What is PageRank and How Can You Use PageRank in Your Link Building?
As Wikipedia has probably already told you that PageRank was named after Larry Page, the co-founder of Google. It may also have told you that it is a ranking scale that takes into account the amount of inbound links that a webpage has, as well as the amount of outbound links there are coming from the webpage. From this, a webpage’s PageRank is determined. The PageRank equation can be expressed as shown below:
This equation basically shows that when another webpage links back to the webpage in question (u), that page’s total PageRank is divided by the total number of outbound links on the page. This is then the amount of PageRank that is transferred over to page ‘u’ (often reffered to as ‘link juice’). The equation then gets the sum of all of the PageRank that is being transferred to page ‘u’ from the set of webpages that link to it (Bu). This then makes up the total PageRank for the webpage ‘u’.
Hopefully that hasn’t confused you too much because, in essence, it is a fairly simple idea, however; PageRank isn’t the ‘be all and end all’ of link building. Not only that but Google keeps these figures very closely hidden, so it is extremely hard to find out your exact PageRank. Google does, however, periodically post an inkling into what kind of PageRank a webpage as through the Google Toolbar PageRank (TBPR), which is ranked between 1 and 10 (10 being the best).
Google’s Toolbar PageRank
There are many other factors that will effect the types of linking that will benefit your SEO but Google’s Toolbar PageRank (TBPR) is a good benchmark for determining who to target during your link building campaign.
Using PageRank in your Link Building Strategy
One way in which we use Toolbar PageRank here at Wow Internet is to determine how much ‘link juice’ we are going to get from obtaining a link from any given webpage. For example, we will always post content through social media routes to get some extra links to the webpages of our clients, however, we know that in reality, this isn’t going to drastically improve our Toolbar PageRank. The reason for this is that although the likes of Facebook and Twitter have incredible TBPR scores (around 9), they have huge amounts of outbound links, (billions, in fact) therefore the PR that actually gets handed over to another webpage from these websites are so diluted that they have very little effect.
On the other hand, we can look at another type of website with a high Toolbar PageRank score, for example, the University of Birmingham’s ‘Partners’ webpage has a score of PR6, which is a very good score. Not only this but there are only 18 external links going away from this page which means that each of those links are transferring a high quality amount of PageRank. This is the kind of webpage that we would maybe target to get a link from if we had say, a local non-profit organisation within Birmingham as one of our clients.
This is a just a primitive example of how Google’s Toolbar PageRank can be used and it is often best used when you have targeted a sample of different webpages and want to be a bit more specific and effective in the websites that you target for building links. As well as this, it allows you to focus more specifically on certain webpages and areas of the chosen website to target that could provide the most amount of ‘link juice’.
Final Thoughts on PageRank
Remember, the TBPR score is not the only thing to look at when targeting a web page for link building as there are many other different factors out there that will affect your SEO. Also, the TBPR score is not always completely up-to-date as Google only periodically updates this figure. As well as this, the likes of social media links that do not carry over much link juice will still provide some extra visitors to your website and can be shared by many other social media users which will give some further links to your website at no extra effort to you.
Using TBPR scores are just a nice little way of getting a better understanding of the power of a single link back to your webpage.