PageRank: What It Is and Why You Shouldn't Obsess Over it!
Written by: Nick LeRoy
PageRank, PageRank, PageRank... Everyone focuses too much on it. Do you know what it is? Is PageRank truly worth the obsession? I have taken the time to write this article explaining what PageRank is and why you don't need to be apart of the PR obsession.
What Is PageRank?
Wikipedia explains that PageRank (Named after Google authority Larry Page) is a numerical weighting assigned to a web page that shows its importance or Google "authority". Google PageRank ranges from a low score of "N/a" to a perfect 10. You can see what your PageRank is by downloading the Google Toolbar
PageRank: Breaking Down Its Algorithm
PageRank is gained or transferred by one site linking to another. If we have four websites 1,2,3,4 and the total PageRank value equals one, then each page starts out with an initial PageRank value of 0.25. If websites 1,2 and 3 link to website 4 they transfer their PageRank to website 4. This is illustrated through the simplified algorithm shown below.
PR(4) = PR(1) + PR(2) + PR(3)
To read more about the PageRank algorithm, Wikipedia has the algorithm broken down with great content and pictures that fully explains the complexity of PageRank.
Why You Can't Focus On Page Rank For Search Rankings
Too many people associate high PageRank with top search engine rankings. This is not always true. The Google search algorithm and the PageRank algorithm are seperate from each other. There are many instances where a low PageRank website outranks a website with a higher PageRank. I have found a couple examples to share with below.
Conducting a Google search for the term "Photography" we see the following top 5 websites and their Google PageRank score.
1. http://www.photography.com/ - PR 5/10
2. http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography - PR 7/10
3. http://www.photo.net - PR 6/10
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photography - PR 7/10
5. http://photography.about.com/ - PR 6/10
As you can see photography.com/ outranks the other four websites even though they all have a higher PageRank than its 5/10. Let's look at another example. This time for the keyword "SEO Blog".
Even though the number 1 site is a PR7, the following two websites have significantly lower PageRank than Aaron Walls SEObook.com and Google Authority Matt Cutts personal blog.
Don't Waste Your Time Obsessing About PageRank.
I have shown you two example search queries that prove that a higher PageRank does not always equal a better search result ranking. Focus on developing quality content, building keyword based contextual links and your site can rank at the top of Google too. If you follow these practices not only will you achieve top rankings, but your site will gain authority over time and with authority comes a higher Google PageRank.
Enjoy PageRank as a fun tool that gives you insite about what Google thinks about your site. PageRank is changing on a daily basis however the PageRank toolbar is updated roughly 3-4 times a year. This meens you never really know what your PageRank is until one of the updates is released. So please do not obsess over Google PageRank, this time can be better used overtaking your competitors in the search rankings.