There is a lot of confusion amongst beginner internet marketers about Page Rank, what it is, and how to build it up. So I am going to explain Page Rank in a simple way.
How You Build Page Rank
In theory, building up Page Rank is simple. You want to get as many incoming links as possible. The higher the Page Rank of the linking page, the more it will boost your Page Rank. However, Google doesn’t calculate Page Rank literally. If you get a link from a website which has a Page Rank of 6, then you may only get a measure of 5 from that website. There are two main reasons why you won’t get the full value of the incoming Page Rank:
- The linking page may link to other web pages, so you have to share the Page Rank measures with the other pages.
- The PR measures flow to your entire website, not just the one page.
PR is Like Public Relations for Your Website
To understand Page Rank, you have to think of your website as a corporation. The homepage of your website is the corporate headquarters. Each additional page on your website is like another brand. For example, think of your homepage as General Mills and each additional page is Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Betty Crocker and so forth. Any successful corporation is going to have a PR department. Your PR is Page Rank.
Let’s say that you get a link from a high PR webpage. This is like getting a major public relations boost for your corporation. If we are going to use the General Mills metaphor, then it is like Cheerios getting recommended by the FDA for being heart healthy. The PR is going to help Cheerios, but it isn’t going to directly help Lucky Charms. However, since the PR helps Cheerios, it will help the reputation of General Mills and thus indirectly help the reputation of all their other brands.
Here is the problem with Page Rank in websites with many pages: your Page Rank is shared amongst ALL the pages. So, if you have a high Page Rank for your home page, your internal pages are likely to have a lesser Page Rank. As you add new web pages, the PR of your internal pages is going to decline. Also, if you link to another website on your page, some of that page’s PR is going to flow to the linked website. Think of PR like water: it is always flowing. Luckily, PR is not affected by gravity so it can flow in any direction. For example, let’s say you have a website with 100 pages. All of those pages should link back to your homepage, so part of the PR returns to the homepage. If you link 20 of those pages to a specific page within your website, then that page will likely have a higher PR than the other pages.
How can you increase the Page Rank of ALL of the pages in your website? There are really only two options for this:
- Work on building high PR links to pages within your website
- Reduce the number of pages your website has. Note that this is a bad option since content is crucial for SEO – and PR doesn’t necessarily matter when it comes to ranking on the SERPs.
Does PR Really Matter?
Page Rank is a way to measure your website’s success in getting links. However, it isn’t going to directly help you rank higher in the SERPs. Just take a look at the pages which come up first on the SERPs. You will find that there is no hierarchy with PR and SERP rankings.
PR does matter when it comes to making your website visible to Google’s crawlers. Google crawls through websites based on PR. The higher your PR, the faster Google’s crawlers will find your webpages, the more often they will be crawled, and the faster any changes will be registered.