In simple terms, page rank is a measure of how ‘important’ a web page is. It works on the basis that when another website links to a page on your website, it’s like a recommendation or vote for that web page.
Each link increases the web page’s page rank. The amount it increases depends on various factors, including how important the voting page is and how relevant it is.
For example, suppose you’ve written a web page about online banking. If one of the major banks decides that you’ve written a brilliant explanation that it wants its customers to see, they might decide to provide a link to your web page. That link could increase your page rank a lot – because it’s from an important and relevant site.
By contrast, if your mother decides to include a link from her website of home recipes, that’s probably not going to have much effect on your page rank. It’s a vote from a less-known website that isn’t relevant to the subject.
So why is page rank important?
Page rank is important because it’s one of the factors a search engine like Google takes into account when it decides which results to show at the top of its search engine listings – where they can be easily seen in relevant search results. (In fact, PageRank is a Google trademark – but other search engines use similar techniques.)
It’s not the only or even the most important factor. To start with, your page needs to be relevant to whatever the search is – if someone’s searching for plumbers, your page about online banking isn’t going to feature no matter how high its page rank may be. But all other things being equal, page rank does have an effect on search engine rankings.
What does this mean in practical terms?
Getting links to your website (link building) is an important part of search engine optimisation (SEO).
Furthermore, it’s quality not quantity that matters most – you want relevant links from well-known, respected websites.
That’s why search engine optimisation consultants offer link-building services to their clients. Whether you’re using a specialist or trying to do it yourself, effective link-building should be part of your wider SEO strategy.