What is PageRank?

PageRank is an algorithm used by Google to determine the importance and relevance of web pages. PageRank aims to rank websites according to their relative significance and relevance by examining their number and quality of inbound connections. It was created by Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. 

PageRank’s core tenet is that a website’s prominence is directly proportional to its number of links. The idea is that it must be important and helpful if many sites point to the same page. In addition, the connected page benefits from the prominence of the pages that are linked to it.

How does PageRank work?

Based on the web’s link structure, PageRank calculates a number between 0 and 10 for every page on the Internet. The higher your PageRank, the more significant and influential you are. The PageRank algorithm is recursive; a page’s rank is calculated by adding up the ranks of all the pages that link to it.

It’s worth noting that Google takes into account a lot more than PageRank when deciding where to place a website in search results. Relevance of information, ease of use, and other quality indicators are also considered.

Several website proprietors and SEO specialists have sought connections from other, more authoritative websites to improve their PageRank.

History of PageRank in SEO

A brief timeline of Google PageRank’s development follows.

    • Larry Page and Sergey Brin released “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine” on April 1, 1998.
    • Larry Page and Sergey Brin filed the first PageRank patent on September 1, 1998. Google was officially involved on September 4, 1998.
    • The Google Toolbar was first released on December 11, 2000.
    • Google’s Reasonable Surfer Patent Application Was Filed On June 17, 2004
    • Google submitted the “Seed sets” patent on October 12, 2006.
    • The company said Google Toolbar was discontinued as of March 8, 2016.

Here is a more in-depth analysis:

PageRank was developed in 1996 at Stanford University by Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. After creating Google Inc. in 1998, Page and Brin used an early version of PageRank in their search engine to categorize results. The first version of PageRank was based on a rather straightforward premise: if a website has many incoming links, it must be an authoritative resource on the topic. For search engine results pages, links have never been more crucial. Within a decade of its debut, Google became one of the world’s most popular search engines because of its innovative use of PageRank to rank web pages.

When the Google Directory debuted on March 15, 2000, Google first made PageRank available to the public. This was like the Open Directory Project, with results based on PageRank. In 2011, on July 25, the directory was taken offline.

On December 11, 2000, Google introduced PageRank to the Google toolbar, the version most SEOs focused on.

One of the first ways that site owners manipulated PageRank was via the sale of links. Site owners would buy and sell backlinks based only on their PageRank in so-called “black hat” SEO link auctions. 

On March 7, 2016, PageRank was eventually taken off of the toolbar after being updated for the last time on December 6, 2013.

The toolbar’s PageRank was somewhat off from what was being used. The PageRank was represented by a simple numeric scale from 0 to 10. But PageRank is a logarithmic scale, so improving your rank takes more work as you go.

On November 17, 2005, PageRank was added to Google Sitemaps, now called Google Search Console. Categories of “high,” “medium,” “low,” and “not applicable” were shown. On October 15, 2009, this function was disabled.

Instead of providing a mechanism for users and budding SEO experts to see how authoritative a site is, Google created a money-making plan for website owners that had nothing to do with the quality of the information they provided. Since then, Google has discontinued the PageRank toolbar and implemented various algorithm improvements, such as the Penguin Update, to make PageRank’s link evaluations more inquisitive and less reliant on raw numbers.

How is PageRank calculated in SEO?

PageRank (PR) is based on the idea that each website on the Internet has a relative significance level, with 0 indicating the least and 10 indicating the greatest. A website’s PageRank is determined by the quality and quantity of links leading to it.

Each vote cast via a link from page A to page B is proportional to the number of other pages that also vote for A. The technique is iterative since we can only know their weight once we compute it.

This is the original PageRank formula in mathematics:


In this case, A, B, C, and D represent some pages, L represents the number of outbound connections from each of these sites, and N represents the total number of pages in the collection (i.e., on the Internet).

We refer to d as the damping factor. We utilize this damping d factor as the possibility of the user growing bored and leaving a website since PageRank is derived by modeling the actions of a randomly visiting, randomly clicking user.

How to use PageRank in SEO?

Although Google’s PageRank methodology is secret, there are numerous basic guidelines and recommended practices you can use to increase your site’s credibility and usefulness, which may benefit your PageRank. Some rules of thumb are as follows:

Valuable information

Make sure the information you provide is of a high enough quality, level of relevance, and interest to your intended audience to keep them reading. Links and better PageRank are more likely to be gained by useful, original, well-written content relevant to users’ search intent.

Backlink portfolio

Create a profile of backlinks that seems natural and varied. Get connections from respected and well-known sites in your field or specialty. Focus on quality rather than quantity since connections from reputable sites are more valuable. Your website’s credibility will improve if you avoid link schemes and paid links.

Internally linking

Establish a reliable internal linking system throughout the whole site. Use informative anchor text to connect related websites. Search engines may learn more about your site’s structure and page hierarchy with internal links.

Social indications

Boost your social media following and get others to share your content to increase your site’s visibility and authority. Social signals don’t directly affect PageRank, but they may indirectly affect your site’s exposure, traffic, and prospective backlinks if you actively use them.

User expertise

Create a pleasant online experience for your site’s visitors. Ensure your site is quick to load, mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, and has prominent calls to action. Websites that are easy to navigate and use often see an increase in traffic, user participation, and organic backlinks, all of which have a good effect on PageRank.

Related SEO glossary terms
301 Redirects Guest Blogging
302-redirect H1 tags
404-page Impressions Ranking Positions
Alt tag Indexing
Anchor text Keyword Clustering
Backlinks Keyword Difficulty
Black hat SEO Meta Description
Bounce Rate Meta Tags
Breadcrumb Navigation No follow Link
Canonical Tag Offpage SEO
Content Hub On Page SEO
Core algorithm updates Orphan Pages
Core Algorithm Updates Page Title
Core Web Vitals PageRank
Crawl Budget Robots.txt
CTR Schema Markup
Do Follow Link Search Engine
Domain rating Search intent
Duplicate page Search volume
External Links SERP
Google Knowledge Graph Sitemap
Google Knowledge Panel Technical SEO
Google Search Console Topic Authority
Google Search Console URL Canonicalization
Google Webmaster Guidelines Web crawler
  Website traffic