If you’ve been in the SEO field for a while, you may remember the days when you worked hard to increase the PageRank of websites – it was the metric that every SEO was important and wanted to improve .
Improving PageRank meant increasing your authority (usually with backlinks) which in turn could lead to higher rankings and more traffic.
But what happened to the PageRank? It is rarely talked about anymore.
Believe it or not, PageRank is still used as a ranking signal for Google, even if you haven’t heard it in a while. Here’s what you need to know about Google PageRank in 2021.
What is Google PageRank?
Google PageRank is a very complex concept, but we’ll try to break it down to make it easy to understand.
PageRank uses a mathematical formula to rank the value of a page based on the quality and quantity of the pages linked to it.
The PageRank formula examines the number of inbound links, external links, and the PageRank of those links to determine authority. The formula creates a score using a logarithmic scale with values in the range of 0-10.
The higher the PageRank score of a page, the more relevant this page is.
You can read more about the PageRank formula in the original paper published in 1997.
The PageRank toolbar
Years ago there was a toolbar that could show you the PageRank of any webpage you visited.
Unfortunately the toolbar is has been removed by Google in 2016 – and the secret of what your PageRank has been ever since.
The problem with the toolbar was that it created an obsession and led many SEOs to find ways to manipulate it.
In essence, the Google team realized that publishing this score would add little value to website owners and decided to stop investing in it.
Is Google still using PageRank?
Yes, Google continues to use PageRank.
While it may not be a metric that website owners have access to, it is still used in their algorithms.
A tweet from John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, confirms that PageRank is still being used as a ranking signal.
Yes, we use PageRank internally alongside many, many other signals. It’s not quite the same as the original paper, there are a lot of quirks (e.g. rejected links, ignored links, etc) and again we use a lot of other signals that can be much stronger.
– 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) February 24, 2020
How important is PageRank?
There is no clear measure of how important PageRank is. Since there are over 200 Google ranking factors, they do not provide any data on the importance of each individual factor.
But we know that Backlinks play a very big role in SEO success. So it’s safe to assume that PageRank still plays a role in how high your pages rank.
Spending time improving your PageRank probably isn’t the best time. But building relevant and authoritative backlinks to your website is an undeniably effective SEO strategy and will likely improve your PageRank.
You may not see improvement as a metric, but you will see it in your organic traffic.
What influences the Google PageRank?
There are a few factors you should know that can have a positive effect on your PageRank. Now let’s dive into some of them.
The primary way to improve your PageRank is through backlinks. The more relevant websites that link to you with high authority – the higher your PageRank.
Here are a few ways to build valuable backlinks:
- Build relationships with influencers and community members in your niche.
- Create original infographics, webinars, videos, and other creative elements that website owners will encourage to share and link to your post.
- Participate in forums and communities related to your niche.
- Share your content on social networks – mark relevant people if they are part of your content so that they can share it too.
- Create Amazing Content!
Building backlinks is one of the best ways to grow your website, but it needs to be done right. Be authentic, don’t spam groups or communities, and most importantly – create content that people can engage with.
You also want to be sure that you’ve cleaned up any bad backlinks. You can find more information about disavowing links here.
Getting links from directories or pages with many links is not that beneficial for improving PageRank. Every link on a page will dilute the value of your link, so directory-type links can be valuable in other ways but are not of much help in improving RageRank.
2. Internal linking
One of the most underrated SEO tactics is internal linking. By using internal links to convey PageRank from one page to another, you can have a huge impact on your rank and traffic.
As an example – your homepage usually has the highest PageRank based on the number of websites that link to it.
Any link from your home page to another page on your website increases the authority of the page being linked to.
Also, consider using an SEO tool to identify high authority pages within your website and add links from those pages to lower authority pages (if relevant) to bolster your pages.
A quick trick is to look at your Google Analytics – usually the pages with the most organic traffic are the pages with the highest authority. So you can use these pages to create internal links to less authoritative pages to give them a quick boost as long as the links are relevant to the content of the page.
3. External linking
One of the biggest myths I can remember about external links is that linking your content can lower that page’s PageRank.
That is not true. Remember that the whole premise behind PageRank are links.
The number of links on a page can affect the “value” of that link to the linked page, but it does not harm your own. Whenever you find a resource that will be helpful to your viewers, be sure to include a link to that resource.
A Study conducted by Reboot showed that there was a positive correlation between the rankings and a page’s outbound links.
How to check your PageRank
Unfortunately, you have no way of knowing exactly what your PageRank is.
There are some websites that claim to give you your PageRank, but these are not verified tools so there is no evidence that they provide accurate data.
Other tools – like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz – all created their own version of numeric values that were supposed to replicate the PageRank score.
For example, SEMRush has what is called an “Authority Score” which is a numeric value that can signal how helpful a backlink from a website can be. This rating is based on the following points:
- Monthly traffic on a website
- Average keyword position
- Backlink data
But Google doesn’t use these values in its ranking algorithm. While you can use them as a guide to understanding your website authority, they are not a substitute for PageRank.
While most SEOs don’t care much about PageRank anymore and don’t try to optimize for it, it is still worth understanding. Ultimately, your PageRank will thank you as you work on building backlinks, improving your internal linking, and using authoritative external links.