Google Page Rank

Can someone explain to me what Google Page Rank is all about? Apparently my site recently went down a point from a pagerank of 6 to 5. I guess a 5 is still good, but in the grand scheme of things, I don’t get what that means at all.

Apart from ego stroking, what does a high pagerank give someone? It’s certainly not a reflection of popularity. My blog gets much less traffic than other equal-to-lower ranked sites. Maybe it gets me more google search hits (ie, my blog appears earlier in search results), but if so, that would make my daily numbers even less legitimate, since my hits would be coming from unbalanced Google traffic.

Even if all that is the case, why would my site have a high rank? Google Alerts assures me no one is talking about me. I’m not famous. I don’t have pictures of nekkid ladies. I don’t even have good cookie recipes.

So my question, not complaint, is what is the pagerank all about, and why is mine 5 instead of 2?

13 thoughts on “Google Page Rank

  1. I think that page ranking algorithm is kind of a secret sauce recipe.

    Still, a five is made of awesome. I did some checking, and it’s up there with some big name bloggers – Scalzi’s old blog, Penelope Trunk, Jay Lake, Paperback Writer.

    I rate a 3, as do many of the UCF types.

    One of the things that page rank does for you is determine your placement in search term results against other sites, and I’ve always been quite happy with mine.

  2. Shawn, a good overview of PageRank can be found on Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank. Yes, it’s trustworthy. But warning – it involves math.

    Basically, PageRank is a measure of the relative importance of a page when compared to other pages given a specific set of search terms. This is done primarily, but not exclusively, by determining the number of links to a page and the weight of those incoming links. Weight is determined in part by the PageRank of the links, in part by how relevant to the page the incoming links are (if the page is about bunnies and the incoming link comes from a page about dogs, less weight; if it comes from a page about rabbits, more weight), and secret patent sauce no one but Google and perhaps Stanford University knows.

    PageRank is just part of how Google determines the popularity of a site, and therefore how it should rank. And the PageRank given in the Google toolbar is mostly useless, so just ignore it.

    By the way, a major part of what I do for a living involves search engine optimization, so i’m, like, sort of an expert on this.

  3. Vince: Cool. So, why am I a 5? Based on other “5” blogs, I’m totally not worthy.

    And that I was a 6 several months back completely befuddles me. Again, not complaining, just totally confused. Maybe because I put a link to my site from my Linux Journal signature file? That must be it, I can’t imagine anything else that would do it.

  4. Determining why you are a 5 would require a fair amount of research. As far as why the change, PageRank changes for various reasons – updates of the algorithm, other pages making changes that makes them appear to be better or worse than you, new sites, sites dropped from the index, hiccups in the algorithm (seriously), a suddenly popular post, and for no reason any outsider can tell.

  5. I think maybe your five has a lot to do with your big Digg spike – that huge traffic hit that day pushes your average up quite a bit.

    But I don’t do this for a living, have just read and dabbled a bit.

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