How PageRank Is Calculated

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There has been a lot written and a lot debated about Google’s PageRank, but on one point there is near unanimous agreement.  PageRank is primarily determined by how many other web pages are linking into you.  Google considers this kind of inbound a link a vote of confidence.    But, here’s the trick:  Not all inbound links are created equal.  Web pages with more credibility that link to you have more “value” to your PageRank than those with less credibility.  How is this credibility determined?  Why, by their PageRank, of course!  So, let’s take an example.  Lets say you have your Uncle Charlie link to you from his blog to your small business website.  Let’s also say that Uncle Charlie’s blog has a Page Rank of 3 (this is being a little generous because all Uncle Charlie writes about is his dog Sparky and he has limited inbound links).  This link from Uncle Charlie will certainly help you – a little bit.  It will help you more if you can find 100 such Uncle Charlie websites with a PageRank of 3 and get them to link to you.  

However, if you get a single link from HubSpot.com (the sponsor of this blog), it’ll help you more than a 100 Uncle Charlie websites.  Why?  Because HubSpot.com has a PageRank of 6 and a link from it is much more valuable.  I divide up PageRank into these broad categories:

0-3:  New sites or sites with very minimal links
4-5:  Popular sites with a fair amount of inbound links
6:  Very popular sites that have hundreds of links, many of them quality links
7-10:  Usually media brands (NYTimes.com), big companies or A-list bloggers.

Now, it’s important to note that PageRank is believed to be calculated on a logarithmic scale.  What this roughly means is that the difference between PR4 and PR5 is likely 5-10 times than the difference between PR3 and PR4.  So, there are likely  over a 100 times as many web pages with a PageRank of 2 than there are with a PageRank of 4.   This means that if you get to a PageRank of 6 or so, you’re likely well into the top 0.1% of all websites out there.  If most of your peer group is straggling around with a PR2 or PR3, you’re way ahead of the game.