PageRank is, at the simplest level, a number that Google uses, in part, to determine your place in search results.
To complicate matters, PageRank is dynamic. Your PageRank is continually calculated and re-calculated.
However, you cannot see this number changing. Every three months or so (or when they feel like it), Google “propagates” an update of the static PageRank and that number is visible to the denizens of the Internet.
You can check your static PageRank, using various websites and toolbars (these are downloaded and added to your Internet Explorer, Firefox, or other browser):
How Is PageRank Calculated?
There is a complicated algorithm, which Google regular tweaks and keeps very quiet, that calculates your number.
I’ll leave it to the conspiracy theorists and tech geeks to speculate on why the formula is so hush hush (suggested answers range from the pure desire to provide quality search results to the cynical drive to milk customers for all they are worth).
Does PageRank Matter?
Every PageRank update is preceded with great anticipation and much speculation in the webmaster community and then dissected on message boards, blogs, and tech sites. And every time, some one declares that PageRank is dead.
And yet, people continue to try to find ways to legitimately build PageRank, websites are devoted to how to cheat the system, and sites regularly attempt to buy and sell links for the purpose of building PageRank.
Our answer is that PageRank is helpful, but it is not the final word on the success or failure of your site. A survey of search engine user attitudes found that the vast majority of Internet users utilize search engines. Google is the search engines of choice. And few searchers get past the first page of results.
Anything that boosts your order in the list of search results is beneficial to your business. However, there is more to Search Engine Optimization and Marketing than just PageRank. You can improve your natural search engine results through additional techniques that produce quicker results while working on your PageRank as a long term strategy.
How Do I Increase PageRank?
Although we do not know exactly how Google determines PageRank, we do know a few things:
- It takes a while to be assigned PageRank. It may be anywhere from 3-6 months until your PageRank first appears as a number.
- Links are good. A big part of the algorithm seems to be the number of inbound links you have from quality sites.
- One-way links from higher PageRank pages are better. More than just the sheer number of links comes into play. Also factored in is the quality of the site linking to you, including its PageRank and its number of outbound links.
How Do I Build Links?
Legitimate link-building is your key to raising your PageRank. Some ways to build links are:
- generate quality content that encourages others to link to you
- utilize social media and bookmarking to network with other site owners and connections
- create indirect link exchanges (you offer a link from an established site in exchange for a link to a new site)
- host contests that require links for entries
- contact review sites about reviewing your product or service
- submit your listing to legitimate directories such as dmoz
Obviously this is just a beginner’s guide for non-techies and there is a lot more. Just be careful not to get suckered in by costly schemes “guaranteed” to raise your PageRank or off-topic link mills that will list your site along with thousands of others in exchange for a reciprocal link on your homepage.