How PageRank Really Works

17 September 2019

Posted in: BSEO

Google no longer makes PageRank available to marketers. Despite being the key measure of a webpage’s performance, most SEO never took the time to understand it. In his revealing BrightonSEO talk, Dixon Jones broke down the maths involved in working out the PageRank formula for yourself and why it’s important.


Speaker’s name: Dixon Jones
Job role and company: Global Brand Ambassador at Majestic
Twitter handle: @Dixon_Jones
Link to LinkedIn profile:
Link to the slides: Pending

What was the talk about?

Have you ever wondered how Google orders search results for the things you search for on Google? PageRank (PR) is an algorithm that Google uses to rank web pages in search engine results. It determines how important a website is by counting both the number and quality of links to a website. In his BrightonSEO talk, Dixon Jones gave us an insight into how the algorithm works and why Google has released consistently fewer PageRank updates since 2006.

Favourite quote

‘’A strong page on a weak website is still a strong page and a weak website with a strong page is still a weak website’’

Potential impact on the industry

PageRank was developed in 1996 as part of a research project by Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. It was the first algorithm used by Google to order search results. Essentially, it asserts that not all links are equal; some are more valuable than others and the algorithm computes this by looking at how many links there are to a given website (and of what quality those links are). In 2006 Google replaced PageRank with an algorithm that is faster and gives similar results. It is likely, however, that PageRank is still used internally by Google though new web page ranking algorithms have been introduced. For this reason, knowing how PageRank works, despite the fact that Google no longer reveals it, can help boost your SEO efforts.

Key takeaways

  1. Algorithms rank web pages in search results
  2. PageRank asserted that not all links are equal and that some are more valuable than others
  3. PageRank was replaced in 2006 by a faster algorithm that gives similar results
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