Google’s proprietary ranking algorithm is what makes it different from the other search engines. An element of that algorithm is Google PageRank.
Google explains PageRank like this:
“PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the Web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at considerably more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; for example, it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.” Using these and other factors, Google provides its views on pages’ relative importance.
Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don’t match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines dozens of aspects of the page’s content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it’s a good match for your query.”
In other words, a PageRank is based on a ballot system that compares your site to all the other pages on the Web that are related. The comparison allows the algorithm to determine which pages are most relevant to a search query based on numerous elements of the page. A hyperlink to a page counts as a vote of support. The PageRank of a page is defined recursively, or in comparison to the other pages that Google is also ranking, and depends on the number and PageRank metric of all pages that link to it. A page that is linked to by many pages with high PageRank receives a high rank itself. If there are no links to a web page, there is no support for that page.
Google assigns a numeric weighting for each web page on the Internet; this PageRank denotes your site’s importance according to the PageRank algorithm.
So if you want to successfully rank on the Google search engine, you should follow the guidelines that are laid out in Google’s Webmaster Central (http://www.google.com/intl/en/webmasters/). There is also a set of tools available in Webmaster Central that allows you to analyze and add to your site to help make it more Google-friendly. Those tools include the following:
Site Status Wizard: Determines if your site is currently being indexed by Google.
Webmaster Tools: This is a set of tools designed to help you improve the indexing and ranking of your site. You can also find the Google Sitemap Generator here.
Content Submission Tools: Use these to submit your site to Google, or to add products to Google Base or content to Google Book Search.
Google’s Webmaster Blog: Find tips and strategies for ranking well in Google on this blog. You’ll also find changes to the Google algorithm and other information that you’ll
need to stay on top of your site rankings.
Webmaster Discussion Groups: Talk to others about what they’re doing to improve their Google rankings.
Webmaster Help Center: If you don’t understand something about Webmaster Central, here’s where you’ll find an explanation.
Ultimately, if you follow the guidelines laid out in the early parts of this book, and design your pages for people, not search engines, you’ll rank well in Google. You may need to tweak some of the inner workings of your site — keywords, links, meta tags — and you’ll need to be patient. But given time, your ranking with Google will occur naturally. Then all you have to do is continue improving your offerings for customers and stay on top of maintaining your site, and you should see your ranking climb gradually.