Pagerank is a ranking algorithm used to determine how valuable a website is. It was developed by Google in order to rank websites by how popular and authoritative they are. This article will explain exactly how Pagerank works and how it affects your website’s search engine rankings.
Small Seo Tools Pagerank
With a whopping 85+ percent market share, Google Search currently dominates the search engine market, making the worldwide market share of search engines rather lopsided.
As a search engine, Google has billions of webpages in its indexing system. For it to be able to appropriately rank each of these pages, it does use a mathematical algorithm called PageRank (or PR for short).
Given that PageRank plays an important role in how Google ranks websites, it’s always a good thing to find out the PR of your website and even that of your competition to know where you stand, so that you are better equipped to navigate your webpages to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).
So how can you check your PageRank?
Initially, Google made PageRank scores public with the help of a calculator-tool called “Toolbar.” The tool typically used to show PR scores in a logarithmic scale right in the user’s browser.
Google Toolbar used to be updated 3 to four times a year, however, with time, Google started to reduce support for Toolbar. And then finally on April 15, 2016, the search giant officially folded Toolbar PageRank Data and removed it from the public, making it a secret sauce of its ranking mechanisms.
Although PageRank is no more public, it still exists. And it’s being used by Google as a ranking signal for search rankings.
That is why we have created Google PR Checker, a tool with which you can use to check the PageRank of any website on the Internet. We will talk more about this tool, but first let’s see what PageRank is and why it matters.
WHAT IS PAGERANK AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
PageRank is a mathematical algorithm that measures the importance and authority of a webpage by counting the quantity and quality of links to that page. It then shows the score of the page on a scale of “0” to “10.”
To give a score, PageRank depends on the number and quality of links from other websites to a page, which serve as a type of “votes.” So basically, the more “votes” a page has and the higher the quality of “voters” (that is, the websites those links are coming from), the greater the page’s PageRank score.
Now, what make PageRank important?
PageRank is important to you as a webmaster because, as stated earlier, it is one of the most essential variables Google uses in determining the positions of websites in its search engine results pages. It helps the search engine determine the most trusted material for a particular query.
One of Google’s overall most important ranking factors of all time is backlinks. By checking the PageRank of your website, you get an idea of the quantity and quality of backlinks your website has, being that Google PR score is often based on backlinks.
Even Google has admitted that PageRank still matters. It just is not public anymore, but it is still a huge factor in ranking.
Google’s Gary Illyes had this to say in a tweet:
“DYK that after 18 years we’re still using PageRank (and 100s of other signals) in ranking?”
And although PageRank is a Google trademark, other search engines use similar techniques to decide how to rank webpages on their search engine listings.
So as a blogger or website owner, knowing your site’s PR lets you know where your site sits so you can better position it to perform better.
Also, if you are planning to purchase an existing website, or want to advertise on a third-party website, knowing the site’s PageRank score will help you make an informed decision.
And you can check the PR score of any website on the Internet with our Google PageRank Checker Tool.
ABOUT GOOGLE PAGERANK CHECKER BY SMALL SEO TOOLS
Google PR Checker is a free online tool for finding out the PageRank of any website. It works like a page score calculator, but in a much more helpful way.
PageRank is an independent measure of Google’s perception of the quality, authority, and credibility of an individual web page. Thus, our tool does not depend on any particular search phrase to calculate a page’s PageRank score, but in a more reliable way, it delivers result that meets standards.
But much more than that, Google PageRank Checker (by Small SEO Tools) integrates modern algorithms based on Google’s latest updates and guidelines to deliver an incredibly accurate result.
To boot, our PageRank calculator is extremely easy to use, with a user-friendly interface designed to feel intuitive.
HOW GOOGLE PAGERANK CHECKER WORKS AND HOW TO USE IT
Using our PageRank checking tool is as simple as using the Internet. All you have to do is follow these steps:
Step #1: Be sure you are on this Google PR Checker page (https://smallseotools.com/google-pagerank-checker), which is most likely where you are now.
Step #2: Enter the URL of the page you want to check in the space provided.
Step #3: Click on the “Check Page Rank” button.
Immediately, the tool will return the results. We’ve created the tool’s user interface to be so simple that you can easily understand the result even without necessarily being a web search expert.
Our PR checker analyzes not just the PR score of the homepage, but for every other page on the website. Just enter the specific URL and you’re good to go.
After checking your PR, Google PR Checker gives you an option to add a PageRank icon on your website. To add, simply click on the “Add Page Rank Icon On Your Website” button below the result.
Our Google PageRank displays the results in a green bar just as Google used to do with its Toolbar.
Along with the bar, it shows you the score on the scale of 0 to 10, if your result is closer to 10, that means your PR score is good. If the result is closer to 0, that means your PR score isn’t that impressive.
Also, a result may show a red bar instead of green. This color scheme is actually an advanced feature offered by our Google PageRank Checker and it is not commonly found in many other PR checkers.
The red results lets you know when a PageRank is fake or false. The fact is that some individuals do use a variety of shady methods to create a “spoof” PageRank.
You can use the color scheme feature our tool offers to check the validity of a website before you buy it, or before you advertise on it and save yourself from getting scammed. If it shows red, it means something is wrong with the site’s authority.
HOW TO INCREASE YOUR GOOGLE PAGERANK
There’s is always room for improving your site’s PageRank, especially if it is closer to 0 than 10.
Let’s see some things you can do to improve your PageRank. These tips will work no matter what your PageRank is today.
- First things first, in order to improve your Google PageRank, the first step is to know where your page currently sits. This will give you an idea of where you are and a picture of where you want to go with the score.
- Get to understand how PageRank really works. This knowledge is essential for you to clearly see what exactly has to be done to get a result as well as what has gone wrong if the ranks dropped.
- Optimize your content and website for Google. Why? Because when you optimize, you subconsciously follow the requirements for higher PageRank score. On how to optimize your content and website for Google, follow our SEO blog.
- Build backlinks a lot. The reason is that PageRank score is directly based on the quality and quantity of links to a web page. So you’d want to build as many backlinks as possible. But not just that: the PageRank score of each page depends on the score of the page that links to it. This means to improve your PageRank score much more quickly, it’s better to target websites with high PR score in your link building efforts.
If you remember PageRank, this is what probably best comes to mind when you think about it:
That is Google’s infamous PageRank toolbar.
This is what we all came to associate with PageRank and the metric that SEOs became universally obsessed with.
But there is far more to PageRank than the toolbar.
PageRank — a System for Ranking Web Pages
PageRank is a system for ranking web pages that Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed at Stanford University. And what it is important to understand is that PageRank is all about links.
The higher the PageRank of a link, the more authoritative it is.
We can simplify the PageRank algorithm to describe it as a way for the importance of a webpage to be measured by analyzing the quantity and quality of the links that point to it.
The PageRank Score
Perhaps unsurprisingly, PageRank is a complex algorithm that assigns a score of importance to a page on the web.
But as far as the everyday SEO was concerned, PageRank was a linear representation of a logarithmic scale of between 0 and 10 that was displayed on the PageRank toolbar.
A PageRank score of 0 is typically a low-quality website, whereas, on the other hand, a score of 10 would represent only the most authoritative sites on the web.
The key to understanding PageRank scores is that it uses a logarithmic scale. Not sure what that means in layman’s terms?
A logarithmic scale is a way of displaying numerical data over a very wide range of values in a compact way—typically the largest numbers in the data are hundreds or even thousands of times larger than the smallest numbers.
As reported by Search Engine Watch, “It has an estimated base of 4-5. In other words, assuming a base of 5, PR2 links are comparable to 5 PR1 links; a PR6 link is comparable to 5 PR5 links, and so on.”
Very quickly, we can see that a PR10 link is comparable to thousands of PR1 links.
The reason why SEOs became so fixated on this metric is that PageRank passes from one page to another, meaning that a website can gain authority by being linked to from another that has a higher PageRank score.
Quite simply, PageRank (that is passed between websites by links) helps a website to rank higher, and the algorithm is based around the concept that a page is deemed to be important if other important pages link to it.
Google still uses PageRank as part of its algorithm today, but the original patent has expired and, in this original form, hasn’t actually been used since 2006, and the one that we now see is ultimately far more complex.
A Brief History of Google PageRank
The first PageRank patent was filed on September 1, 1998, and became the original algorithm that Google used to calculate the importance of a web page and rank these.
In short, Google was literally formed based upon Sergey Brin’s idea that information on the web could be ranked based upon a page’s link popularity, that the more links point to a page, the higher it ranks.
And if we take a look at the paper that introduced Google, we can clearly see PageRank referenced when explaining the search engine’s features:
The Google search engine has two important features that help it produce high precision results. First, it makes use of the link structure of the Web to calculate a quality ranking for each web page.
This ranking is called PageRank and is described in detail. Second, Google utilizes link to improve search results.
— The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine – Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page
PageRank is literally what made Google so unique.
The paper goes on to explain that, “The citation (link) graph of the web is an important resource that has largely gone unused in existing web search engines.”
The Introduction of the Google Toolbar
In 2000, Google introduced the toolbar that we all now come to remember as the way in which we could see our site’s (and our competitors’) PageRank score.
As a result of this, SEOs began to become fixated solely on increasing PageRank as a metric for improving rankings, driven largely by a simplified understanding of the algorithm that suggested that a web page with the highest number of links should rank the highest.
A simple explanation of the approach by many in the early 2000s was that their goal was to get as many links as possible from web pages with as high PageRank as possible.
This, of course, began to see PageRank manipulated, with money changing hands for links as well as what many of us will remember as link farms.
Fast track almost 15 years, and Google would stop updating this public-facing toolbar in 2014 (with the last confirmed update being December 2013) and retire it completely in 2016.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that Google stopped using PageRank as part of the algorithm, just that it stopped being a public-facing metric.
An Updated PageRank Patent
The original PageRank patent from 1998 expired in 2018 and, to the surprise of many, wasn’t renewed. Around this time, a former Google employee confirmed that the original algorithm hadn’t been used since 2006.
But that doesn’t mean PageRank is dead, far from it.
The original patent was replaced by this new one. To fully understand the differences with the original, we recommend you read Bill Slawski’s analysis here.
This new patent references “seed sites in the trusted seed sets” and defines these as “…specially selected high-quality pages which provide good web connectivity to other non-seed pages,” with two given examples being The Google Directory (this was still live when the patent was filed) and the New York Times.
“[Seed sites] need to be reliable, diverse enough to cover a wide range of fields of public interests & well connected to other sites. They should have large numbers of useful outgoing links to facilitate identifying other useful & high-quality pages, acting as “hubs” on the web.”
The new patent looked to give a ranking score to a web page based upon how far away it is from a seed set. That said, this patent doesn’t actually reference PageRank (or claim to be an updated version of the algorithm).
Rather, it has been understood by the SEO community that it acts as a PageRank modifier based upon the proximity to the seed set of sites.
PageRank Updated graphic
Understanding How PageRank Works
Quite simply, PageRank is fascinating.
It is something that every SEO (and link builder) should understand in-depth if only to provide context around the reason why links remain one of Google’s top 3 ranking factors.
But just how does PageRank work?
When the patent was first filed and Google’s early algorithm developed, it was based around the theory that a link from one website to another acted as a vote of trust and authority. And, therefore, the more links (votes) that point to a page, the more it should be trusted and, therefore, rank higher.
But, as defined in the original paper, “PageRank extends this idea by not counting links from all pages equally, and by normalizing by the number of links on a page.”
A link isn’t simply a straight vote. The authority of a page is taken into account. A link from a PageRank 6 page is ultimately a more authoritative vote than one from a PageRank 2 page.
And this flow of PageRank between pages is sometimes referred to by SEOs as ‘link juice.’
But let’s look at the calculations behind PageRank:
“We assume page A has pages T1…Tn which point to it (i.e., are citations). The parameter d is a damping factor which can be set between 0 and 1. We usually set d to 0.85. There are more details about d in the next section. Also, C(A) is defined as the number of links going out of page A. The PageRank of a page A is given as follows:
PR(A) = (1-d) + d (PR(T1)/C(T1) + … + PR(Tn)/C(Tn))
Note that the PageRanks form a probability distribution over web pages, so the sum of all web pages’ PageRanks will be one.”
What this means, in simpler terms, is that the PageRank of Page B is calculated by multiplying the PageRank of Page A by 0.85. This is known as the dampening factor.
If Page B then links to Page C, this receives 85% of B’s PageRank (72.25% of Page A’s).
If a web page has no links pointing to it, that page doesn’t begin with 0 PageRank, rather 0.15.
But things get even more complicated when there is more than one external link on a page.
As referenced in this 2004 post on Search Engine Roundtable:
If you put a link from page A to page B, page A will distribute PageRank to page B. Page A’s PageRank does not get diluted by linking out, but the links are worth less, in terms of the value of the PageRank, when there are more links on the page A.
— Barry Schwartz
PageRank is complex, and to understand how it works in more detail; you can check out this detailed guide that gives an introduction to PageRank for SEO.
Factors That Influence(d) PageRank and That Still Matter
Of course, there are, and were, factors that influence PageRank.
We have already covered the fact that not all links are equal in terms of the PageRank that they pass. But just what are some of the factors that can (and have previously done so) influence PageRank?
We will look specifically at:
The likelihood of being clicked
You need to understand not only what these influencing factors are but also how they apply to SEO in 2021, which you need to be using and which to avoid as part of your tactics of choice.
Google’s original paper referred to link anchor text by stating that, “The text of links is treated in a special way in our search engine” and that, “anchors often provide more accurate descriptions of web pages than the pages themselves.”
In the early days of Google, anchor text had a key influence on the rankings of a page.
If you wanted to rank for the term “red shoes,” the more links you had that used that term as an anchor text, the higher you could rank.
Link building became a race between SEOs to see who could gain as many exact match anchor text links as possible from high PageRank pages.
It worked (for some time) but was sheer manipulation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and, specifically, this is considered as a link scheme.
Fast forward to 2021, and the overuse of anchor text manipulation will result in toxic links and potentially a manual penalty or algorithmic adjustment.
The Likelihood of a Link Being Clicked
The likelihood of a link being clicked is a key influencer of PageRank and is referenced by Google’s reasonable surfer patent.
The original PageRank algorithm assigned an equal weight to links on a page. Whereas, 2004’s Reasonable Surfer patent indicates that not all links are as likely as one another to be clicked; therefore, giving a different value to different links, depending upon their potential to be clicked.
A given example of links that are less likely to be clicked include ‘terms of service’ links and banner advertisements, but could also include links in a footer or a similar location.
Internal linking is a powerful SEO tactic, and there is a good reason why.
You can help PageRank to flow through your site with a solid internal linking structure, and once you understood how this works, it is easy to see why this tactic can have such a noticeable impact, especially when linking to pages that are not linked to from anywhere else.
You can learn more about how to effectively use this tactic in our guide to internal linking.
NoFollow links prevent(ed) the flow of PageRank until recently when this became a hint.
Historically, SEOs sometimes used the NoFollow attribute to sculpt the flow of PageRank – on the basis that if a page had 5 external links, PageRank would all pass through the one followed link if 4 of the 5 were nofollowed.
In 2009, however, Google’s Matt Cutts confirmed that this would no longer work and that PageRank would be distributed across links even if a NoFollow attribute was present (but only pass through the followed link).
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.