I put this video together on how PageRank works last year whilst practising it for Pubcon in Las Vegas. I will also talk on PageRank at BrightonSEO in September. The presentation takes what looks to be a very complicated mathematical algorithm and break it down into concepts that mortals with basic Excel knowledge can understand.

Is PageRank still used today?

This is a common question. Larry Page came up with the concept and with the help of Sergei Brin, it became the cornerstone of Google’s early success. Googlers say it is still used, according to this video. On the other hand, a recent article by Roger Monti suggests that it may have been shelved in 2006. Now – this is from an ex-Googler, so it does seem odd that Gary Illyes made it abundantly plain that they WERE using it in 2017.

So what gives?

The truth of the matter is that Google may have moved to a different way of calculating the same thing. The method described in the presentation above is known as the “simplified method” for calculating PageRank. However, there is another way to do the calculation, known as the Power method.

The Power method is another iterative in a way that can change the PageRank of an individual page at a time. These methods resulted in what we SEOs used to call the “Google Dance”. Periodically, Google will have recalculated PageRank for every URL and the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) used to bounce around for a few days, whilst all the indices were updated.

When the Google Dance stopped (which probably was around 2006 if my memory serves me correctly), Google will have found a way to calculate or approximate PageRank on the fly. This lecture from Stanford University looks at some ideas such as the Random Surfer Model, which considers Pagerank from the point of view of the probability that the person was on the page one click after their last page visit.

Perhaps this is what I should demonstrate at Brighton?

Dixon Jones

An award-winning Search and Internet Marketer. Search Personality of the year Lifetime achievement award Outstanding technology individual of the year International public speaker for 20 years in the field of SEO and Internet Marketing, including: Pubcon; Search Engine Strategies (SMX); Brighton SEO; Ungagged; Search Leeds; State of Search; RIMC and many more.


david · 9th October 2019 at 2:30 pm

really this information is good and seo skill and learning to develop as an seo expert really helpful.

WNA Infotech · 20th November 2019 at 6:24 am

Thanks for sharing this wide knowledge with us. I really liked it. It will be helpful to each reader.

SEOBANK · 5th April 2020 at 9:19 pm

Great stuff as always Dixon, just going through a lot of your content and connecting some dots. Or should I say, “Things”!

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