The Mysterious PageRank

You'll hear a lot of people talk about Google's PageRank, bragging about attaining the misty heights of rank seven or eight, talking in hushed tones of sites that have achived nine or ten. PageRanks range from 0 (sites that haven't been ranked or have been penalized) to 10 (reserved only for the most popular sites like Yahoo! and Google itself). The only place where you can actually see what PageRank a given URL has is from the Google Toolbar [Tip #24], though you can get some idea of popularity from the Google Directory. Listings in the Google Directory contain a green bar next to them that allow you to give a good idea of the listing's popularity without having an exact number.

Google has never provided the entire formula for their PageRank, so all you'll find in this tutorial is conjecture. And it wouldn't surprise me to learn that it's changing all the time; as millions of people try myriad things to make sure their pages rank better, Google has to take these efforts into account and (sometimes) reacted against them.

Why is PageRank so important? Because Google uses that as one aspect of determining how a given URL will rank among millions of possible search results, but that's only one aspect. The other aspects are determined via Google's ranking algorithm.