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What is PageRank?

In my years of explaining Internet Marketing concepts to customers and friends, 1 very common asked is "What exactly is PageRank?" Many laymen can actually understand what are link buildings concepts, the theory of refreshing and updating your website's content and etc. When it comes to PageRank and how it works, many actually go "Erm...."

Very simply, PageRank is a score given to your website. This score dictates its overall popularity with its "friends" (websites). Do take note that even if you have a very high page rank (example say 7/10), it doesn't mean you will be ranked highly. Although it will definitely help your ranking if you have a very high score. Let me give you an example. If ABC Restaurant and DEF Restaurant both have very optimised web content, however, if the former has a higher PageRank, he or she will definitely be rank above the sites that they are competing with. PageRank is very simply the foundation needed to build your ranking methodology.

So how do you improve your PageRank? Well, the easy answer is that you should get as many inbound links from other websites that are already on a high PageRank. However, saying is definitely easier than doing it. How do you convince your friends or even strangers to link to you? What about people from the same industry? How do you convince or con :) your competitors to link to you? Many spammers actually do alot of Link Farming. What it means is that they build thousands of website with little or duplicated content and then linking these sites to their own website. The truth is, it doesn't work that way anymore. Getting lots of links from a website with PageRank of 0 will do you no good. Quantity does not equate to Quality in Google's eyes. In fact, in the recent Panda upgrade, many link farmers website actually get penalised because of it. You can have a look at JCPenny for a recent example. :)

PageRank - Who invented PageRank?

PageRank is actually a mathematical concept named after Google founder Larry Page. Hence the name PageRank. PageRank takes into consideration a website's inbound links and the quality of those links to determine its value. This is a simple concept that many more "popular" websites did not think of. That's the reason why Google was able to overleapt competitors such as Alta Vista, Yahoo! and many other search engines.

How to get links from high PageRank sites?

To improve your website's PageRank, you need to get these "votes" from other websites. You need these websites to link to you. There are actually 2 PageRank values. 1 is invisible to you, the other is visible. The Actual PageRank value is known only to Google and it is fiercely guarded. The Toolbar PageRank is an open value open to many plugins and browsers. In fact, a very popular Firefox plugin is the Google Toolbar which enables you to view the PageRank of every site you visit. For Search Engine Optimisers like us, this is a very important tool in our SEO efforts. As with search results, your PageRank differs every few months. So, don't be surprise if you see your ranking on the SERPs rising and falling, fluctuating as time goes by.

Besides knowing the PageRank score, you also need to know the technicality of PageRank flows. Let's imagine a website with a PageRank of 6/10. If that particular website has 3 outgoing links, in simple terms, it means each external link actually received a PageRank juice of 2. Of course, the mathematical concept behind the PageRank value is not so simple. Search Engine Optimisation values and factors actually number in the 200s. Every different page on your website also has a different PageRank. The page on your website that has the highest PageRank should naturally be your homepage since that is the page most users will link to.

Next, you have to know whether the link you have is actually flowing PageRank juice to you. Nowadays, many blogs and forums uses "nofollow" attribute link. Which mean to say the PageRank is not passed on to the site, even though there is a link. Google introduced this to combat spam as many Internet Marketers and Black Hat SEOers actually build many link farms to link to each other. Techniques include 1-way linking, 2-way linking, 3-ways linking and 4-ways linking (or multi linking).

If you would like to find out how you can utilise SEO efforts to improve your ranking on the Search Engines Results Page (SERPs), do send us a Request for Proposal.