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PageRank: What Is it and Do You Still Need to Worry About It?

By Garrett Spence   |    October 31, 2014   |    9:29 AM

Why Google PageRank is Still Relevant and How It Gives Businesses an Edge Over Competitors

Google uses around 200 plus factors to rank a site in search engine results pages (SERPs). Some of these ranking factors are new, and others have been around for a while. One of those standby ranking factors is PageRank.

What is PageRank?

PageRank is an algorithm that Google uses to determine how important a website is. Websites are given a PageRank score between 0 and 10, with 10 being the highest. Very few websites actually have a 10 rating. Examples of sites with a 10 rating include Adobe and Apple. Most sites have about a 3 PageRank. Above average is considered anything at or above a 4.

PageRank is determined by “link juice” or how many and the quality of inbound links pointing to a site. Google sees inbound links as an endorsement of a particular website. The better the inbound links to a site, the more Google sees this particular site as important and relevant. New sites will have a zero rating because they don’t have any or very few quality inbound links.

Why PageRank is Still Important?

Many people have written in the past about why companies don’t need to worry about PageRank anymore. While PageRank doesn’t have as much power as it did in the past, it’s still relevant because:

  • Google still uses it as one of the many ranking factors to determine a page or websites relevance and importance.
  • Websites that have a preponderance of relevant, quality inbound links are considered to have higher page authority than other websites. Links, however, must be related to the content on the page or site.
  • Sites with higher PageRanks are ranked higher than sites with lower scores. This provides a competitive edge for companies that do have high scores.
  • Lower PageRank scores often mean that a website will have to pay higher fees for running AdWords campaigns, and they may not win as many bids.
  • Websites can still receive penalties if they try to obtain inbound links in ways not sanctioned by Google. The Google Penguin 2.0 algorithm update laid out guidelines for creating inbound links. It eliminated some of the common ways that websites received backlinks, including press releases and paid links.

There are issues with PageRank. For one thing, the system is a bit biased towards Google and Google properties. Sometimes lower-ranking sites will rank higher than high PageRank sites. Oftentimes, this has to do with the lower-ranking sites providing fresh content. Fresh content ranking higher dates back to the Google Caffeine update (which allows fresh content to rank higher than older content). Overall, however, PageRank still has its place, and businesses should continue to be conscious of how it works and how to use it for their benefit.

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