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Google PageRank: What is it, how is it calculated, why is it important?

The word on every blogger's lips is PageRank, or PR for short. If you're new to blogging and your blog is your first website, you might not understand what PR is, or what exactly it means, or indeed why is Google Page Rank important.

In a nutshell, your page rank will help determine how high or low you fall in Google's search results. A very big, successful website will have a high PR which means that when someone does a search on Google, chances are that big, high-pagerank website will be near the top. So why is Google pagerank important? Page Rank is important because the higher your PR, the more search engine traffic you will be getting!

A note: Google PageRank is not the same as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). They both influence where a site will turn up in search results, but they are independent of each other. A search engine optimized page may not have a high pagerank, nor will a high-pagerank website necessarily be written for SEO.

Your website's Google page rank is sort of like your reputation with Google. Google knows that some sites are better than others, and this influences their results. While the exact algorithms for determining PR are top-secret, here are some of the things that go in to calculating Google PageRank:

Links. Backlinks are the most important factor for determining Google pagerank. Google assumes that if many people are talking about a page, if the page is linked to by many other websites, then it's a quality page. Think about popular sites that get spread around by sites like Digg and Reddit. Lots of people are talking about those sites, so they have a ton of backlinks. More backlinks = more PR.

The best way to get backlinks is, of course, to have quality content that gets noticed. If your page gets Dugg, or Stumbled, or (;), lots of people will see it and hopefully some of them will link to you on their own site. The amount of PR boost you get from a backlink depends on the PR of the site that's linking to you. So if you get a backlink from a huge site like Digg (PR8), it counts more than a link on someone's PR1 blog.

Other ways to get backlinks include commenting on blogs, participating in forums (linking your site in a post, or in your signature), and other techniques that range from kinda sneaky to downright unethical, which I won't discuss here.

Backlinks are the major influence on the calculation of Google PageRank. However, a few other things are taken into account:

Outbound Links. Links on your own site can affect your own PageRank: Namely, they can negatively impact it. If you have too many links on your page (to the tune of over 100), this will give you a penalty. Also, if you link to websites that Google has marked as shady, you may get a penalty for that as well.

Bounce Rate. Rumor has it that Google PageRank (or at least their general search engine ranking) is affected by a site's bounce rate. Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors that leave the first page of a website without visiting any other pages. Bounce Rate is very high for blogs, and lower for other sites where more information is held on other pages. A low bounce rate (say, 40% or lower) reflects a quality site.

Age. Older sites have higher PR. Whether the age of a site is a factor in calculating PageRank, or whether it's just a reflection of more time to build pages and collect backlinks, I don't know, but if you have the choice between two domains, one which was just registered and one which is 5 years old, go with the older one for a PR boost.

Page Rank is a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest. Only the most esteemed sites get PR10, such as Apple's official site, Google Labs, and

There are a number of sites that will calculate or estimate your pagerank for you, as well as toolbars you can download. Google releases updated PR info every few months, but in reality a page's Google PageRank is always changing. So, the Google PageRank that you see might be 3 months out of date. Keep this in mind when comparing your site's PageRank with other sites.


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