What is the Google PageRank Algorithm?

By Techfunnel Author - Last Updated on December 22, 2023
Google PageRank Algorithm

Locating the information you want amid the enormous quantity of available data can be easy with some help in the sifting process. Google’s ranking systems aim to effectively process massive amounts of content, totaling hundreds of billions, to deliver the most pertinent and valuable results within just a fraction of a second.

It achieves this using the Google PageRank algorithm, a link analysis program that computes credibility and relevance based on the links to and from a website. A rise in one’s PageRank score is a strong indicator of the efficacy of an SEO strategy, especially your link-building strategy. It also means that our content is reaching the broadest possible audience.

What is the Google PageRank Algorithm?

PageRank is an algorithm created by Google that assesses the significance of web pages by looking at the quantity and quality of links pointing to them. Input links are treated as votes, and pages that receive more high-quality links are assigned a higher ranking in search engine results.

A web page’s relative influence and impact can be gauged by its Google PageRank, which is a number between 0 and 10 determined by the quality and quantity of incoming links.

In the late 1990s, it was co-created at Stanford University by Larry Page and Sergey Brin; Page and Brin lent it their names. It was on this technology that Page and Brin built the Google search engine.

At the outset, in the 2000s, the PageRank score was displayed publicly in the Google Toolbar, and ranking algorithms were unambiguous. Unfortunately, websites became overloaded with irrelevant keywords, and admins manipulated PageRank using fraudulent backlinks.

Over time, Google has combatted link spam in several ways to protect the integrity of search engine results, such as hiding the PageRank score, penalizing suspicious backlinks, and de-ranking pages with fake comments.

That is why, today, the Google PageRank algorithm is a complex formula to crack for marketers, and by understanding how it works, it is possible to ensure greater visibility for your website through authentic and sustainable means.

How Does the Google PageRank Algorithm Work?

As said earlier, PageRank estimates a website’s significance according to the quantity and quality of links pointing to it. The theory suggests that websites of higher quality and relevance are more likely to garner referrals from other websites.

Fundamentally, Google compares connections to voting. Further, it takes into account the relative significance of individual ballots. PageRank is Google’s method for establishing the importance of a page by tallying the number of votes cast for its links. These scores are incorporated with numerous other factors to ascertain a page’s search engine ranking.

Google PageRank algorithm working explained with an example

For those who want to comprehend the inner workings of PageRank, consider this easy example involving four web pages labeled A, B, C, and D. All pages are initialized with the same PageRank value under the assumption that a probability distribution lies between 0 and 1. Therefore, in this example, the starting value for every page is 0.25.

The distribution of the PageRank transmitted from a source page to the recipients of its outbound links is uniform across all outbound links.

Assume that every link on pages B, C, and D leads to A. Subsequently, on the next iteration, each link would transmit 0.25 PageRank to A for an overall impact score of 0.75.

Take into account, however, that page B contained hyperlinks to pages C and A. Therefore, during the initial iteration, page B would send 0.125, or half of its current value, to page A and the remaining 0.125, or 0.125, to page C.

Image page D simultaneously contains hyperlinks to each of the three pages. Approximately 0.083, or one-third of its current value, would be transferred across each page.

The PageRank transfers are considered with every iteration, arriving at a cumulative score for each page. While this is a very simplistic description, it forms the crux of how the Google PageRank algorithm still works internally and offers valuable suggestions on how marketers can improve their PageRank score.

How Can You Influence the Google PageRank Algorithm

Four key SEO factors typically determine a page’s PageRank score:

1. Anchor text

Anchor text is the content to which a hyperlink is affixed. Initially, Google’s search engine treated the text of links differently, and anchors frequently offered more precise summaries of web pages than the pages themselves. Early on in the Google time frame, anchor text significantly impacted a page’s ranking.

Right now, Google has classified anchor text manipulation as an instance of link fraud. This action could end up in a penalty that negatively impacts your rankings. However, the organic insertion of anchor text in a manner that’s meaningful and useful to website visitors is suitable for the PageRank algorithm.

2. Internal links

Internal links are hyperlinks that connect pages within a single website. Backlinks, which are hyperlinks to your web pages from other domains, differ from this. Internal linkage is a successful form of SEO. The aim is to facilitate PageRank movement all through your website by setting up a robust internal linking system.

This is a particularly effective method for driving authority to stand-alone or “orphaned” pages – those with no other links. SEO marketers can generate internal linkage reports using a site audit tool. This can help you in detecting, among other things, faulty links, orphaned pages, or insufficient anchor text.

3. The likelihood of a link being clicked

The probability of a link being opened is an important variable that impacts PageRank. This is cited in the 2004 reasonable surfer patent application filed by Google.

Each link on a page received an equal weight by the original PageRank algorithm. However, according to this patent, the chance that a user will click on a particular link differs; consequently, the weights given to those links must reflect this variation. For instance, Links in footers and service sites are more likely to be selected than links that are prominently displayed and, therefore, should receive a lesser weight.

Marketers can increase the likelihood of links being clicked through proper structuring of content and ensuring that website visitors see links relevant to them when they are most likely to connect within the flow of the content and the page.

4. Nofollow Links

Nofollow links contain the rel=”nofollow” attribute in their content. At first, nofollow links were not considered when calculating PageRank, and website owners could game the PageRank algorithm using the nofollow attribute. For instance, they could compose guest posts that included hyperlinks to five distinct websites, with the sole intention of not following all the links – except the one directed to their site.

Google announced in 2019 that the nofollow attributes would be considered “hints.” Said it would determine whether or not these hyperlinks qualify for PageRank.

Marketers are advised to use nofollow links wisely and use attributes like “sponsored” where it may be more applicable.

Is Improving Google PageRank Algorithm Score Enough?

It’s crucial to remember that while PageRank is an essential concept that demands your attention, it doesn’t represent the entirety of the determinants that influence your ranking in the search engine results page (SERP). PageRank ultimately relies on your ability to build links and consistent focus on creating high-quality linkable content.

PageRank is only one of Google’s ranking algorithms; therefore, to track your rankings, you should audit more than your PageRank to garner a more expanded view of your search position.

Factors like the usability and accessibility of web pages and the relevance and quality of content play an equal role in SEO success. Discover more insights on winning the SEO process in this whitepaper – Your Out of the Ordinary Guide to Effective Content Optimization.

Techfunnel Author | TechFunnel.com is an ambitious publication dedicated to the evolving landscape of marketing and technology in business and in life. We are dedicated to sharing unbiased information, research, and expert commentary that helps executives and professionals stay on top of the rapidly evolving marketplace, leverage technology for productivity, and add value to their knowledge base.

Techfunnel Author | TechFunnel.com is an ambitious publication dedicated to the evolving landscape of marketing and technology in business and in life. We are dedicate...

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