Monday, December 18, 2006

Sharing Page Rank

There are so many mysteries about Page Rank. First of all, there is the mathematical definition of page rank:

Page Rank Formula: PR(A) = (1-d) + d(PR(t1)/C(t1) + ... + PR(tn)/C(tn))

Huh? This makes sense to about 8 people in the world. So let's not focus on this formula since it will just confuse you. Let's think more about a layman's definition of what Page Rank is. Page Rank is all about linking! It is a measure of how many people are linking to you and how many people you are linking to. For example, if you have millions of websites linking to you and you were only linking to say 10 websites (like, you will have a very HIGH Page Rank (9 or 10 out of 10). That is the holy grail of Page Rank and only a handful of websites have this. If your website is brand new and no one is linking to you, you probably have a 0 page rank. Page Rank (at least Google's Page Rank) can be found if you have the Google Toolbar installed in your browser or if you can enter it manually on a website like

But don't be fooled what Page Rank is shown! The page rank that is being reported is probably out of date. Updates to page rank sometimes takes MONTHS. So, even though a website of mine might show a PR of 0, Google may know in the background that it is a 2 or a 3. I think Google delays this information to protect its own interests.

The other point that I want to make is that you may be Penalized for having too many out-going links. Page Rank is a bit like a disease. Your website page that has the most incoming links usually has the highest page rank. This Page Rank bleeds into the next tier of sites on your website. This makes sense, right? If I have a PR7 as my homepage, all pages linked to this PR7 will have a moderately high powered page rank linking to it, resulting in a higher page rank for that page. Probably not a PR7, but maybe a PR4. Again, anything that this page links to this page benefits from a PR4, so maybe it is a PR2. And remember, every out-going link penalizes you (or bleeds) some of your PR7 ranking.

So the point that I am trying to make is to pay attention to who you are linking to and on what page! Homepage links should be pointing to either your own pages (that you want to build page rank for) or relevant pages external to your site which you do not mind sharing your Page Rank with. But what do you do with the links on your page that you need, but do not want to share Page Rank with?

Just recently, Google (as well as the other major search engines) began to recognize the HTML call:


This code is included into the {A} tag of a hyperlink. For example:
{a rel="nofollow" href= }TheWebReviewer{/a}

(I use {} instead of <> because of it triggers the HTML CODE!)

By doing this, you tell the search engines (and Page Rank authorities) NOT to follow this link when it is spidering your website. Therefore, you preserve your Page Rank links for pages that matter to you and ignore all others. Such instances of pages you would like to ignore include:

  • Privacy Statement
  • Contact Us Pages
  • Affiliate Links!
  • Certification Seals
  • etc.

Are you shooting yourself in the foot by no including the "nofollow" tag? Probably not, but any little thing will help and it is good SEO practice (and super easy to do!).

- Matthew Bredel