How to Increase Your Google PageRank to 5 is a question many have asked themselves as Google PageRank is important to a website for a gaggle of reasons ( e.g. higher search result rankings for competitive keywords). At the end of July 2011, our movie website increased to a Google PageRank of 5. It took over three years to get to that point. Getting to that point was arduous, think Frodo Baggins going from The Shire to Mount Doom. When I first started out, I read many articles on PageRank and how that effected the status of your website. I have learned many things in increasing my movie website’s Google PageRank to 5 and would like to share them with you so that one day you can celebrate that milestone in your website’s existence.
What is PageRank?
Before we discuss methodology, lets discuss what PageRank is first so that you get an idea how it effects your website.
PageRank was developed at Stanford University by Larry Page (hence the name Page-Rank) and Sergey Brin as part of a research project about a new kind of search engine. Sergey Brin had the idea that information on the web could be ordered in a hierarchy by “link popularity”: a page is ranked higher as there are more links to it. It was co-authored by Rajeev Motwani and Terry Winograd. The first paper about the project, describing PageRank and the initial prototype of the Google search engine, was published in 1998: shortly after, Page and Brin founded Google Inc., the company behind the Google search engine. While just one of many factors that determine the ranking of Google search results, PageRank continues to provide the basis for all of Google’s web search tools.
PageRank is a numeric value that represents how important a page is on the web. Google figures that when one page links to another page, it is effectively casting a vote for the other page. The more votes that are cast for a page, the more important the page must be. Also, the importance of the page that is casting the vote determines how important the vote itself is. Google calculates a page’s importance from the votes cast for it. How important each vote is is taken into account when a page’s PageRank is calculated.
PageRank is Google’s way of deciding a page’s importance. It matters because it is one of the factors that determines a page’s ranking in the search results. It isn’t the only factor that Google uses to rank pages, but it is an important one.
Google PageRank Graph
A page’s PageRank, in other words, is a nod in its favor from all the pertinent back-links it receives.
PageRank as a quality indicator, for and against:
PageRank could be a good quality indicator assuming that most people link to valuable content and nobody links to useless pages. However paid links, mandatory links for providing software or services, link spamming and other means can persuade or force webmasters to link, at least temporarily, to any content. Spam filtering that is applied as a countermeasure is not directly tied to the website value that only human expert can estimate. As a result, PageRank is not necessarily a good indicator of the quality or value of the website. Along with the PageRank, Google uses over 200 other methods to optimize the search results.
How Google currently describes PageRank
PageRank reflects our view of the importance of web pages by considering more than 500 million variables and 2 billion terms. Pages that we believe are important pages receive a higher PageRank and are more likely to appear at the top of the search results.
PageRank also considers the importance of each page that casts a vote, as votes from some pages are considered to have greater value, thus giving the linked page greater value. We have always taken a pragmatic approach to help improve search quality and create useful products, and our technology uses the collective intelligence of the web to determine a page’s importance.
How PageRank is calculated
To calculate the PageRank for a page, all of its inbound links are taken into account. These are links from within the site and links from outside the site.
PR(A) = (1-d) + d(PR(t1)/C(t1) + … + PR(tn)/C(tn))
That’s the equation that calculates a page’s PageRank. It’s the original one that was published when PageRank was being developed, and it is probable that Google uses a variation of it but they aren’t telling us what it is. It doesn’t matter though, as this equation is good enough.
In the equation ‘t1 – tn’ are pages linking to page A, ‘C’ is the number of outbound links that a page has and ‘d’ is a damping factor, usually set to 0.85.
We can think of it in a simpler way:-
a page’s PageRank = 0.15 + 0.85 * (a “share” of the PageRank of every page that links to it)
“share” = the linking page’s PageRank divided by the number of outbound links on the page.
A page “votes” an amount of PageRank onto each page that it links to. The amount of PageRank that it has to vote with is a little less than its own PageRank value (its own value * 0.85). This value is shared equally between all the pages that it links to.
From this, we could conclude that a link from a page with PR4 and 5 outbound links is worth more than a link from a page with PR8 and 100 outbound links. The PageRank of a page that links to yours is important but the number of links on that page is also important. The more links there are on a page, the less PageRank value your page will receive from it.
As you learned from above, a “vote” or a back-link is as important as how many other back-links are on that page linking to you.
Our Road to a PageRank of 5
When I first started out I read about back-links and went about trying to collect some.
Remember when I spoke of Getting Movie Studios to Pay to Advertise on your Website. Apply some of that information to getting a fellow movie website to want to back-link to you i.e. how attractive are you in that regard? Is your content that good, that compelling? What are they getting out of back-linking to you?
I did get a few though, mostly from movie websites that were just starting out as well but I figured “a back-link is better than no back-link. At least it is from a site in the same field.”
I added our movie website to multiple movie website directories and added their badges to our website, mostly in the footer. Adding our movie website to movie website directories was done in an effort to generate home page traffic. It was a worthless endeavor. Little to no traffic was received from them.
I began commenting on sites with a far greater pagerank than my own that I saw with blogrolls (the use of blogrolls is written about here: A BlogRoll: Should You have One?) and would eventually ask to be added to theirs. This was hit or miss as well.
When I read that home page back-links were the most valuable (that is why some advertisers pay for home page text links), I began asking for links on that page as well. I made some mistakes in that regard. Without even introducing myself through fervent post comments or through other means, I just emailed them and asked. Most didn’t even respond to my email. I was a stranger asking for a hand-out.
The Constant Gardener
With that in mind I did it the long, hard way. Having a PageRank of 3 I cultivated the favor of movie webmasters with a PageRank of 5 through constant, elongated comments and commentary on their posts, quickly garnering their attention. I got more than a few “Wow”s from the authors at the size/length of my comments. Basically, I paid my dues BEFORE asking for a back-link plus I liked the content of those sites. The comments were laborious but talking about my thoughts on film was not. It paid off. They added my site to their home page blogroll with no qualms.
I was also constantly reading about search engine optimization (SEO) and how to optimize my posts and site for spidering, ranking, and search engine visibility and applied what I learned to my site and the posts housed within it. All of these factors contributed to our movie website being upped from a PageRank of 3 to 4 over a year and a half ago, maybe two years ago and then to 5 two months ago.
The Method Breakdown
A break down of the individual methodology I used will be shared in How to Increase Your Google PageRank to 5: Part 2.
Until then, a question for discussion:
- What PageRank is your website currently at and how did you get it there?
Please feel free to share this information below.