The alternative SEO rank tracker

Pagerank: What is it and how is it measured?

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SEO positioning in Google is essential for companies to gain visibility on the network and generate new conversions thanks to the increase in their website traffic. To measure the importance of each website within the Google algorithm, the company incorporated into it a function, called PageRank, in 1999, which we will develop below to understand its importance in terms of positioning.

Table of content

What is PageRank?

Like any Google algorithm, PageRank (PR) has evolved year after year and has included new features that improve its results. In the beginning, it began by measuring the importance of a website based on its quality and quantity and has been including more variables that guarantee a more precise classification. Simply put, PageRank gives a score from 0 to 10 to all web pages that are linked on Google.

This score, the higher it is, the more likely our website will be to get a good position and appear higher when searches are carried out. Later we will delve into the calculation of this indicator, but we know that Google takes several factors as a reference when giving a score:

In addition, there are several things that can increase or decrease our PageRank to take into account. If the web pages that link us have a high PR, it will positively affect ours, since the authority will be greater. It is also important to note that each page, individually, has a unique PR assigned, which will take into account both quality and quantity, so it is not worth trying to get lots of easy links.

The links that come from penalized or non-indexed pages will not affect your PR, since Google only takes into account those links that it knows. Also, you should know that, as you scale points from 0 to 10, it will be much more difficult to get to the next one, since it works through a logarithmic scale. Although a good PR is not a sure guarantee of good positioning, as many different factors influence, it is a great help to achieve it.

PageRank history

Con la creación de este algoritmo, la intención principal de Google fue la de medir y clasificar las páginas web en función de su calidad e importancia, con el fin de atribuirles un posicionamiento justo y adecuado. Esta idea se inspiró en el Science Citation Index (SCI), desarrollado por Eugene Garfield en los años 60, que se encargaba de medir y clasificar la importancia de las publicaciones científicas en función de su influencia.

El algoritmo de PageRank tiene una base muy similar, ya que el valor de las páginas web se mide en función de factores como la calidad y el impacto de sus enlaces. Esto quiere decir que obtener una mayor puntuación en el PageRank no se consigue únicamente a través de proporcionar muchos enlaces, sino que influyen muchas variables distintas en ello. Su nombre inicial fue Backrub, pero se modificó a PageRank como un homenaje a uno de los cofundadores de la empresa, Larry Page.

Why did Google remove the public PageRank score?

In the beginning, this metric was totally public, and anyone could check the PR of the pages they visited thanks to it. As time went by, it became popular, and more and more people and companies began to pay more attention to it, reaching a point where they gave more importance to the PR of their website than to other very important factors within SEO.

This importance, in many cases, became an obsession, and a link-selling economy arose where some websites charged for linking, within their content, to other pages, and thus improving the PR of these. It also markedly increased spam, since the only objective was to immediately get the highest possible PR without working it organically.

For these reasons, Google was aware of the big problem it was facing and began to take action. In the first place, Google Chrome stopped including the possibility of consulting the PR in its toolbar, to finish eliminating its advertising in any browser a little later, in 2012. Despite the fact that this score continues to grow and impact the positioning of any page, the elimination of its advertising has ended against that continuous fight to raise the score ignoring the quality of the content.

Today's PageRank

From what we have seen in the previous section, the PageRank of a website can no longer be publicly consulted, so we cannot consider it as one more metric to control the SEO of our website. It is true that there are some ways to improve this score, as we will see below, and although we can no longer control it, we will never have guarantees that our predictions are true or not.

How to measure the PageRank of a URL or a domain

Until quite recently, there were some platforms that allowed us to check the PR rating that Google gave our website. However, the company has completely stopped making the updated data of this metric public, so there is no guarantee of any kind in order to obtain a value that represents reality. This does not mean that the PR is no longer in Google’s algorithm, but that it continues to work without offering us its results.

In addition, as the years go by, Google is used to updating and including new features in the formulas that its algorithms use, so we will not have a safe way that allows us to calculate the PR. This only means one thing: we should not be obsessed with raising the score drastically, since we have seen that quantity can harm us if the quality is bad. We have to take care of the most important aspects of our website so that, in the long term, it is recognized as a quality site and the positioning is good and stable.

How to increase your PageRank

Unfortunately, we have already seen that we cannot calculate our PR accurately, since the advertising of this metric died out many years ago. However, there are factors that, undoubtedly, we must take into account if we want the score to be the highest possible, and have a positive impact on our positioning. First of all, the quality of the links is essential, so we must try to ensure that the pages that include links to our website are highly valued.

This is not an easy task, so the thought must be medium and long term, and we must forget about getting immediate results. It is unfeasible that, in order to get a good PR, we try to obtain massive links through methods such as spamming, since Google will penalize us and the result will be much worse. In general, terms, if we want to improve our PR, we should do the following:

  • Work well the social networks, with a clear strategy and continuity over time, giving an image of professionalism that allows us to obtain collaborations and contact with recognized people in the sector or influencers.
  • Design a content strategy of high quality on our website, causing prestigious sites to be interested in us and generate good links.
  • Make contact with potential collaborators directly, either by phone, via email, or, if possible, in person, so that the relationship is better and have a better chance of getting links.
  • Contact with potential collaborators directly, either by phone, via email or, if possible, in person, so that the relationship is better and has a better chance of getting links.
  • Colaborar con webs y blogs expertos que pertenezcan el mismo sector, añadiendo valor al contenido.

Alternatives to PageRank scoring

Although no metric will be able to calculate the exact values obtained by Google’s, there are several alternatives that we can use to get an idea of how well or poorly we are managing the quality of links on our website:

  1. Ahrefs Rating. It has a global ranking that, in addition to indicating through a score the quality of our positioning, also shows us other relevant information in order to optimize our website, analyze competitors and perform benchmarking.
  2. Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) of MOZ. These are the two metrics that can most closely resemble Google’s PR, which are calculated on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 100 based on factors such as age, popularity and link quality.
  3. Majestic’s Trust Flow (TF) and Citation Flow (CF). They are two different metrics, the TF measures the links coming from high-ranking sites and the CF the number of citations to our domain. If we have a high CF and low TF, it means that most of the links are coming from spam or low-quality sites.
The PageRank was one of the most important SEO positioning metrics in recent years. Although its results are no longer public, we cannot forget its existence within Google’s algorithm, being very important to maintain the quality of the links to improve our score.