Each “follow” link to a page is counted by Google as a vote of support. The number of links to the page tells its importance. One of the ways to measure a page's importance by Google Search is by determining its PageRank.

PageRank is a measure of the page’s importance within the set of linked pages. An algorithm used for determining the PageRank assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents on the World Wide Web.

In the algorithm of PageRank calculation, links from all pages are not counted equally. If page A has links from pages T1, ..., Tn, the PageRank of page A was originally defined by the function1:

PageRank algorithm

For example, there are three pages that are linked in this way:

An example of the pagerank calculation

Theoretically, we can calculate the PageRank for each of those pages:

PR (A) = (1 – d) + d [PR(C) / C(C)] = 0.15 + 0.85 PR(C);
PR (B) = (1 – d) + d [PR(A) / C(A)] = 0.15 + 0.85 (PR(A) / 2);
PR (C) = (1 – d) + d [PR(A) / C(A) + PR(B) / C(B)] = 0.15 + 0.85 (PR(A) / 2 + PR(B)).
But, we don’t know what the PageRank should be used to begin the calculation. We only know that “PageRanks form a probability distribution over web pages, so the sum of all web pages’ PageRanks will be one.”1

We also know that the more pages linked to a particular page, the higher PageRank this page has. A page can have a high PageRank if there are many pages pointing to it or there are some pages with a high PageRank point to it. It is because, with a “follow” link to your page from another page, some of its PageRank importance is transmitted to your page.

An example of the page importance

Google counts the PageRank to know what pages are the most important and combines PageRank with other techniques to find pages on the Web that are both important and relevant to the user’s search queries. “We assess the importance of every web page using more than 200 signals and a variety of techniques, including our patented PageRank™ algorithm, which analyzes which sites have been “voted” to be the best sources of information by other pages across the web.”2

The PageRank you see in the Google Toolbar, an Internet browser toolbar for Internet Explorer4, is not calculated by using the PageRank™ algorithm. Google has divided all actual PageRanks into 10 parts each of which is represented in the toolbar by a part of the rectangle colored in green. Google in its toolbar only shows the part of the overall range the page's PageRank is in, and not the actual page's PageRank. The higher number of the part, the bigger piece of the rectangle has green color.

An example of the Google Internet Explorer Toolbar

A similar PageRank tool button is present in Google Chrome:

An example of the Chrome SEO Toolbar

If you have the Google toolbar installed in your browser, you will see PageRank for each page as you browse the web. And all the time, a number on the tool button will be just an indicator that only shows that a current page is in a certain range of the overall scale. For example, the number 3 will tell that the current webpage is in the section between PageRank 3 and PageRank 4.

Some notes about PageRank:

When one page links to another page, it “votes” for another page.

In other words, your page gives another page some amount of rank credits.

The more pages your website has the better.

The more pages your website has the more "votes" some of your pages might have. 

PageRank is a numeric value that indicates how important a page is on the Web.

You should sculpt your PageRank to the TOP pages.

You should build your website in such a way that your TOP pages will receive the most rank credits from all other pages on your website.

PageRank is only one of many factors used to determine the page’s search ranking.

In its philosophy, Google tells that it is using more than 200 different signals for determining the page's search ranking, and PageRank is only one of them.

PageRank is never known exactly.

PageRank says nothing about the content and size of the page, the language it is written in, and the text used in the anchors of links.

The page's PageRank only shows "votes" of support by other pages on the Web.

High PageRank doesn’t guarantee a high search ranking for any particular term.

Otherwise, websites with the highest PageRanks such as Adobe, Google, or Wikipedia would always be shown in search results for any user's search.

The link's anchor text might be more important than the page's PageRank.

If your page has an external link to a page on another website, your page “votes” for that page, consequently, giving some rank credits to another website.

If you don't want your page gives ranking credits to another website, you should add to your <a> tag the rel="nofollow" attribute.


1. “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine” Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page. 8 November 2015 < >
2. “Ten things we know to be true” Google Company. 10 November 2015 < >
3. “The PageRank Citation Ranking: Bringing Order to the Web” 29 January 1998. 10 November 2015. < >
4. “Toolbar Help” Google. 2015. 10 November 2015. < >
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