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UPDATE 2016-09-09: What WAS PageRank? PageRank was an integral part of SEO for many years. Read on to learn more about what it WAS, but its time has now passed.  We haven’t really counted on it now for a couple years – quite a while.  Most SEOs refer to rankings from Majestic.com or AHrefs.com or Moz.com. Google still has an internal mechanism for determining how much love they have for your site, but it is no longer shared in ANY fashion with the public.

What WAS PageRank?When you start talking to your SEO company, all those terms… What the heck is offsite? What is onsite? What is this and that? And then, of course, what is PageRank?

Our friends over at Wikipedia have it something along these lines…

PageRank is a link evaluation algorithm, named after Larry Page and used by the Google web-search engine, that designates a numeric weighting to each component of a hyperlinked group of files, like the World Wide Web, together with the purpose of “measuring” its relative significance inside of the set. The formula may be applied to any collection of entities with reciprocal quotations and references. The numerical weight that it assigns for any given element E is denoted by PR (E and known as the PageRank of E). PageRank is not Google’s only formula that establishes positions in serp’s, but simply one of several elements utilized to establish ranking sites in search results pages for any specific search. Find out more at their site – PageRank Explained

In short, if you didn’t follow all of that, it’s a system named after Larry Page (one of the Google founders) to help decide just how important your website actually is based on the content, links and other various factors specific to your website. Higher is better. The rankings go from N/A to 10. It is usually referred to as simply “PR” – not to be confused with “public relations” type PR.

Quick PR Ranking Breakdown

  • N/A: Google has no clue who the heck you are. If you have been around for a while, it really doesn’t like your content – scraped or just nothing of any real note. If you’re just starting a website, this is normal.
  • PR 0: Google acknowledges your existence, but doesn’t see much value yet, but it has some faith in you. Still not a desired ranking.
  • PR 1: Now you’re getting somewhere. You have content and some value in Google’s eyes. You’re not setting the world on fire, but you have relevance.
  • PR 2: Okay, not shabby. Google likes you. You’ve got some decent content.
  • PR 3: Good for a local website – much like the ones that we create. You’ve got content that is good, and you’ve got some clout. With a PR 3 site, you can usually launch a page and get pretty quick love from Google on it.
  • PR 4: Now you’ve got some heat. PR 4 and up is pretty powerful medicine if you’re doing either backlinking or buying expired domains for reuse. This ranking indicates some good solid traffic (at some point), relevance, and a good number of backlinks – again, at SOME point.

The rough breakdown is that each successive increase in PR is an order of 10. So a PR 0 is your starting point. A PR 1 is 10x more impressive than that, a PR 2 is 100x more impressive, and a PR 3 1000x stronger. Etc.

What does this mean to MY website?

I’m sure a larger company than Lizardwebs could identify better the higher PR ranks and all that, but once you get moving up the ladder, you want to be PR 1 or higher. For SEO, PR N/A or PR 0 is crap. If you’re creating your own sites from ground up, you will have those rankings for a while. To get to the next level(s), you need to be moving on up the pipe all the time by increasing your unique and useful content, and of course, backlinks. It is NOT a requirement to HAVE a higher PR to rank for a specific search term, but it helps. If a PR 4 site puts up a new page targeting a particular term, it usually has a great chance to rank for that term quickly vs a PR 0 site.

Other terms that you’re likely to hear bandied about when chatting about PR are “google juice”, “link juice”, “google love”, etc. With each increase in PR ranking when a page/site is linked from one of these sites, the PR indicates how much “love” is being passed on to your site. Thus if I want Google to rank my site higher, with the help of some good links, I want to be using some higher PR sites as much as possible. It’s going to take about 1000 PR 0 links to do for my website what just 1 PR 3 link will do. While this is a bit of a simplification, it’s the basic idea. And a good PR 5-7 link? Heck, that can pass on the love of a whole year or two of backlinking from PR 0 sites LOL.

A lot of “splogs” – spam blogs – have the PR N/A or PR 0 designation due to lack of unique or useful content and other factors. With recent Google updates in place, it is generally not advised to be linking from anything less than a PR 1 site. Though…

I see PR 0 sites all day long ranking for keywords, so it seriously is NOT a big issue in many cases.
Additionally, while it is believed that Google does have a real-time PR value for each website/web page, they actually only release those updates quarterly or even semi-annually. If you’re PR 0 today, don’t worry yourself looking up your PR every day – you’re likely going to be disappointed 99% of the time.

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