What is PageRank?
Using a scale of 1-10, with 10 being best, PageRank (PR) is Google’s shorthand manner of indicating their perceived importance of a particular webpage.
The primary factor Google uses to determine PageRank is the number of links there are to the page in question. As you acquire links – especially from other sites related to yours, and those with good PageRank – your PageRank will increase.
Please note that whole websites don’t have PageRank. Individual webpages do.
Your homepage will probably have the highest PageRank on your site, since it’s the page that’s usually most linked to. Interior pages often have PageRanks a bit lower than that of the homepage, though this isn’t always the case. It all depends on the number of incoming links to each page.
How do I learn what the PR of a particular page is?
There are many pagerank checkers on the web – and also extensions for the Chrome and Firefox browswers.
Here’a a PageRank Checker page to quickly learn your page’s PR.
What’s a “good” PR?
What’s “good” depends on the page in question and its importance on the website. It depends upon how long your site has been around, how many links you have and from where, and whether you’re continuing to promote and improve it.
Remember PR only applies to pages, not whole sites. Each page has a different PageRank. Even sites with high-PR homepages usually have some low-PR pages, too.
What if my webpage has no PageRank?
It’s possible for a webpage to have no PageRank, but if your page has been around a while, it’s likely that it actually does have PageRank. It just doesn’t have a visible PageRank yet. Let me explain.
Since PageRank is determined by the number of links, a webpage with no links to it will have a zero PageRank. This is very typical with new webpages.
But, if there are links to the page in question, it probably already does have a PageRank.
This is because although Google is constantly calculating and recalculating PageRanks, they only export PageRank values to the toolbar (or other tools), where you can “see” them, every 3 months or so.
So, the PR checker (or browser extension) is still showing the PageRank you had the last time a PageRank export was done.
To put it another way, the toolbar PageRank isn’t the “real” PageRank – just a snapshot of the PageRank at a particular point in time. Your “real” PageRank – the one Google uses – could already be 1 or higher.
So, if you have a PR of 0, or other low PR, just hang in there. It may be a few months, but the next time Google exports PR values, you’ll very likely see that you do have PR.
In the meantime, don’t worry about the issue, and focus on making your website the best it can be. Add good content (the kind that people will want to link to), and get some quality, relevant links to your website.
When will the the next toolbar PR export happen?
Good question! The toolbar PR export (sometimes referred to as an update) doesn’t happen on a regular schedule, though historically, it has been about every 3-4 months, and as long as 6 months or even more.
Again, don’t worry too much about it – just work on your website & you’ll see your PR increase soon enough.
A little terminology: What are backlinks?
When reading about links, you may come across the term backlinks. This just means links to your site. Sometimes they’re called incoming links or inbound links, which may be abbreviated IBL.
Links from your site to another site are called outgoing links, or outbound links.
Does PageRank affect how my site is ranked in a search?
Very little. When someone performs a search for words relating to your website, Google uses over 100 criteria to decide how to order the results. PageRank is just one of them. The page’s title, content, and the text of links pointing to the page are among the most important of those criteria. However, PageRank is not a primary criteria in ordering the search results. As a result, pages with low PR will often appear above those with high PR in the search results.
How important is Page Rank?
PageRank can be a good indicator of how important Google thinks a particular webpage is. If you have a good PR, or your PR is rising, that’s a good indication that you’re doing something right.
But, since PageRank doesn’t affect the search results much, it’s not an important factor in getting traffic to your website. Google has stressed to webmasters – repeatedly – that instead of focusing upon PageRank, they should instead concentrate on their website’s content, and links.
Some people get pretty obsessed with their PR. Don’t fall into that trap. Because, truly, there are other, truer indicators of the health of your webpage.
For instance, is your page well-written? Does it satisfy your visitors’ needs? Does it make sales for you? How many visitors does the page get? Are there links to it (from your own website, and from other websites)? How can you improve it?
Concentrating on those, & similar issues, is more productive than sweating over whether your PageRank is a 3 or a 4 today.
And, keep in mind that it’s easier to get from a PR1 to a PR3, than from a PR5, to a PR6. As you go up the scale, it’s more difficult to increase your PR.
And, sometimes PR is just quirky and hard to explain. For instance, one of my websites’ homepages had a PR5 for several years. There were several thousand links to it from related websites. Then, with one PR update, the PR inexplicably plummeted from 5 to 3. I was shocked. There seemed to be no reason for it. Maybe a few sites who’d linked to us removed the links. I don’t know. But, with the next PR update, it went back to 5. (And now, less than a year later, it’s a 6.) And, during the time it was PR3, I was still getting the same amount of traffic to my website from Google. People were still finding it just fine. I still don’t know what happened. But there’s no use in losing sleep over it. Just make your site the best you can, and you will be all right.
Get info about your links with Google
Google offers Webmaster Tools, a mind-blowingly useful set of resources for finding out what Google knows about your site.
The great thing about this is you can access a nearly-complete list of the backlinks Google has found. And, there’s much more than links – you can also find what terms people searched to find your site, any errors Google encountered while crawling your site, and a plethora of other useful reports.
To sign up for this free service, go to Google Webmaster Tools. It only takes a few minutes and you’ll be very glad you did.
How do I get links to my webpages?
There are many ways! For details & advice, read my article, “About Links – And How To Get Them.”
How many links do I need?
Get as many quality links as you can from other websites related to yours. PageRank isn’t based solely upon the number of links, but also the quality of the websites that are linking to you. However, the number of links to your website should be steadily increasing.
Good luck with your site! Please let me know if you’d like to use my services, or if you have any questions. I’m always glad to help & would be delighted to hear from you.