Blogging 101: PageRank – What is It? Why Does it Matter? and How Do I Get Some?

Over the past few weeks, I have received numerous emails asking if I would tackle the issue of PageRank in my Blogging 101 series.  I’ll be honest, the thought of delving into it left me wanting to run screaming for the door.  Because the thing about PageRank is, nobody really seems to know the all encompassing truth about it.  It is based on a super complex algorithm that many have tried to decipher.  Much like the great and powerful Oz, PageRank seems to be draped in mystery.  However, once you attempt to pull back the green curtain, you can get to the heart of what PageRank is.  While we may never know the whole equation, here are some much researched insights into just what this magical number means, why it matters and how you can change yours!

Blogging 101 Page Rank

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**Disclaimer:  This is MY understanding of PageRank.  There is no guarantee that my interpretation of this information is exactly in line with what Google intended.  This post reflects only my opinion!**

So What is PageRank?

PageRank, to put it quite simply, is a measure of the importance of a particular web page.  With scores ranging from 0 (no PageRank) to 10 (best PageRank), PageRank is used to determine the probability that a user will end up on a certain page.  It is based on a algorithm that assigns numerical weighting to certain elements on the page.  From what I was able to find through research, the algorithm looks something like this:

PR(A) = (1-d) + d(PR(t1)/C(t1) + … + PR(tn)/C(tn))

Now, not being a math student or recent MIT graduate, that equation means very little to me.  I have read over numerous explanations and the one thing that each explanation has in common is that speculation is a constant when trying to figure out PageRank.  HOWEVER, while you may need an advance degree to calculate PageRank, knowing why it matters and how to get some is a little easier!

Why Does PageRank Matter?

Since PageRank seems to measure your importance and the probability that a user will end up on your page, it is actually pretty important!  A strong PageRank combined with quality inbound links will place your site higher in Google search results.  Why is that important?  Because a higher standing in search results means higher visibility for your blog.  And more people visiting your page.  Now, PageRank is not going to make your site about parenting rank high in a search about how to find the perfect dress.  Because that’s not what your site is about.  Your PageRank is only effective in determining how well your page ranks in your area of expertise.  As a blogger, your page rank will be important to you in a number of situations – from your working with PR reps to ad companies to paying projects.  While PageRank is only one of about 200 ranking factors for websites, it definitely does carry a certain weight and is worth paying attention to.

How Do I Get Some?

All the talk about what it is and why it matters really doesn’t mean much unless you know how to get it!  This is where things start to appear in shades of gray.  While there are different aspects that play into the PageRank determination, quality back links seem to be at the center of of the PageRank universe.  To the best of my understanding, PageRank is based upon:

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The Number and Quality of back links a site has.

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So what does that mean?  Well, we have to look at a few factors that weigh in.  Each site has a certain authority based on their own PageRank.  When they link to other sites, the “share” a little bit of that authority with the page they are linking to.  Let’s look at an illustration to help:

Your site is at the top.  For each site you link to, you pass on a little bit of your PageRank.  Then that sites passes on a little bit of their PageRank to the sites they link to.  No, this does not mean that you lose your page rank when you pass it on to them.  You simply share it.  But the sharing of your PageRank by linking not only effects the sites you link to, but the sites they link to as well.  Here are a few facts to consider though in relation to this:

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Not all links carry the same amount of weight.

Links from pages deemed important (by higher PR) mean more.

The number of links coming from a page factors into the PageRank determination.

The PageRank that a page passes on is slightly less than it’s own PageRank and is divided between all the links from that site.

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Confused yet?  Let’s look at this a little more in depth:

Not all Links carry the Same Amount of Weight.  This is pretty self explanatory.  A site with a higher PageRank is going to carry more value if they link into your site.  On a one to one link ratio, the link that is deemed to come from the “more important” page is going to weigh more.

However, since then number of links coming from a page play a role in the influence that they carry, this does not always allow you a true indication of the page’s linking influence.  The PageRank that is passed on is divided by all the links that the site links to.  So if a site is linking to 100 other sites, each link is going to carry less “oomph” so to speak that if the site was linking to 5 pages.

So here’s the conundrum: How do you get quality back links to your site?  There are many methods that can be used to do this.  As we discussed earlier in this series, purchasing links is a big No-No to Google and you can lose your page rank completely for that.  Purchased links need to be NoFollow Links meaning that you are not allowing your PageRank to be followed through (and passed on) to them.  So if you can’t buy them, what do you do?  Earn them!

Guest Posting is a great way to do this.  However, you need to make sure that you are guest posting on sites that are relevant to your site.  Guest Posting on a site about mechanics if you are a parenting blog is not going to do you much good!  And you also need to clarify what your reasons for guest posting are and determine that your guest post will not be NoFollowed.

Writing Quality Posts is another great way to do this.  As I’ve stated in my how to be seen section of this series, writing well researched, thought out posts is a great way to gain visibility.  I regularly link to sites that have great information! And I know tons of other sites that do as well!  It’s of value to your readers and giving credit to the information source is super important.  And what does that create?  Say it with me – a back link!  Will every post you write get picked up for linking?  No.  But writing quality posts increases the chances that some will.

Joining Communities is another important step in gaining quality links.  Now, don’t run out and just start joining every community out there.  Only join the ones that genuinely interest you and have a relevance to your blog.  And be sure to participate in them!  This will help more that just your PageRank!

Publish, Publish, Publish!  As you gain more visibility in the blogging community, you may have the opportunity to submit articles for consideration in other publications.  While this is somewhat similar to guest posting, having your article seen in a well recognized and respected publication is a thrilling experience and creates a back link that has some juice behind it!

As a side note, joining blog hops and linkys is a great way to find new blogs and gain exposure for your work.  HOWEVER, linkys do not pass on PageRank.

So How Do I Find Out My PageRank?

Now that we’ve talked all about the importance of your PageRank and why you should care about it, you may want to find out what magical number is attached to your site!  Finding out your PageRank can be exciting and scary at the same time.

**Let me mention, PageRank is thought to be updated four times a year.  The dates that this update happens is not known and is widely speculated on.  So don’t get discouraged if you see no change in your PageRank for several months.  Just keep working on those back links and wait for the update to happen!**

PRChecker can quickly and easily tell you your PageRank.  You simply put in your website URL and press Check PR:

You will then be taken to a verification screen and after you enter the code you will be given your PageRank.  You can choose to display a widget on your sidebar with your PageRank if you wish.   Or you can keep the information to yourself or to use in your media kit.

So, are you ready to find out your PageRank?  Use the box below to find out now!

Check Page Rank of your Web site pages instantly:

This page rank checking tool is powered by Page Rank Checker service

Are you happy with that number?  Or do you need to do some work?  Take heart if you do because this is a number you can improve.  While there is no magic formula for increasing your PageRank, pay special attention to the items mentioned above and cross your fingers that the Google Gods will smile on you and your awesome blog!
Questions?  Comments?  Suggestions?  Let me know!

Comments

  1. AWESOME article! Thank you so much!! I still don’t understand all of it but this was sure a whole LOT easier to follow than other articles I’ve read. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!
    Connie
    Connie Gruning recently posted..Blogger Opp!! $1.00 per link!! Walk & Work with StyleMy Profile

  2. I’m always interested in having my page rank go up :) Thanks for sharing.
    Ellen Christian recently posted..Photography Challenge – Funny, Family Pets, Calendar #febphotoadayMy Profile

  3. great article! It took me a long time to wrap my head around PR and I just decided to go with the line that it’s one more stat on my Media Kit – important to some… not to others…
    (but I did a little happy dance this past month when Google did their update and I went to a PR4)
    Heather ~ Acting Balanced Mom recently posted..MMMmonday – Honey Carrot SoupMy Profile

  4. Wow! This is a lot to wrap your head around. You made a complicated algorithm seem a little easier to understand, though!

  5. Rebecca Parsons
    Twitter:
    says:

    I actually love voting on blogs. I have a blog but I no longer add to it. I have a hard time keeping up. So when I visit a blog I try to find a voting button. I appreciate other peoples hard work.

  6. Ah, PageRank. I freaked out when I had a 1 and then went to a N/A for several weeks. I thought I ticked off the Google Gods but thankfully, my PR is now a 2 and I couldn’t be happier.
    Sarah BB recently posted..9/11 MemorialMy Profile

  7. I have such a love/hate relationship with my pagerank. I need to go back through old reviews and nofollow them, as I didn’t realize until about six months ago that I should be nofollowing them when I get items for review.
    Emily recently posted..Nyx Cosmetics Lip Products ReviewMy Profile

  8. Thanks for the tips! I never did understand much about PR but now thanks to your post I do! I’m off to check my pagerank out! lol..
    Thanks
    Shannon’s Tales of Motherhood recently posted..Locomotion of Expressions: Martha Marcy May Marlene DVD 2 winners! #win 2/28My Profile

  9. AnnaZed
    Twitter:
    says:

    I have been thinking of starting my own blog, but haven’t done it yet. This is useful information, thanks!

  10. Krystal R says:

    I need this! Thanks for sharing. I’m enjoying all of your blogging articles!

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