The web as we know it today didn’t look the same in its early days. Web page authority based on links pointing to them is now perceived as the norm. But it was revolutionary back in 1998, when Google introduced the PageRank algorithm to make outbound link assessment a valid ranking factor.
While PageRank has definitely played a crucial role in the evolution of SEO and its techniques, it’s not clear if it still matters after 2018, when the original patent has expired. In this post, we’ll look into the history of PageRank, explain how it’s calculated, and discover if it’s still applied to rankings.
What is PageRank
PageRank is an algorithm for ranking web pages based on the number and quality of links pointing to them. It was developed by Google pioneer engineers Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998 and marked the first successful attempt of any search engine to assess the level of authority a given web page had. Basically, it meant that a page would get higher rankings with the more backlinks it had.
As the engineers explain it in the original paper, PageRank was aimed to “bring order to the web” by distributing weights across pages. They built the algorithm on the idea of a random internet surfer who visits a page and gets to other pages by clicking on links. The probability that a random surfer reaches a certain page is that page’s PageRank. The score is calculated based on a logarithmic scale between 0 and 10 where 10 represents the most trustworthy web source there can be.