How Pagerank Determines the Value of Links
It’s undeniable that Google has changed the world of digital information. Much of that is thanks to Pagerank, which allows their search engine to calculate the value of pages and give out better results. Explaining Pagerank can be an odious task, but there are relevant aspects that any online marketer can utilise for better SEO, particularly when it comes to re-linking. This article aims to explain just how you can improve the value of your links and obtain a better standing on the SERP.
In a simplified form, Pagerank categorises links in such a way that they count as votes. Initially, all pages have equal voting power, but the ones that get more votes (through linking to and from said page) gain more power. As a result, these pages cast more important votes. This helps maintain the flow of information towards more relevant webpages, which the Internet as a whole deems worthy of interest. In return, these pages can add a lot of weight towards what they link.
It’s worth noting that things don’t always work as concretely in practice as the above description. These guidelines are not hard and fast rules and can come off as over-simplified. There are still exceptions to them. A burst of fresh links can often outweigh powerful links and spam links can blunt the effect of fresh links, etc. However, the following rules are still useful and provide a great starting point for making better use of links.
Here’s our advice:
Improving Link Values
First the foundational principle of Pagerank: If a lot of pages are linking to one page, they get a massive boost. This applies even further if the pages doing the linking are popular themselves. On top of that, external links are more powerful than internal ones and topically relevant pages cast more powerful votes. These are just some of the basic consideration Pagerank takes into account.
As previously mentioned, trusted sites and more authoritative pages cast more powerful votes. However, this has other implications. It’s better to go to an original source rather than relying on a second-hand site. This provides better scores. Essentially, sites closer to the original information will receive better values than ones that are a few links hops away. Make sure that your sources are the primary ones or the first reporters rather than ones linking from said sources. Another consideration is the diversity of links, as the more, different sources you have, the better your score.
Linking to and from fresh pages is also another must. Pagerank takes into account how old information is, which allows it to remain relatively up to date. This can vary from topic to topic, but it’s a general rule that best to abide by. Look for new pages or ones that are going through regular updates. Keep in mind, that the original posting date is not what Pagerank is looking for. They are looking for how often things are updated, new links are added or how often the page is viewed in recent history.
The place where you insert a link can be crucial for how Google views it. First, let’s talk placement. Links that are within unique content or within the body of the text will fare better than those in the footer or header. Google deems the former more relevant than the latter. Similarly, the pages that come first in the main content also have a bit more going for them as far as Google is concerned.
Another factor that matters is how well the anchor text and how well it matches what you are linking to. An example done right:
High ranking pages typically have a healthy, natural mix of relevant anchors pointing to them. This makes them more relevant to Pagerank.
Another feature concerning the placement of the link is when there are two links for the same URL. In such a case, the link that appears first will take priority in Google’s calculations. Essentially, while PageRank flows normally through both links, they will only use the first anchor text for ranking purposes.
What Pagerank Considers Devaluing
Aside from looking to how Pagerank calculates a positive value, we should also look for things to steer clear of. Pages that link to spam can devalue other links that they harbour in their text. This can be bad for you if you’re being linked to by such pages. Luckily, you can use Google’s disavow tool to take some of the heat off in such circumstances.
Bad ranking only goes for too many old links. If the rate of link growth is not being maintained, it will devalue your page. There’s a bit of debate about just how much low-quality links devalue a page. However, it’s best to avoid them as a rule of thumb anyway.
Related Article: What is Keyword Cannibalisation & When is it an Issue?