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7 Useful Facts About PageRank

There are many things that can be known about how PageRank is spread around a site and from one site to another site. And like many things about SEO, there are some misconceptions. This article links to research, patents and Google statements as proof and when it doesn’t then it’ll be made clear. Here are seven interesting facts about PageRank.

1.  How Much PageRank Passes from a Link?

Someone asked me how much link equity (PageRank) passes from one site to another site to another site. Well, the exact calculation is not known. But here is what we do know, although there are some caveats too.

Outlink Value is (Generally) Divided by Total Outlinks

Outlinks are another way of saying outbound links. The amount of links on a page is used to calculate how much link equity is sent to anyone link.

2. Can You Use No-Follow to Control Where PageRank Goes?

The short answer is no. When no-follow came out, some white hat SEOs tried to take advantage of no-follow by no-following links to pages they didn’t care about (like the contact page or the about page). That way they could conserve their PageRank and send it to the pages they wanted to have the most PageRank. This white hat strategy is called PageRank Sculpting.

3. Links Never Pass Full Amount of PageRank

Outbound links are devalued for a variety of reasons. They never pass the full amount of link equity. If there are ten links on a page, the links don’t pass 1/10th of that page’s link equity. I know Matt Cutts is in the video linked above saying 1,000 links divide the PageRank by 1,000 times. And that’s largely true. But the detailed answer is that although those links are divided by how many outlinks are on the page, how much actual PageRank flows out per link has always varied.

A. Relevance
How relevant the link is to the page it’s linking to

B. Position of link on a page
Links near the bottom of the page may be calculated as less important.

C. Likelihood of a link being clicked

D. Image vs. Text Link (for example, if link resembles an ad)
This is a grey area. I don’t have citations for this.

E. Words surrounding the link
Words surrounding a link contribute to giving context to the outbound link.

3. Link Equity (Generally) Passes from Page to Page

This is an important concept. Many people tend to think of link equity as passing from site to site. This results in the concept of wanting to acquire a link from an “authority site” which often does not correlate with an increase in rankings. You might think that a link from a so-called “authority site” might help push the dial on ranking but it doesn’t.

4. Do Links From “Authority Sites” Help?

The fact that many sites like Forbes and Huffington Post slapped no-follows on their outbound links around the summer of 2017 and the SEO industry didn’t notice a ranking change should be good enough proof that Google has a handle on “authority site guest post” links and that the concept of “authority site” probably doesn’t exist.

5.Outbound Link Have Ranking Value for Page that is Linking Out

The reason an outbound link has value is that the relevance of the site the page links to says something about that page or that section of the page. This works in reverse, too. An outbound link can have a negative ranking value if you link to a bad neighbourhood.

6. When is a Site Passes PageRank it Losing PageRank?

First, it helps to stop thinking of an entire site losing an ability to rank. It’s more realistic to think in terms of pages and the inbound links associated with those pages.

7. Should all Links go to the home page?

When a home page is the major ranking page, that’s usually because most of the inbound links are to the homepage. Diversify those links and begin linking to another page and you’ll see the traffic patterns begin to shift.


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