Pass the Link Juice, Please

We all think we know how Google operates, but there are actually hundreds of factors that can influence a web page’s rankings with this search engine.  One of these is PageRank, determined by the “link juice” passed from one page to another when various pages link up on the Internet by sharing information.

What Is Google PageRank, and Why Should I Care?

Google’s stated goal:  to provide search engine users with results that are relevant, high-quality and on-topic.  When Google’s bots go out to search for such material, they use more than 200 factors in trying to determine which pages should be on top of the search engine results.  One of these factors is PageRank.

Every website is given a PageRank score of between 0 and 10.  These numbers are not on a linear scale; rather, they function exponentially, much like the Richter scale that determines the relative strength of earthquakes.  In other words, a 5 is not five times better than a one; it is perhaps 50 times better,.  New websites with no inbound links start at 0.  A PageRank of 3 to 4 indicates a fair number of links, while a 5 is very respectable.  Google and Facebook are at 9, while only a few websites such as and Adobe Reader Download have a PR of 10.

All other things being equal, a page with a higher PageRank will sit higher in the SERPs than one with a lower PR.  However, a high PageRank score in of itself does not guarantee high SERP results.

What are “Link Juice” and PageRank “Points”?

When a site links to a web page, that site is essentially voting for that page.  Google looks at all the links that are pointing to your page to determine how valuable your page is.  This also happens when you link from one of your pages to another internally.  The transfer of “points” under Google’s system for inbound links is known as “link juice” and Google has a complicated system for determining how to score it.

This is simple enough to understand, but now it begins to get complicated.  The total number of points accumulated on a specific web page is based not only on how many websites link to that page but also on how many pages the source is linking to.  Simply put, a page cannot just “hand out” links of high value like candy; Google takes into account how much link juice a page is attempting to transfer.

The way around this is to use rel=”nofollow” tags.  This tells Google not to consider certain links in its analysis for PageRank points.

The way to build quality link profiles is to choose relevant inbound links from high-quality webpages and get rid of the ones that are dragging your website down.

But that is another story!