The What and How of Google PageRank

It is sure to be a momentous day whenever Google PageRank updates. As soon as word spreads that an update has occurred, webmasters and website owners hurriedly click to their home pages in hopes of seeing a higher pagerank number than before.

What is Google PageRank

Developed by Larry Page (thus the term, “PageRank”), Google PageRank is a numerical rating assigned to websites. All sites are given a whole number, on a scale from 0-10 (with 10 being the highest), based on a complex mathematical algorithm. The higher the ranking given to a website page, the more important that page is deemed to be.

Google itself has said it doesn’t want too much emphasis placed on PageRank, though there is a lot of discussion in the SEO community as to whether or not a site’s pagerank actually affects its placement in search engine results.

Ways to Improve your Site’s PageRank

In true Google form, the details of this algorithm are cloaked in mystery. However, it is generally understood that linking plays a significant role in a site’s ranking.

Incoming links, outbound links and interlinking between pages on your own site can all positively affect your PageRank. Getting a link back to your site from high-quality websites with a higher PR than yours is helpful, as is ensuring that links on your site are directing people to other top quality pages and not link farms (Search Engine Watch has a great article on Google’s Panda/Farmer update and warning signs that the website you’re linking with has low quality links.).

Having a fast site load speed is also important (You can check your Webmaster Tools or Google’s Page Speed to find your site’s load time) as is the regular publishing of original content.

How to Check your PageRank

PR Checker is a great tool to use to check your site’s pagerank. Be sure to check your domain both with the www. and without.

PR CheckerAnother option is to download a toolbar to your browser. A popular add-on for Chrome users is the PageRank/Alexa toolbar, which shows both the PageRank of the site you are visiting as well as its Alexa rank. PageRank toolbars aren’t guaranteed to have the most updated information, however, so if you need to report your pagerank for your media kit, it’s best if you checked on PRChecker.com.

Google-Chrome

If you are curious as to the exact date of the last update, sites like Google PageRank Update and Last PageRank Update provide confirmation of that.

What is a “Good” PageRank

Establishing a solid web presence is a lot of work, and knowing what a reasonable ranking for your site is can help put things in perspective. Here is a list of well-known websites and their respective PageRank as of July 3, 2011.

Facebook – 10
Twitter – 9
Target – 7
CNN – 9
ESPN – 7

And for those knowledgeable about the blogging community:

Pioneer Woman – 6
Dooce – 6
Scary Mommy – 4
The SITS Girls – 5
Mama Kat’s Losin It – 4

Regardless of the future relevance of Google PageRank, practices that can enhance your site’s ranking are good practices to make part of your overall blogging routine.

How has your site moved with past updates? Has your site’s pagerank ever either benefitted you or hindered your opportunities?

13 Comments

  1. Stacie

    I went from a 3 to a 0 when I switched to WordPress from Blogger and moved to my own domain. It was very hard to get opportunities and advertising at a 0. After 9 months of waiting I finally moved back to a 4 in January. I stayed a 4 on the last update as well.

    Reply
  2. Elena

    As usual, so much great information.I really love how you gave reference scores for page rank. Very helpful!

    Reply
    • admin

      Thanks! We had received a few questions about being a mom blogger with a PR of 4 and wanting to get it higher because PR’s go up to 10. I felt it was important to have a frame of reference because even the legendary bloggers aren’t anywhere near 10.

      Reply
  3. Shairbearg

    It’s funny I only got a PR recently, and b/c I didn’t have one I would see bloggers with worse stats than mine with huge giveaways from companies that turned me down. It’s like I have 4x the followers, 4x the FB fans, and twitter fans, but they have a Google PR rank and I don’t. 25000 Views a month doesn’t matter if I don’t have a PR? So hopefully now I will get some more opps.

    Reply
  4. Robin

    Great post! I recently was searching online for what pageranks actually means and this article answered that question perfectly. Sometimes it feels like an uphill battle to climb the Google ranks because it seems like they change the rules often. 🙂

    Robin @ toxicbeautyblog.com

    Reply
  5. Nina

    This was so interesting! Thank you guys. You’re my internet/blogging teachers. Seriously. I was SHOCKED to see that I was a 3. I expected a zero. My site is a free one on wp.com. I do no advertising, only post once a week, and have nothing fancy on there (no bells and whistles, no give aways, no nothing.) Crazy!

    Reply
  6. Jessica

    This explains so much, thanks!!

    Reply
  7. Glamamom

    I moved from Blogger to WordPress last November and my page rank is still 0. Not sure why since according to Alexa, I have a healthy amount of inbound links.

    I have paid advertising on my site and am a member of 2 ad networks, neither of which have asked about page rank but rather actual traffic stats so I don’t know what relevance page rank has to my site…

    Reply
    • admin

      Your PR is a 4! So, you’re rockin the PR. 🙂

      Reply
      • Glamamom

        It must have just changed! Thx for the update. I was wondering if I did something wrong 🙂

        Reply
  8. Jen {at} take2mommy

    This was SO informative and helpful. Just like all your articles. Keep ’em coming!

    Reply
  9. Glamamom

    Ok, can you explain why it just dropped to 2??

    Reply
  10. David Viniker

    “there is a lot of discussion in the SEO community as to whether or not a site’s pagerank actually affects its placement in search engine results.”
    The discussion seems to be more related to the PageRank of the page than the site’s PageRank – the HomePage PageRank.
    One of the arguments against PageRank is that many webpages with PR0 have good positioning for desirable keywords even when their PR is 0.
    The majority of these happen when the HomePage PageRank is fairly high – 4 or more.
    A second factor to take into account is that Google gives a boost to the effective PageRank of a HomePage when the HomePage is competing for a keyword. Google is all about the authority of websites as defined by HomePage PageRank. PageRank is a measure of popularity.

    Reply

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