinize, due to the sheer perplexity it brings about.
On the other hand, this mixedupness within PageRank can also benefit site owners. A site may (almost inexplicably) attain good search results, and thus, decent PageRank. To paraphrase another whipping-boy maxim, the only thing that’s permanent is randomness. The most that any webmaster can do is manage and control what he or she can, by adhering to some tried and tested SEO methods and following good old common sense. This way, you can try to minimize what you can’t manage by managing what you can manage. Keep in mind though, that in PageRank, one plus one does not always equal two.
The PageRank Toolbar
One of Google’s groundbreaking ‘inventions’ in the SEO field is the PageRank indicator. Many site owners worked to boost their respective PageRanks because of this. Many enterprising individuals also introduced link sales (with links coming from sites that ranked high in PageRank) which could potentially net a good amount of revenue. Having a backlink from a significantly PageRanked site or page can augment a low-tier page’s PageRank by an entire increment or two, especially if the link originates from a site with a ‘10’ PageRank. It is needless to say that this development bodes well for smaller websites.
One neat doodad you can use after installing the Google Toolbar is activating the PageRank display. Going to the toolbar options and turning it on in your Internet browser will show a green bar on top of the web pages that you access. The green bar is an indicator of the visited page’s PageRank. The scale is within the range of zero to ten, with ten being the highest.
On the downside, the green bar that shows a site’s PageRank value does not seem to provide enough detail. This alone cannot identify all of the facets that give a website good PageRank. Again, this system is far too complicated (with factors known and unknown) to condense into one simple bar, one which I personally see as having arbitrary levels (0-10). In addition, the indicator is only updated once every few months, which does not really allow a webmaster insight into the progress or regression of his or her site in PageRank value. A site’s PageRank can fluctuate in varying degrees, even in the period of a weekly or daily basis. Thus, you may be looking at the green bar, and know that the ‘information’ it displays is no longer currently valid.
Also, many experts are susceptible to over-analyzing the aforementioned indicator, what with quite a number of assumptions and theories that state forthcoming changes to the PageRank system. This, people say, will happen as Google is not entirely satisfied with how it is used (read: understood and even circumvented). Observe this indicator and use it as a broad guideline for streamlining your website, and not as law.
PageRank in a Nutshell, in a Nutshell
A good number of high-quality websites linking to one’s site betters the PageRank of the latter, which is partly due to the Google system’s practice and influence. As with a motherlode of aspects concerning search engine optimization, let go of the facets beyond your probable control and focus on improving your chances with the criteria that you can fix. Obtaining a decent amount of backlinks from authoritative, pertinent websites will come to a head by giving you organic PageRank improvement, and the consequential rise in page views and viewership experience.
Keywords play a huge role in raising your PageRank ‘authority.’ You can find many well-documented and useful guides for SEO and keyword optimization on the Internet (and within Netbuilders, of course). The long and short of it is that keywords are one of the fundaments of SEO and link-building, although a certain amount of restraint is called for – do not nitpick and over-think your blog or website’s headlines and content just to incorporate this. Entitle your articles, for example, with catchy but related terms. This is so that your audience, upon entering a search query, will have better vantage at finding your website. You could also look at what the competition is up to in terms of keywords, and take it from there.
Also, it would be best not to focus on finagling links from highly-ranked websites only. On the other end of the spectrum, do not just indiscriminately bolster your backlinks by getting links from whatever site is willing. Organic links will beget organic traffic, and organic growth.
It always boils down to hard work, which means creating unique, excellent content for your website. This content needs to be developed not based on your keywords per se, but with keeping the theme in mind. The backlinks you make must be from websites that have high rank, or the potential to do so. Oftentimes, sites with elevated PageRank status do not need fret about PageRank in itself, as websites will surely do the legwork and link to them for the content.