Googles PR System Explained


The complexities of Google's PR (Page Ranking) System have grown more difficult to understand since the Hilltop Algorithm was introduced. This beginner's guide to the PR system explains the basics of what PR is, what it does, and how it affects your site's rankings. This revolutionary search algorithm has made it to where the most relevant and popular sites with the best content do the best on Google's search page. Keep in mind, this algorithm is kept secret by Google for fear of it being exploited, but the basics have been released for study.

In a nutshell, Google's Page Ranking is a system devised to rank pages based on their content and popularity and place them accordingly within the search results based on their relevance to the general topic. Or, in laymen's terms, it's a system to make sure sites are put where they need to be, both in search results and in rankings. A site dealing with pet care is not going to be listed in the top 10 when searching for "web design," but depending on its content and popularity it could be well towards the top of the list on "pet medicine" or "sick dog."

PR is on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the highest ranking possible. Of course, only a very few sites have a PR 10 or even a PR 9 for that matter. PR 7 and PR 8 sites are considered very good sites, with lots of original, relevant content and a great deal of inbound links. You will usually find sites with a high PR at the top of the list under Google's search engine, and many others, since relevant content and lots of links is almost a prerequisite for being placed high in any of the major search engines on any of the major keywords.

PR "Spread"

PR is set up to "pass on" from one site to another, or one page to another if it is within your own site. As the PR "spreads" throughout your site, you will get less and less utility from it. A link from a PR 5 site to your main page will give you a PR 4 link to your main page. Since your main page will be linked to other pages within your site, any links on your front page (up to 100 pages) will then receive a PR 3 link from your main page. It continues to trickle down, exponentially losing power until it peters out.

Keep in mind, however, that depending on what page linked to you, and how many links were on that page in the first place, your PR could be significantly lower than expected. If a PR 5 page links to your site, but has 300 other links on that single page, you may get anywhere from 0 to 4 PR. Thus it is beneficial to have a limited number of links on your main pages, due to the smaller amount of PR being passed down with the more links it is being passed to. Overall, a small, concise site with lots of inbound links and few outbound links would be the ideal "PR trap," although relevant, original content is needed as well.

PR's Effect on Rankings

The effects of PR are plainly viewable to anybody with the Google Toolbar. Simply search for a keyword, and look at the PR rating of the top 10 sites. The highest PR will usually be on the top of the list, depending on content. If a PR 8, however, has a keyword that does not match their content, they will most likely be ranked lower than a PR 6 on the same keyword with more relevant content on the subject matter. A site with high, relevant, and original content, along with matching keywords and a multitude of links from related sites, will place extremely high on searches containing their keywords. A site with old content that is not updated often with links from non-related sites and keywords that do not relate directly to their content, on the other hand will probably not show up within the top 100 sites on the same search.

So basically, PR is what drives listings on the Google Search Engine. How to optimize your site to take advantage of this system, however is the real challenge.

Utilizing PR

To make proper use of the PR system, many different things must be done to assure your website is "acceptable" within their guidelines. Basically, making your site more relevant to your topic will have a great effect on your PR ranking, especially if you are "popular" among those sites, or have many links coming from related sites. Each site on the internet has a Page Rank, assigned by Google, based on their content and popularity. To view the page rank of each site, download the Google Toolbar from their site. It will automatically show you the rank of the page you're on with a small counter on your task bar.

Now, obviously a "good" site links to you, it will have a better effect on your website's popularity. Say, for example, a PR 3 website puts a link on their links page to your main page. That link will be considered a PR 2 link to your site (PR - 1), giving you a PR of 2 on your main page. If, however, a PR 0 site adds a link to your site, there is almost no change. A link from a grayed-out site, which means they have a negative PR, will actually be a detriment to your PR, as they have been deemed a site not relevant to anything (or relevant, but banned) by Google. Of course, a link from a PR 7 site to your own will be drastically more effective in boosting your PR than even 20 PR 3 links would.

Getting Good Links

One of the most important things to remember about getting a high PR ranking is to get links from "good" sites. These include sites that are directly related to your own site in some way, and preferably sites with a high PR of their own. Good examples include award pages and directory listings. With relevant links coming from related sites with a high PR, your site will not only gain PR fast, but will gain in real popularity. High PR sites traditionally have high traffic due to their link volume and content. If there is a link to you, it is a sign that you have a good site on a related topic with good content as well, attracting visitors who didn't find exactly what they wanted. More visitors means more PR, which in turn gets you more visitors. You can see how important good links can be.

Try to steer away from sites with unrelated topics, as these will probably not help much, if any with your traffic, and may actually bring a penalty to your PR. Other sites to steer away from when trying to work up your PR would be FFAs, or Free For All link programs. These sites allow browsers to enter their link into a huge list (sometimes of thousands of other sites). Usually you will find that these sites have been "grayed out," or given a negative PR effect by Google, bringing your PR down if you have a link from them.

Doorway pages are another thing to avoid. These are shorter, shallow sites that are created simply for putting as many keywords and links as possible on their pages in order to "farm" PR for higher rankings on Google. These, in general, once they are found are "grayed out," as well as sites they link to. Enough links from these will assure that your site will not show up on Google's search at all.

Getting Good Content

Good, original content is not as hard to obtain as some might think. By writing articles for your site you can provide pages of completely relevant and unique content, as long as the articles are on subject. A few articles will give you plenty of original content to get a fairly good "relevance rating" with Google, which contributes to your PR rating, and it will not trigger the dreaded "duplicate content" tag that will doom your site to obscurity.

In addition, if you can get enough relevant content together, you can eventually become recognized as an "expert" in the field. With that status, you will get enough traffic to boost your PR even more. People are always in need of information, and if you provide good enough information, you will find yourself getting links from all over the internet.

PR in a Nutshell - An Overview

Basically, with enough unique content and relevant links, you can have a high PR site and be ready to take on the internet. Overall, things to keep in mind are to stay consistent with your main topic, both in links and in your content, and stay away from the "no-no" sites mentioned above. If you can do these things, you can gain a high PR and a good ranking with Google in a relatively short period of time.

You can see other articles by Claude Beavers on this topic at: SuperFaster.com - Free Web Promotion Articles and Resources

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