PageRank is a link analysis algorithm developed and utilized by Google to asses relative importance of web pages contained in its index. PageRank doesn’t indicate the overall authority of a website, but rather that of individual pages. This fact is oftentimes overlooked by webmasters when starting link building to their sites.
There’s more about PageRank than meets the eye – the green toolbar graded from 0 to 10. As a matter of fact Google utilizes a separate PageRank referred to as the Real PageRank which, contrary to the Toolbar PageRank, updated once every three months or so, is a live metric reflecting fluctuations in a web page authority.
How PageRank is calculated remains a secret Google is reluctant to share in order to prevent PR and ranking manipulation.
How much does PageRank count in the overall ranking power of a website or web page? Without a doubt it adds up, but by no means is it decisive. PR is just one out of the 200 factors Google uses to shape its organic listings.
It’s not uncommon to see pages with inferior PR outrank others with strong values (generally, a high PR value starts from 4).
Toolbar PageRank values correspond to a wide range of Real PR. So, although two web pages have the same PR value, this doesn’t necessarily mean they have the same authority.
Known facts about its functioning
- PR is assigned to individual pages and not whole sites.
- Every new web page is assigned an initial PR value. PR accumulates through inbound links. Consequently PR is distributed by linking out to other pages.
- A backlink coming from external web page will pass on the same amount of PR as a backlink coming from internal web page, grated that both pages have the same PR.
- PR amount isn’t diminished by linking out. It is just passed on.
- The value of PR distributed through outbound links is divided by the number of backlinks leaving that particular web page.
Link building shouldn’t be governed by PageRank values. If the prospective site is relevant, contains content that your readers might find useful, and it’s updated regularly, then it makes up for a good backlink source even if lacks high PR value. Still, homepage PR remains a good indicator for a website’s authority. This should be considered when looking to conduct effective article marketing campaigns based not only on referral traffic from the article directories but also on ongoing, organic traffic from Google.
PR flowing internally throughout your site is just as valuable as that accumulated from external sources. To make the most of it, all pages within a website must be interlinked.
PageRank sculpting refers to the practice of channeling the PR towards important web pages. Even though it’s not agreed upon by Google, it helps, however, webmasters increase the ranking power of specific segments of their sites – e.g. money web pages.
Tips for diverting PR towards important web pages
- Increase the linking frequency to targeted web pages.
- Decrease the linking frequency to unimportant web pages.
- Create new pages on an ongoing basis with unique content.
- Remove web pages of little importance – their existing PR will be recycled withing the site.
- Reduce the amount of clicks required to navigate from the homepage to the targeted web page. This is part of a wider SEO method known as silo structuring.
PR sculpting should be done with moderation, otherwise it might trigger Google penalties like abrupt and prolonged decrease in rankings.