With Google having 90.46% of the global search market share, it’s clear that the search engine giant provides relevant, quality results for all queries.
However, to do so, Google needs to be able to evaluate the importance and authority of a page, relative to a particular topic.
PageRank (PR) is one of the 200+ SEO ranking factors created by Google to aid with search results. Often referred to as ‘Google juice,’ this is one of the main tools that determine how well your website will rank in SERPs.
What Is PageRank?
PageRank is a metric that goes way back; it was the original concept that led to the creation of Google, and helped it become the search engine that it is now.
Devised by co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, this tool was first introduced in 1997 as a part of a Stanford University research. They described the cause as:
“Our main goal is to improve the quality of web search engines.”
Prior to its integration, search engines lacked efficiency in providing relevant results. The common practice was to link to pages with the highest keyword density – as a result, webmasters often exploited this system by using repetitive phrases to rank higher.
PageRank worked on eliminating this issue by using citation graphs. This practice is rather similar to how scientists determine the importance or quality of a research paper by looking at how many other papers refer to it.
In the case of search engines, the citation is a link to a site.
A Brief Overview of PageRank’s History
Initially, Google integrated PageRank in the form of a publically-available toolbar. It scored a website from 0 to 10, depending on how many other pages linked to it. These links were commonly known as ‘votes.’
Highly scored websites were displayed on the first page in the SERPs, while others were given the dreaded spots on the second, or even the third pages.
Due to controversies regarding the logarithmic scale used, Google shut down the toolbar on April 15, 2016.
Contrary to popular belief, the use of PageRank wasn’t stopped completely. It is now just used by Google to help rank websites for search engine results.
Gary Illyes, a webmaster working for Google, confirmed this through a tweet.
Why PageRank Is Still Important
The main formula for determining page rank is: The quality of backlinks to your website/efficiency of internal linking. This is also commonly used in social networking analysis, link prediction, and bibliometrics.
It helps Google determine which webpages to crawl, prioritize, and then re-crawl before displaying search engine results. The pages with higher scores are re-crawled more often than others, making this tool a raw measure of the popularity (in terms of backlinks) of your website.
The factors that PageRank does not take into consideration are:
- The relevance of your website content to the search query
- Any flagged or spam sites
- Relation of linked sites to each other
Faster Indexing By Search Engines
Faster indexing is the most significant advantage of having a high PR score.
PageRank helps Google speed up the indexing of your pages, allowing new pages from reliable websites, like the New York Times, to be indexed mere seconds after being published.
When a website has a decent PageRank, it is automatically considered to have relevant information and higher credibility. This results in more sites linking organically to you, thereby driving increased traffic, and even conversions.