PageRank is a number that Google assigns to web content to label/measure its *importance*. It's on an integer scale (why not a decimal?) from 0 - 10, with 10 being most important.
For example, Mike Shedlock, aka Mish, his highly popular blog has a PageRank of "7" at the moment.
And over here at Marginalizing Morons, we have a PageRank of "4".
Here are some other's for sites my readers may be familiar with:
Boing Boing "8"
Calculated Risk "7"
Paul Mitchell "5"
Perry Eidelbus "5"
Micheal Davey "4"
Prince C-Nut "1"
How do I find all those PageRanks? Well, I used this website - one of many out there.
Essentially, I think, PageRank measures the authority of a website. And the higher the authority, the higher up in the search rankings one's content will appear. Since more web traffic comes from search than anywhere else, these higher search results should translate into more site visitors.
So anyone looking to raise their web profile (moi!) should be keenly interested in an elevated PageRank.
I really don't see why, given the above rankings and my prolific content, that I shouldn't be able to move up to a PageRank of "5". This is now to be one of my immediate goals.
For a more in-depth discussion of PageRank, read a higher authority like Yaro Starak. (though I'm surprised he's only a "5"!)
How exactly does one elevate their PageRank?
Well, I think it pretty much amounts to getting others - ideally with very high PageRanks - to link to Marginalizing Morons. Google will interpret such links as contagious, authoritative acceptance.
The best case scenario would be for say, Boing Boing - PageRank "8" - to link directly to my blog in one of their posts OR, even better, on their sidebar. But that's not so easy to accomplish.
Instead, and there's some controversy about the effectiveness of this, I could go on Boing Boing, post a comment, and in the body of the comment embed a link to something I have written on my site. This is an obviously self-promotional practice that I've always hated to indulge in. Usually when I do it the link had to be highly relevant to the discussion at hand.
Another way to manufacture links to one's site it to volunteer to write guest posts for other people's blogs - but only, obviously, if they allow you to include a link back to your site in the content. I also think that the key is to write posts for sites ranked higher than your own or this doesn't work.
But that's about all I know about PageRank....I'll talk about it some more, when I learn more.
Here's something interesting on the subject. From Wikipedia:
PageRank is a link analysis algorithm, named after Larry Page, used by the Google Internet search engine that assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents, such as the World Wide Web, with the purpose of "measuring" its relative importance within the set. The algorithm may be applied to any collection of entities with reciprocal quotations and references. The numerical weight that it assigns to any given element E is also called the PageRank of E and denoted by PR(E).That was a nice windfall for Stanford there, no?
The name "PageRank" is a trademark of Google, and the PageRank process has been patented (U.S. Patent 6,285,999). However, the patent is assigned to Stanford University and not to Google. Google has exclusive license rights on the patent from Stanford University. The university received 1.8 million shares of Google in exchange for use of the patent; the shares were sold in 2005 for $336 million.
See also - Better Blogging Chronicles 6 - Monetization?.