“Like it or not, Google has already rated your site from zero to ten.”

You’ve heard it before while trying to get traffic to your page. Google’s all-powerful, top secret PageRank algorithm is the king of getting your webpage in front of as many eyeballs as possible. PageRank is arguably the most important part of the famed Google algorithm. It’s a patented, fully-automated process that decides which search result appears where on Google’s search engine page when people search for keywords. A staggering amount of Google users never go past the first page of Google search results when they use the search engine, so getting to the top of the first page is crucial to bringing in traffic to your site. Competing for position within Google’s PageRank system is constant and intense. How does this powerful algorithm work?

The short answer is no one knows for sure. Many SEO’s have tried to nail down exactly what Google’s algorithm does, but the company has kept the particulars under wraps for years. Still, we know a few things about how this system determines where web pages appear on the search results screen.

PageRank scans web pages and assigns them a rank or score based on a number of factors. The higher the score, the higher on the results page the website ranks. One of these factors is how many other web pages link to the page in question (or the target site). The more pages that are highly ranked themselves that link to the target site, the higher the target will rank. Make sense? The logic behind this is that low-quality websites probably don’t have as many reputable sites linking to them as high-quality sites.

Website links to a target site can be thought of as ‘votes.’ A site’s voting power becomes weaker the more links it sends out. So, if a high-ranking site links to hundreds of others, each single link, or ‘vote’ becomes less powerful in the PageRank algorithm.

If your site has links from many different high-ranking sites, it will rank high on Google’s search results. Your page ranking also depends on how long your site has existed, the strength of your domain name (i.e. how succinct and descriptive it is, etc.), where keywords appear on your site, and the age of the links going to and from your site. If your keywords are located in H1 headers, titles, and naturally inserted into the site’s content, you’ll rank better. If the keyword appears crammed in the text of your site with no context, Google’s PageRank will shun you.

The best way to draw clicks and interest from Google users is to consistently produce well-written content. When people type in one of your keywords, Google’s goal is to give them the most useful websites for what they may be looking for. You can put your website at the top of the results page by ensuring that all your content is useful to people interested in your subject. Paying attention to which sites link to you and which sites you link to helps immensely in getting your site ranked high on Google’s PageRank algorithm.

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