Google Page Ranking

Wednesday 10th August, 2005
For those that don't know, Google assigns a page ranking to each website it indexes for it's search engine. The higher the ranking, the higher your page will come in search results. The ranking ranges from a score of 0 to 10, with 10 being the highest. Examples of highly ranked pages include BBC News (9), IBM (9), Microsoft (9) and Apple (10). This effectively give these sites much greater authority in search results so if, for example, both BBC News and I write a page on the same topic then the BBC one will likely be ranked above me in search results.

There are other factors to consider in search results though.Google may, for example, display a newer page over an older one assuming it contains updated information. A page which has more matching words will rank higher due to relevance etc.

Page rank isn't manually assigned, instead it's automatically calculated by a magic Frosties style secret formula within the Google systems. How it's done isn't entirely public but there are some well known ways in which to increase one's ranking.

The main way in which page ranking is built up is by external links and referrers. It's effectively inherited from those who refer to your site. In it's basic form you earn a share of the rank of any page that links to you. For example:

http://www.edbrill.com may have a page rank of 6. If he then links that site to 2 external pages they will inherit a page rank of 3 each. A google ranking of 3, just because Ed Brill linked to them. This is how Google works, if Ed is worthy enough to have a rank of 6 then anyone he links to much be pretty worthy too. Of course Ed is linked from IBM which has a rank of 9 which is where he will have inherited some of his score from.

Of course, in reality, Ed links to dozens of external sites in his blogroll and even more within his articles so the amount of inherited ranking each site receives is relatively small. My site, www.jaffacake.net currently has a ranking of 4. This is roughly based on the total inherited rank from all of the sites that link to me. In the case of blogs and blog comments, obviously links are thrown about all over the place and simply placing a comment on a high profile blog can increase your ranking potential. This is why some blogs can suffer greatly from comments by Casino or porn sites desperate to increase their Google rankings. Google do include clever exceptions though which will try to stop people setting up a site purely to boost rankings.

It's greatly believed that Google ranking is a log scale, not a linear one. This means that the higher you get up the rankings, the harder the next jump will be to attain. For example if it were a base 10 log scale, to get to level one may need 10 referrals, but level 2 would need 100 and level 3 would push you to 1000 referrals. I used base 10 for simplicity, it's believed Google may use a base of around 6 or 7 but nobody publicly knows.

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