PageRank Explained

PageRank ranks your website according to relevance in search results.

During your research into SEO you may have come across references to PageRank. PageRank was developed by the founders of Google while they were at Stanford University. PageRank is basically a ranking system that monitors the popularity of websites in order to return the correct results for a search query.

As the co-founder of Google, Larry Page, once said, “The perfect search engine is something that understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want”. While no search engine can claim to be perfect, PageRank is Google’s attempt at providing searchers with the information they need.

The idea is that all web pages have some inherent importance and that the link structure of the internet can point out pages of lesser or greater value. When many pages link to a web page, it is given a PageRank. Pages with a high PageRank that link to your page give more authority and a higher ranking to your site.

PageRank thus determines the authority of a page on the internet. If a page is linked to by many quality websites, it will have a high PageRank, and thus more authority. If a page with a good authority rating (and thus a high PageRank) links to your page, some of that authority is transferred to you, and increases your PageRank more than links from low PageRank websites would.

Apart from the Googlebots that crawl the web and return results for your search, the following is also looked at:

Relevance. As well as PageRank, the Googlebots use more than 200 signals to order websites. These algorithms are updated on a constantly by Google. Relevance is important because the more relevant your content to a search query, the more likely you are to be on the first page of the search results. Relevance affects your organic ranking.

Comprehensiveness. Google launched in 1998 with just 25 million pages, which even then was a small fraction of the web. Today it indexes billions and billions of web pages. This means that your website can get lost on the internet. Search engine optimisation helps your website become more noticeable on the web by allowing for comprehensive and relevant content.

Freshness. In the early days, Googlebots crawled the web every three or four months, which meant that the information you found on Google typically was out of date. Today the Googlebots continually crawl the web to ensure that you can find the latest news, blogs and status updates minutes or even seconds after they’re posted. This is why it is important for you to keep your content fresh and update it regularly with news feeds, new company profiles, etc.

Speed. Google search engineers are always working not just on new features, but ways to make search even faster. This is why content on your website that slows down load-time should be avoided. If you cannot grab a user’s attention within 7 seconds, they will move away from your site.