Google PageRank is one of the most popular and mystified concepts in the world of SEO. There are myths, facts and confusions on Google PageRank. Google has always been changing its algorithm to avoid websites gaming the concept.
PageRank(PR) seems to be one of the most guarded concepts by Google. The recent “Penguin” update is just another example just like the “Panda” hurricane. Now with “Penguin” update Google now tries to identify sites/pages which are stuffed with keywords and over usage of SEO tricks without real content and value add for internet. ( In case you are interested in reading more about Penguin update refer this link : 2012 Penguin analysis )
This brings us to the point, Why is Google PR so important ? To understand this we first need to know some basic facts:
1. Google PR is updated randomly. It may be 1 month, 3 month, 6 months or may be even 11 months and no one knows when the next update is coming. All we know is that when PR has been updated you’ll see people talking about this.
The last confirmed PR update was in Feb’12 and is suspected to be updated on 2 May’12.
2. Google Page rank only ranks the web page not the domain or the website.
Suppose my website’s homepage is ranked 6 then this PageRank tells the rank of homepage only and not the domain or other pages. However, there is another popular metric which can be used to analyze the ranking of the domain that is “MozRank” from SeoMoz which consolidates the rank of the pages and domain as a whole and is updated consistently.
3. According to many SEO Gurus, Google page rank is a raw indication of link popularity . Take the example of Facebook which has PageRank 9 and Google 10 and accordingly everything relatively scales down, It does not take into account whether sites are related to each other or not. It takes into account how many pages are pointed towards it and if important pages are pointed it would definitely rank better.
4. PageRank is believed to be calculated on logarithm scale. SEO Gurus believe that PageRank does not use log base 2, rather uses log base 8-9 which is not observed through the toolbar PageRank.
5. PageRank is a floating point number which we call as Real PageRank, calculated and updated multiple times a day internally. Google decides which url’s to crawl and how to prioritize pages. Important pages are crawled more frequently or pages where the content is unique and updated frequently.
7. The history of PageRank is very important. A site is having PageRank of 6 and suddenly it dropped to 2, this might be due to google penalization or the site did something wrong. It is also possible that the site has done nothing wrong but a site linking to the site has been affected and that link was devalued.
8. PageRank should not be used for understanding the SERP ranking. They are not related to each other. It should not be used for valuing link prospects rather domain authority, page authority, anchor text, number of visitors can be used.
9. PageRank should not be treated as the primary metric for measuring performance of your website. The most important performance indicators are keywords, traffic, quality visits and visitors on the website.
Apart from above facts, we still haven’t touched on why PR is important. Well its simple fact, its the only measurable metric defined by Google to track your SEO performance.
Also “higher PR pages have a better chance of making to better search engine rankings”, errr.. not necessarily true, in-fact ideally most websites with high PR have high domain authority and therefore rank higher in SERPs.
Getting high PR is like a mouse chase where we are the cat, as soon as we thought we have it, it just slips away and takes a new turn.