Everything you need to know about google pagerank in 2021

Step bachồng in time ten years, & PageRank was the SEO metric that everyone talked about.

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If you have been working in the industry for more than a few years, you will undoubtedly rethành viên the excitement that came when you heard that there had been an update khổng lồ the PageRank toolbar.

With any luông chồng, your recent efforts would have sầu delivered an increase in your PageRank score, knowing that this meant that Google was now viewing your site as more authoritative sầu than it previously was.

An increase in your PageRank score was a great demonstrator that your SEO strategy (&, in particular, your links building strategy) was working. 

Fast forward to 2021, and PageRank is rarely mentioned. 

But that is not because it is no longer important, just that it is no longer a public-facing metric. And when SEOs can no longer measure something, they eventually stop talking about it.

In this guide, we will dive sầu deep into lớn everything you need khổng lồ know about Google PageRank, and its importance in 2021.


What is PageRank?

If you rethành viên PageRank, this is what probably best comes khổng lồ mind when you think about it:

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Image Credit: Softpedia

That is Google's infamous PageRank toolbar. 

This is what we all came to lớn associate with PageRank and the metric that SEOs became universally obsessed with.

But there is far more khổng lồ PageRank than the toolbar. 

PageRank — a System for Ranking Web Pages

PageRank is a system for ranking website pages that Google's founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed at Stanford University. And what it is important to lớn underst& is that PageRank is all about liên kết. 

The higher the PageRank of a liên kết, the more authoritative it is. 

We can simplify the PageRank algorithm khổng lồ describe it as a way for the importance of a webpage lớn be measured by analyzing the quantity và quality of the link that point to lớn it.

The PageRank Score

Perhaps unsurprisingly, PageRank is a complex algorithm that assigns a score of importance lớn a page on the website. 

But as far as the everyday SEO was concerned, PageRank was a linear representation of a logarithmic scale of between 0 and 10 that was displayed on the PageRank toolbar. 

A PageRank score of 0 is typically a low-chất lượng trang web, whereas, on the other h&, a score of 10 would represent only the most authoritative sites on the web. 

The key khổng lồ understanding PageRank scores is that it uses a logarithmic scale. Not sure what that means in layman's terms?

A logarithmic scale is a way of displaying numerical data over a very wide range of values in a compact way—typically the largest numbers in the data are hundreds or even thousands of times larger than the smallest numbers.

— Wikipedia

As reported by Search Engine Watch, "It has an estimated base of 4-5. In other words, assuming a base of 5, PR2 links are comparable lớn 5 PR1 links; a PR6 links is comparable khổng lồ 5 PR5 links, và so on."

Very quickly, we can see that a PR10 links is comparable lớn thousands of PR1 liên kết. 

The reason why SEOs became so fixated on this metric is that PageRank passes from one page khổng lồ another, meaning that a website can gain authority by being linked to lớn from another that has a higher PageRank score.

Quite simply, PageRank (that is passed between websites by links) helps a website khổng lồ rank higher, and the algorithm is based around the concept that a page is deemed to be important if other important pages liên kết lớn it.

Google still uses PageRank as part of its algorithm today, but the original patent has expired và, in this original size, hasn't actually been used since 2006, và the one that we now see is ultimately far more complex.

A Brief History of Google PageRank

The first PageRank patent was filed on September 1, 1998, và became the original algorithm that Google used to lớn calculate the importance of a web page và rank these. 

In short, Google was literally formed based upon Sergey Brin's idea that information on the website could be ranked based upon a page's link popularity, that the more link point to a page, the higher it ranks. 

And if we take a look at the paper that introduced Google, we can clearly see PageRank referenced when explaining the search engine's features:

The Google tìm kiếm engine has two important features that help it produce high precision results. First, it makes use of the link structure of the Web khổng lồ calculate a chất lượng ranking for each website page. This ranking is called PageRank và is described in detail in . Second, Google utilizes liên kết to improve sầu tìm kiếm results.

— The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine - Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page

PageRank is literally what made Google so quality.

The paper goes on to lớn explain that, "The citation (link) graph of the website is an important resource that has largely gone unused in existing website tìm kiếm engines."

The Introduction of the Google Toolbar

In 2000, Google introduced the toolbar that we all now come khổng lồ remember as the way in which we could see our site's (và our competitors') PageRank score.

As a result of this, SEOs began lớn become fixated solely on increasing PageRank as a metric for improving rankings, driven largely by a simplified understanding of the algorithm that suggested that a web page with the highest number of liên kết should rank the highest. 

A simple explanation of the approach by many in the early 2000s was that their goal was to lớn get as many links as possible from website pages with as high PageRank as possible.

This, of course, began khổng lồ see PageRank manipulated, with money changing hands for links as well as what many of us will rethành viên as links farms. 

Fast traông xã almost 15 years, and Google would stop updating this public-facing toolbar in 2014 (with the last confirmed update being December 2013) và retire it completely in 2016. 

Of course, this doesn't mean that Google stopped using PageRank as part of the algorithm, just that it stopped being a public-facing metric.

An Updated PageRank Patent

The original PageRank patent from 1998 expired in 2018 &, lớn the surprise of many, wasn't renewed. Around this time, a former Google employee confirmed that the original algorithm hadn't been used since 2006.

But that doesn't mean PageRank is dead, far from it.

The original patent was replaced by this new one. To fully understvà the differences with the original, we recommkết thúc you read Bill Slawski's analysis here.

This new patent references "seed sites in the trusted seed sets" và defines these as "...specially selected high-quality pages which provide good web connectivity to other non-seed pages," with two given examples being The Google Directory (this was still live when the patent was filed) và the Thành Phố New York Times.

" need khổng lồ be reliable, diverse enough to lớn cover a wide range of fields of public interests và well connected to lớn other sites. They should have large numbers of useful outgoing links lớn facilitate identifying other useful và high-unique pages, acting as “hubs” on the web."

The new patent looked to lớn give a ranking score to lớn a website page based upon how far away it is from a seed set. That said, this patent doesn't actually reference PageRank (or clayên ổn lớn be an updated version of the algorithm).

Rather, it has been understood by the SEO community that it acts as a PageRank modifier based upon the proximity to the seed set of sites. 

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Understanding How PageRank Works

Quite simply, PageRank is fascinating. 

It is something that every SEO (and liên kết builder) should understand in-depth if only to lớn provide context around the reason why liên kết remain one of Google's top 3 ranking factors.

But just how does PageRank work?

When the patent was first filed và Google's early algorithm developed, it was based around the theory that a liên kết from one website lớn another acted as a vote of trust and authority. And, therefore, the more links (votes) that point to lớn a page, the more it should be trusted &, therefore, rank higher.

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But, as defined in the original paper, "PageRank extends this idea by not counting link from all pages equally, và by normalizing by the number of liên kết on a page."

A liên kết isn't simply a straight vote. The authority of a page is taken inkhổng lồ trương mục. A link from a PageRank 6 page is ultimately a more authoritative sầu vote than one from a PageRank 2 page.

And this flow of PageRank between pages is sometimes referred lớn by SEOs as 'links juice.'

But let's look at the calculations behind PageRank:

"We assume page A has pages T1...Tn which point to lớn it (i.e., are citations). The parameter d is a damping factor which can be set between 0 and 1. We usually mix d to 0.85. There are more details about d in the next section. Also, C(A) is defined as the number of link going out of page A. The PageRank of a page A is given as follows:

PR(A) = (1-d) + d (PR(T1)/C(T1) + ... + PR(Tn)/C(Tn))

cảnh báo that the PageRanks size a probability distribution over web pages, so the sum of all web pages' PageRanks will be one."

What this means, in simpler terms, is that the PageRank of Page B is calculated by multiplying the PageRank of Page A by 0.85. This is known as the dampening factor.

If Page B then link khổng lồ Page C, this receives 85% of B's PageRank (72.25% of Page A's).

If a website page has no link pointing to it, that page doesn't begin with 0 PageRank, rather 0.15.

But things get even more complicated when there is more than one external links on a page.

As referenced in this 2004 post on Search Engine Roundtable:

If you put a liên kết from page A khổng lồ page B, page A will distribute PageRank to page B. Page A's PageRank does not get diluted by linking out, but the links are worth less, in terms of the value of the PageRank, when there are more links on the page A.

— Barry Schwartz

PageRank is complex, & lớn understvà how it works in more detail; you can kiểm tra out this detailed guide that gives an introduction to lớn PageRank for SEO.

Factors That Influence(d) PageRank and That Still Matter

Of course, there are, and were, factors that influence PageRank. 

We have already covered the fact that not all liên kết are equal in terms of the PageRank that they pass. But just what are some of the factors that can (và have sầu previously done so) influence PageRank?

We will look specifically at:

Anchor text The likelihood of being clicked Internal link Nofollow links

You need to lớn understvà not only what these influencing factors are but also how they apply lớn SEO in 2021, which you need to be using and which khổng lồ avoid as part of your tactics of choice.

Anchor Text

Google's original paper referred khổng lồ link văn bản đặt trong liên kết by stating that, "The text of links is treated in a special way in our tìm kiếm engine" & that, "anchors often provide more accurate descriptions of website pages than the pages themselves."

In the early days of Google, văn bản đặt trong liên kết had a key influence on the rankings of a page.

If you wanted to rank for the term "red shoes," the more link you had that used that term as an anchor text, the higher you could rank.

Link building became a race between SEOs khổng lồ see who could gain as many exact match văn bản đặt trong liên kết links as possible from high PageRank pages. 

It worked (for some time) but was sheer manipulation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines &, specifically, this is considered as a link scheme.

Fast forward khổng lồ 2021, và the overuse of văn bản đặt trong liên kết manipulation will result in toxic link and potentially a manual penalty or algorithmic adjustment. 

The Likelihood of a Link Being Clicked

The likelihood of a link being clicked is a key influencer of PageRank và is referenced by Google's reasonable surfer patent.

The original PageRank algorithm assigned an equal weight to lớn liên kết on a page. Whereas, 2004's Reasonable Surfer patent indicates that not all liên kết are as likely as one another to lớn be clicked; therefore, giving a different value khổng lồ different links, depending upon their potential to lớn be clicked. 

A given example of links that are less likely lớn be clicked include 'terms of service' link & banner advertisements, but could also include liên kết in a footer or a similar location.

Internal Links

Internal linking is a powerful SEO tactic, & there is a good reason why.

You can help PageRank to flow through your site with a solid internal linking structure, & once you understood how this works, it is easy lớn see why this tactic can have sầu such a noticeable impact, especially when linking khổng lồ pages that are not linked lớn from anywhere else. 

You can learn more about how khổng lồ effectively use this tactic in our guide khổng lồ internal linking.

NoFollow Links

NoFollow link prevent(ed) the flow of PageRank until recently when this became a hint. 

Historically, SEOs sometimes used the NoFollow attribute to lớn sculpt the flow of PageRank – on the basis that if a page had 5 external liên kết, PageRank would all pass through the one followed link if 4 of the 5 were nofollowed. 

In 2009, however, Google's Matt Cutts confirmed that this would no longer work & that PageRank would be distributed across link even if a NoFollow attribute was present (but only pass through the followed link).

Learn about Nofollow, Sponsored, and UGC Links

Why Did Google Retire the PageRank Toolbar?

SEOs became obsessed with PageRank, and it quickly became the most focused on SEO tactic, even above creating great nội dung and a solid user experience.

The problem was that by publicly sharing a PageRank Score, this became easier for SEOs lớn manipulate, alongside influencing factors such as anchor text, nofollow, and the reasonable surfer Mã Sản Phẩm.

SEOs knew how they could use PageRank khổng lồ rank their websites higher, and they took advantage of this.

If we look at this from Google's perspective sầu, the public-facing PageRank toolbar was the problem. Without this, there was no accurate measure of a website page's authority (at least officially).

Ultimately, SEOs abused PageRank và used it to manipulate rankings, leaving Google with no real choice other than khổng lồ retire the toolbar, which happened in năm nhâm thìn. 

Why PageRank Still Matters in 2021

PageRank still matters in 2021. 

Just because there is no longer a toolbar that gives us a web page's PageRank score doesn't mean it is not still used.

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In fact, in 2017, Google's Gary Illyes confirmed on Twitter that they were still using PageRank.


Chuyên mục: SEO