Digital Insights

How PageRank Affects Organic Search Rankings


Published: September 16, 2014

Although Google is understandably reluctant to provide details about how its ranking process works lest it encourage attempts to artificially game the system, we do know that inbound links are one of the most important of the estimated 232 factors that currently comprise Google’s ranking algorithm. PageRank (PR) is Google’s tool that measures the quantity and quality of a website’s inbound links, and is a vital component in determining how your pages will rank for a given search query.

What Exactly is PageRank?
PageRank itself has nothing to do with ranking a webpage – it was named after Google co-founder Larry Page, and was actually the first algorithm developed by Google to help assess the relative merits of a website.

The PR algorithm first counts the number of inbound links that point to a webpage. The PR score of each page providing a link is then assessed, and the final PR score is assigned. This provides an estimate of the relative importance of the website, based on the assumption that the more important websites will attract the greatest number of quality links. A website’s overall PR score is determined by the number and quality of inbound links to the home page as well as to the website as a whole.

Google only releases PR scores for websites and webpages a few times each year, although it calculates PR data for its own use on a real-time basis and uses this updated data to help determine search ranking position.

The PageRank scoring system rates websites on a scale of 1 through 10. A PR0 indicates that Google is basically unaware of a site, a PR1 indicates that a site has been indexed, PR3 represents an average ranking, PR5 and PR6-ranked websites are considered to be well-positioned for competitive ranking, and a PR10 is reserved for the cream of the crop.

How PageRank Influences Search Engine Ranking

  • A higher PR score will help strengthen your website by providing additional weight and authority which will help it rank better.
  • The number and quality of your inbound links as measured by your PR score are important indicators of how valuable your content is; these links provide additional traffic to your site which in turn will help increase your visibility to Google.
  • Webpages with a higher PR score tend to attract more visits by the search engine robots, which will get more of your pages indexed and included for more search queries.

How to Determine Your PageRank Score
You can check the most recent Google PR score of any website by entering its URL address into the free PageRank Checker tool available at The checker also determines the validity of the PR score, and provides an indicator of the quality of the PR based on the quality of the underlying backlinks.

Tips for Improving Your PageRank Score
One of the best methods of increasing your PR score is to acquire more backlinks from high PR-ranked websites. The higher the authority of the sites you are linking from, the higher the quality of the link juice your website will receive.

Avoid PR-killing penalties from Google’s Panda and Penguin updates by offering information-rich, relevant content on your website; acquiring only relevant backlinks; and avoiding the use of over-optimized or keyword-stuffed anchor text.