Page Rank is one of the methods Google uses to scale a web page’s weight or importance, we know it is one of many factors used to determine where your website or page appears in search results. Page Rank itself is a numerical value (0 – 10) created to determine the importance or relevance of the web page. It was developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford University in 1998. Before, Page Rank Websites were basically equal and their ranking was determined by content and meta tags. This early system was flawed and easily manipulated by excessive use of keywords. At the time Page Rank was developed, gaining Page Rank was simply a matter of how many back links you had to your web page, as they were essentially a “vote” to your site, more back links the more votes. Today gaining Page Rank has evolved and it’s far more complex.
Gaining Page Rank takes time and effort. Google updates PR roughly every three months. Page Rank is not as important as it once was, never the less it should be a goal in any long term SEO strategy. The key to gaining Page Rank is Back links, Content, time and possibly authorship.
Like how it originally started, back links still play a major role in gaining Page Rank, preferably from sites that are relevant to your niche and from sites that have Page Rank themselves. This leads to the term thrown around in SEO circles known as Link Juice or Authority, getting 500 back links from pages with a Page Rank of zero (PR 0) will barely help you if at all, because these pages have no Page Rank/Link juice/Authority to pass on to your site. Whereas gaining 1 Back link from a page with a Page Rank of 5 (PR 5) will pass Page Rank/Link Juice/Authority onto your site. How much weight the link carries is also determined by the amount of outbound links from the linking page. The greater the number of outbound links from the linking page the more diluted the Link Juice/Authority the back link carries. I mentioned Content simply because having great flowing informative original content on your site will make people want to link too it, thus creating more back links to your pages. Google crawls webpages, not websites, for this reason. You may have webpages with different Page Rank, knowing this, it’s important to have good internal linking to assist your pages being crawled and to distribute Page Rank throughout your website. Time? I mentioned time simply because gaining page rank is only updated every three months as I mentioned previously.
Page Rank was once the largest factor in determining where in the search results your pages would rank, however, the way page rank has evolved and has been refined means this is no longer the case. However PR is still a factor in determining your search engine ranking and should not be ignored, in a highly competitive niche it may well be the deciding factor to tip the scales against a competitor’s page.
My final thoughts on Page Rank is it’s not something worth stressing about when it comes to your own site, with a great SEO strategy your Page Rank 1 page can outperform a competitor’s Page Rank 4 page in search results. It is a far superior strategy to seek links from relevant pages or niche related web sites, pursuing Page Rank will only end with a penalty from Google.