PageRank is a link analysis algorithm and it assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents, such as the World Wide Web, with the purpose of "measuring" its relative importance within the set. The algorithm may be applied to any collection of entities with reciprocal quotations and references. The numerical weight that it assigns to any given element E is referred to as the PageRank of E and denoted by {\displaystyle PR(E).} Other factors like Author Rank can contribute to the importance of an entity.
Matt, this is an excellent summary. I finally got around to reading “The Search” by John Battelle and it was very enlightening to understand much of the academia behind what led to the creation of Backrub.. er Google.Looking at how many times the project was almost shutdown due to bandwidth consumption (> 50% of what the university could offer at times) as well as webmasters being concerned that their pages would be stolen and recreated. It’s so interesting to see that issues we see today are some of the same ones that Larry and Sergey were dealing with back then. As always, thanks for the great read Matt!
Google can’t like this. Although its great for them to have spammers out of the Wikipedias, they’re also losing a lot of very authorative input for their PR algorithm. Think about it – if every site in the world put nofollow on every link Google’s algorithm would be worthless overnight. There has been ongoing speculation as to whether or not Google ignores nofollows from certain sites like Wikipedia, something Mr Cutts has outrightly denied (but also admitted that it would be very useful to have more granular control over nofollow so that it was not an all-or-nothing situation.)

Mathematical PageRanks for a simple network, expressed as percentages. (Google uses a logarithmic scale.) Page C has a higher PageRank than Page E, even though there are fewer links to C; the one link to C comes from an important page and hence is of high value. If web surfers who start on a random page have an 85% likelihood of choosing a random link from the page they are currently visiting, and a 15% likelihood of jumping to a page chosen at random from the entire web, they will reach Page E 8.1% of the time. (The 15% likelihood of jumping to an arbitrary page corresponds to a damping factor of 85%.) Without damping, all web surfers would eventually end up on Pages A, B, or C, and all other pages would have PageRank zero. In the presence of damping, Page A effectively links to all pages in the web, even though it has no outgoing links of its own.

PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at considerably more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; for example, it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.” Using these and other factors, Google provides its views on pages’ relative importance.


Say I have an article on a blog with 5 links in the editorial copy — some of those links leading back to other content within the blog that I hope to do well. Then I get 35 comments on the article, with each comment having a link back to the commenters’ sites. That’s 40 links in all. Let’s say this particular page has $20 in PageRank to spend. Each link gets 50 cents.
I think that removing the link to the sitemap shouldn’t be a big problem for the navigation, but I wonder what happens with the disclaimer and the contact page? If nofollow doesn’t sink the linked page, how can we tell the search engine that these are not content pages. For some websites these are some of the most linked pages. And yes for some the contact page is worth gaining rank, but for my website is not.
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In the page, the text “Post Modern Marketing” is a link that points to the homepage of our website, www.postmm.com. That link is an outgoing link for Forbes, but for our website it is an incoming link, or backlink. Usually, the links are styled differently than the rest of the page text, for easy identification. Often they'll be a different color, underlined, or accompany an icon - all these indicate that if you click, you can visit the page the text is referencing.

Using ‘nofollow’ on untrusted (or unknown trust) outbound links is sensible and I think that in general this is a good idea. Like wise using it on paid links is cool (the fact that all those people are now going to have to change from JavaScript to this method is another story…). I also believe that using ‘nofollow’ on ‘perfunctory’ pages is also good. How many times in the past did you search for your company name and get you home page at number one and your ‘legals’ page at number two. Now, I know that Google changed some things and now this is less prominent, but it still happens. As much as you say that these pages are ‘worthy’, I don’t agree that they are in terms of search engine listings. Most of these type of pages (along with the privacy policy page) are legal ease that just need to be on the site. I am not saying they are not important, they are (privacy policies are really important for instance), but, they are not what you site is about. Because they are structurally important they are usually linked from every pages on the site and as such gather a lot of importance and weight. Now, I know that Google must have looked at this, but I can still find lots of examples where these type of pages get too much exposure on the search listings. This is apart from the duplicate content issues (anyone ever legally or illegally ‘lifted’ some legals or privacy words from another site?).
What a fantastic article! So excited to put these suggestions to “work”! Just a quick observation about #3 “Blogger Review”. As a blogger myself who often charges for reviews, I’d opt out of writing “I usually charge $X, but I’d be more than happy to send it over to you on the house.” No blogger with any klout would pay “you” to review “your” product, little less jump for joy in response to your “incredible” generosity. If someone sent me an email like this, I wouldn’t like it! Instead, I’d offer it up for free right off the bat, mentioning its value. Something like “We’d love to send you our new floor sanitizing kit worth $50.” Then add “All I’d ask is that you consider mentioning it on your blog or writing a review,” which, by the way, is a brilliant sentence to add. It’s a great way not to pressure or expect anything from the blogger (you’re not paying them after all!) + come across as humble & likeable at the same time. You’d be surprised at how many reviews & mentions we bloggers will happily give without compensation, to friendly folks with relevant products we like (even more so if they are local businesses!). Anyhow, those are my two cents! -Cristina
Also hadn’t thought about decreasing the rank value based on the spammyness of sites a page is linking into. My guess on how to do it would be determining the spammyness of individual pages based on multiple page and site factors, then some type of reverse pagerank calcuation starting with the those bad scores, then overlaying that on top of the “good” pagerank calculation as a penalty. This is another thing which would be interesting to play around with in the Nutch algorithm. 

Start Value (In this case) is the number of actual links to each “node”. Most people actually set this to 1 to start, but there are two great reasons for using link counts. First, it is a better approximation to start with than giving everything the same value, so the algorithm stabilizes in less iterations and it is so useful to check my spreadsheet in a second… so node A has one link in (from page C)
In this illustration from the “PageRank Citation Ranking” paper, the authors demonstrate how webpages pass value onto other pages. The two pages on the left have a value of 100 and 9, respectively. The page with a value of 100 has two links that point to the pages on the right. That page’s value of 100 is divided between the two links, so that each conveys a value of 50. The other page on the left has three outgoing links, each carrying one-third of the page’s value of 9. One link goes to the top page on the right, which ends up with a total value of 53. The bottom right page has no other backlinks, so its total value is 50.
Question, when it comes to backlinks. Would it be useful to guest blog or agree to create pages on websites with backlinks with other business owners in your community. Example: our window replacement company used a local photography company for head shots. A backlink to the photographers website on our “staff” page with photos of the head shots for a reference. Then the photographer post examples of company headshots on her website with a back link to our website for reference. Is this a good way of going about getting more backlinks?
More appropriately, blame Google for ever making the PageRank score visible. When Google first started, PageRank was something it talked about as part of its research papers, press releases and technology pages to promote itself as a smarter search engine than well-established and bigger rivals at the time — players like Yahoo, AltaVista and Lycos, to name a few.

(1 - d) - The (1 – d) bit at the beginning is a bit of probability math magic so the “sum of all web pages' PageRanks will be one”: it adds in the bit lost by the d(.... It also means that if a page has no links to it (no backlinks) even then it will still get a small PR of 0.15 (i.e. 1 – 0.85). (Aside: the Google paper says “the sum of all pages” but they mean the “the normalised sum” – otherwise known as “the average” to you and me.
5. Link building. In some respects, guest posting – one popular tactic to build links, among many other benefits – is just content marketing applied to external publishers. The goal is to create content on external websites, building your personal brand and company brand at the same time, and creating opportunities to link back to your site. There are only a handful of strategies to build quality links, which you should learn and understand as well.
You should fix all errors which can impair users’ expectations. By hurting user experience, you endanger the organic growth of your traffic because Google will surely limit it. Do this task thoroughly and don’t be in a hurry, otherwise, you might learn that your backlinks don’t work. Be responsible for each decision and action. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works better when the technical optimization of your site meets the standards.
Online reviews, then, have become another form of internet marketing that small businesses can't afford to ignore. While many small businesses think that they can't do anything about online reviews, that's not true. Just by actively encouraging customers to post reviews about their experience small businesses can weight online reviews positively. Sixty-eight percent of consumers left a local business review when asked. So assuming a business's products or services are not subpar, unfair negative reviews will get buried by reviews by happier customers.
The first component of Google's trust has to do with age. Age is more than a number. But it's not just the age when you first registered your website. The indexed age has to do with two factors: i) the date that Google originally found your website, and; ii) what happened between the time that Google found your website and the present moment in time.

Google's core algorithms and its propensity to shroud its data in layers of obscurity is not something new. However, it is critical to any understanding of marketing on the internet simply because this visibility is at the heart of everything else that you do. Forget about social media and other forms of marketing for the time being. Search engine optimization (SEO) offers up the proverbial key to near-limitless amounts of traffic on the web.
Hi Brian, as usual solid and helpful content so thank you. I have a question which the internet doesn’t seem to be able to answer. i thought perhaps you could. I have worked hard on building back links and with success. However, they are just not showing up regardless of what tool I use to check (Ahrefs, etc). it has been about 60 days and there are 10 quality back links not showing. Any ideas? thanks!
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