What is Page Rank?

Mar 4, 2015

What is Page Rank?

For many business, both new and well-established, the complex vocabulary of internet-based marketing can seem pretty daunting. Some business-owners may be just getting started building their first website, let alone grooming it for search engine optimization!

If you’re new to the world of online marketing, you’re not alone– and LocalFresh is here to ease this process, one step at a time. So let’s start: What the heck is PageRank, anyway?

What it is

Basically, Google uses PageRank– among other factors– to find out how “important” a web page is. PageRank is one of the features that will determine whether or not a web page shows up among the top hits when someone searches for a word or phrase on Google.

In fact, it was the Google founders– Larry Page, and Sergey Brin— who developed and implemented PageRank as part of their search engine. At the time, internet search engines were relying mostly on keyword density to rank how important a particular web page was, and web users were abusing the system by putting the same keywords over and over into their page. Larry Page and Sergey Brin wanted top-hitting internet content to be authentic, informative, and useful for users– not sites developed simply to enhance their own “clickability.”

How exactly does PageRank work?

Again, PageRank’s job is to measure how important a web page is. And it judges the importance of a web page by the amount of links leading to it. The way PageRank sees it, a link that leads to a certain web page is essentially a vote of confidence for the content on that site.

This also engages the user, since most people will utilize– and link to– sites that are relevant to their own content, (sites that are hopefully accurate as well). If a web page has a large amount of links leading to it, that means that lots of internet users find the content on that page to be a helpful resource.

In addition, PageRank judges the quality of the sites referencing a certain page. If those sites are well respected, and they link to a web page– that makes the web page look even better in PageRank’s eyes. Ranking a page in this way is a bit like a job interview: your potential boss will look at your letters of recommendation (the links leading to your site), and if those letters come from an important person or company (the well-respected web site)– well, then they have even more clout in getting you that job.

There are still holes, of course

PageRank is not a flawless system. One of the ways that people attempt to game the system is via “link farms,” in which links are created without consideration for relevance. In fact, “link farming” is often automated, so the natural intelligence that would ideally create connection between two sites isn’t there!

Link farms are an important reason why you should only submit your website to PageRanked directories— this lowers the possibility of your site getting linked to a link farm. However, if you do see that your website is linked in a link farm, don’t worry, it’s not a crisis. You have no control over who links to your site; you can just control who you link to.

Increasing the PageRank of your site

One way to increase your PageRank is via “back-links.” Back-links are other people linking to your website. Create back-links by registering your website to upstanding web directories, and by creating high-quality, interesting, and relevant content that other users are interested in.

You can also create your own back-links by inserting links to other pages within your website that are relevant. This is an important step in showing off your site and its wares, but link judiciously, because this can be over-done.

Interested in learning more about PageRank and other elements in search engine optimization? Contact LocalFresh for the marketing solutions your business has been waiting for!

Photo Credit: Stéfan via Compfight cc