The Mystery Behind the Google PageRank.

I really liked this Google doodle. Click the pic to check out more!


Hello and welcome to another How-To post. For this post I will uncover the mysterious convoluted PageRank system Google has put in place in order to properly grade ranked results for a specific keyword(s) and list them accordingly. I say this system is mysterious because Google does not enjoy revealing the intricacies behind the calculations of this complex enigma but the monster company does explain things you can do to predictably influence your websites’ ranking on the organic search results page. First however let’s look at what Mr. Ian Rogers has to say on the PageRank.

Ian Rogers:

This gentleman had many interesting guesses as to how one could possibly calculate the PagerRank of their respective website. He takes into consideration other authors’ ideas and obviously incorporates the equation Google showcased once but never again. Please check out his website. Not only do his calculations make sense, he provides many useful links at the bottom of his site such as the first paper on PageRanks published by Google co-founders: Sergey Brin & Lawrence Page. And a neat PageRank Calculator for those of you interested in a machine doing most of the work for you.  So here are some points Mr. Rogers makes on pagerank.

Some Points:

  • Google toolbars show the pagerank rating of a webpage by logs of 10 (i.e. toolbar pagerank= 0, REAL pagerank= 0-10, toolbar pagerank= 1, REAL pagerank= 10-100, etc.)
  • Ian states Google re-indexes the pagerank of all webpages online every month AND changes the pagerank scale as well making it difficult to accurately gauge the exact pagerank number your webpage currently has, therefore any PR (pagerank) numbers you receive from toolbars or PR checkers are essentially really good guesses not necessarily definitive PR’s.
  • Mr. Rogers makes a very simple definition for pagerank he states: “In short PageRank is a “vote”, by all the other pages on the Web, about how important a page is. A link to a page counts as a vote of support. If there’s no link there’s no support (but it’s only an abstention from voting rather than a vote against the page). ” I really like this definition. It is very simple to remember.
  • Another problem in calculating PR of websites is that in order to use the algorithm provided by Google in the original PageRank paper developed by Google founders (Sergey Brin & Lawrence Page), you need to know the PR of the pages linking into your webpage. Then you can’t find out those PRs until you find the PRs of the websites linking to THEM and so on. However that same paper also provides us with the algorithm necessary to duplicate the normalized link matrix of the web and therefore allows us to check our PR without knowing anyone else’s PR!
  • PR(A)= (1-d) +d (PR(B)/1), PR(B)=(1-d) +d (PR(A)/1),   d=0.85.  So this is the equation (according to Mr. Roger) one can use continuously to more accurately find the PageRank of his/her respective site. In other words, Page A(PR(A)) links to Page B(PR(B)) and vice-versa and d shows the damping factor for the answer you get. Therefore,  assume your webpage is Page A and an inbound link to your site is Page B. Then just plug all the numbers repeating the process using the answer for PR(B) as the PR(B) value in the 2nd run through.
  • Ian later explains how the arrangement and order of each calculation matters when calculating PageRank. This makes sense because PageRank depends on the quality of inbound links on your site which are essentially “voting” for your page and their respective PageRanks as well. When trying the equation keep in mind the base value for the average PageRank is 1.
  • With the above equation any page that is online will start off with .15 of a PR or “voting power however, Mr. Roger warns Google supposedly has a post-spidering phase back at their lair which automatically deletes any pages without inbound links! Scary….
  • Mr. Rogers then illustrates how external sites that your site links to do not help raise your PageRank up by much if they themselves are not inbound links on YOUR website. The value for the owner homepage went from: PR(A)= .92 to: PR(A)= 3.35! That is quite an impressive increase.


  • Mr. Rogers goes on to give various examples of really interesting ways to structure your website in order to manually focus traffic to the main homepage, or whichever page you want to focus on for that matter. He also explains a couple strategies one can use to greatly improve their PageRank.
  • Tip #1: Be a Mega-Site. Sites such as Fox News, which has a PR of 8 by the way, have such large amounts of articles contributed by many authors on a weekly basis and so many inbound links from these pages going back to their homepages they conquer the rankings because of the amount of quality content they have at their disposal.
  • Tip #2: Give Away Something Useful. phpBB was a company that developed a bulletin board system they gave out for free to any interested websites over the internet and basically became so popular it raised their PageRank to an 8/10! (Currently it’s at a 5/10 but that just shows nothing lasts forever!).
  • Tip #3: Stick with One Page When Raising the PR. Essentially the co-founders of Google stated in their paper that the average PageRank (at the time) is 1.00. Therefore instead of fighting a battle of averages for every page focus on raising the rank of one page in particular (homepage, request quote page etc.). This will concentrate your efforts on one page maximizing their effects and bringing up your site first in the rankings more quickly!

I hope this post was informative as it was interesting (at least to me!). Again these calculations are not certified by Google. But they do give very interesting glimpses into how this ranking system seems to operate. Google does state the equation is ever changing and the equation most people use to figure all this out might not even be used anymore. But interesting to know nonetheless!

Have a Beautiful Day.


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