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What Is PageRank?

Google uses many factors in order to evaluate web pages, as well as rank them in their search engine results pages (SERPs), and one of those factors is PageRank. It was developed by the founders of Google, while they were working on “Backrub,” which was their search engine research project.

Not many people know this, but the word “page” in “PageRank” derived from Larry Page's last name, and not from “web page,” which is what many people wrongly believe.

More Links More PR

PageRank is also known as PR, and basically it is an indicator of how important a web page is. It is actually based on Sergey Brin's concept that pages could be arranged via “link popularity”.

Basically, a web page would get a better PR as more sites linked to it. A PR0 is not important at all, while a PR10 is very important.

So, why would a page with more links leading to it get a higher PR than  a page that does not have many links? One of the rationalizations behind it is that if people enjoy the content on a specific web page, then they will naturally recommend it to others. It is kind of like a vote for the web page.

If a web page has many links, then it is considered important. Essentially, the more sites that link to it, the more important it will become. If the sites linking to the web page are unique and they are high PR sites, then those links will be considered more important than links coming from low PR sites.

Where Did It Come From

By now you may be wondering how Brin and Page came up with the idea of PageRank. Page actually needed a dissertation theme while he was a candidate for a PhD. This led Page to think about the World Wide Web, and the connection between the mathematical properties and links.

Sergey Brin eventually joined Page, and they worked on a project dubbed “Backrub”. During this period of time, they worked on developing a web crawler, and the crawler gathered the data of backlinks. Eventually the two developed a distribution algorithm, which was designed to analyze the data that was gathered by the crawler.

This was done in order to measure how important a web page was based on how many links, as well as the nature of the links, linked to it. The name PageRank was the name they decided to give the algorithm.

Google Search Engine Born

The pair then decided to build a search engine prototype, which was actually the first version of Google. In 1996, the Google search engine was available to use via the Stanford University's website. In 1998 a paper discussing Backrub was published, and it was co-authored by a professor of computer science at the university.

Even to this day PR is the basis for all of the web search tools offered by Google. Also, you should remember that PR and links are not the only things that will determine your web pages' rankings. In matter of fact, there are more than 100 factors that Google takes into consideration, and all off the factors play a role in how well your web page will rank. Just keep in mind that PR is not everything.

Why Bother With Page Rank

Now you may be wondering if PR is not the be-all and end-all of search engine optimization, why should you even bother with it? That's a good question, but we do have an answer for you. The reason why you should bother with PR is because we all know that it is one of the many factors that search engines take into consideration when ranking pages.

We really do not know much about the 100+ factors that search engines look at when ranking sites. If you want to increase the chances of appearing in a good spot on the Google SERPs, then you should take PR seriously. If you don't, then you could end up with a site that does not rank as good as it could have if you focused a little bit on PR.