PageRank is an algorithm by Google Founders; Larry Page and Sergey Brin. This algorithm assigns Page Rank to each Page on the internet based on the links pointing to it.
Inbound links are the links (or hyperlinks) that point to your website (say domain ABC.com) from an external website (say XYZ.com). These links can be in the form of text, image or buttons.
If a piece of content is getting shared, it means, people either like or detest it. Either way, the content is getting the attention and is being shared. The more the number of quality links pointing to a particular page, the higher the credibility and authority of a page.
These links to a particular page act as a vote of confidence for that page. However, not all the inbound links are considered equal and their importance varies drastically. Page Rank is one of the most important factors to rank on Search engine result page (SERP).
So, does higher Page Rank guarantee first place in Google SERP? A big NO to that and we will see “WHY” in a while.
Why should we care about Page Rank? This is because, better the page rank, higher the chances that the page will be listed on the first page of SERP (Search Engine results page). Page Rank is one of many (around 200) factors that Google whisks in its secret formula to rank a page in its search results.
Rank in SERP = Page Rank (assigned by PageRank algorithm) + numerous other factors (about 200 of them)
Page Rank is query independent factor that affects the rank of a website on SERP.
Query dependent factors that affect the rank of page in SERP include but not limited to;
- How many times and where does this page contain the keywords (in title, in URL).
- Does the page include synonym for the word?
- Is the page from quality website or low-quality or spamy?
- ..and many many more.
Now that we know that Links effect Page Rank, but all links?
Links on a page can be DOFOLLOW or NOFOLLOW. By default, all the links are DOFOLLOW unless specified otherwise. It’s these DOFOLLOW links that affect the page rank.
People can click on both the types of links but declaring a link as “NoFollow” informs the search crawlers (read as Google crawler) not to follow (go to the link and crawl the page) the link. In other words, it informs the crawlers not to pass any Page Rank to the linked page.
It’s only DOFOLLOW links that act as a vote of confidence for a page. One DOFOLLOW link on a page flows one point of Page Rank (of the page where the link is on) to the linked page. The higher the quality of the website where the link is coming from, more the weight of the inbound link.
So, quality DOFOLLOW links matter and affect to large extent where your website ranks in SERP.
So, should we fret over Page Rank?
Webmasters shouldn’t be obsessed over Inbound links (or back links). Rather the attention should be on creating good content, accessibility of your site, other SEO factors. When your content is good and you share it, people WILL like and share with others.
It’s for this reason, that Google pulled off the Page Rank tool bar. So, muster your efforts towards creating great content and sharing it.
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So far, so good..
We have talked briefly (rather very briefly) about what a Page Rank is, let’s shift our focus to Rank in SERP.
Rank in SERP is the organic ranking of a web page in search engine results page. You search for a query on Google search and you are presented with list of pages in an order (or rank) that’s defined by Google. To reinforce;
Rank in SERP = Page Rank (assigned by PageRank algorithm) + numerous other factors (about 200 of them).
To summarize, “Page Rank” and “Rank in SERP” are both “RANK of a web page” but at different steps in the Google search process.And different factors effecting them.