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What is PageRank?

Page Rank is an Algorithm that is used to organize informations from the Internet hierachically according to their link popularity to indicate their relevance. PageRank was developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the inventors of the Google search engine, at the University of Stanford.

The PageRank (PR) of a website is determined by the linking of other websites and their quality: This means that the more often the site is linked from other sites, the higher your PR value. In addition, the PR of other sites that link to the website, into account. The higher their PR, the more it is weighted in the calculation. That is, if one wants to achieve a high ranking value for its website, it is important that you are linked from pages with a high PR value. A few links from a page with a high value can therefore achieve the same result as many links from pages with lower PR value.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google Inc. after its invention and bought the exclusive rights to the patent. With the patent for the PageRank system they had the foundation for their search engine Google. In contrast to scientific articles which are reviewed several times before publication, you can publish any information on websites unaudited. This means that there are sites with widely varying relevance in the Internet. The PR is thus used to find the most relevant sites in the simplest possible way. By using an algorithm that incorporates the link popularity, they have developed a hardly suggestible system for the evaluation of websites.

Actually, Larry Page and Sergey Brin wanted to use the Google search engine only for testing Page Rank (Page, 1998). Meanwhile, Google is one of the most prominent search engines, which is to lead among other things to the PageRank back. By using the algorithm Google has been able to qualitatively apart from the other search engines.

The disadvantage of the PageRank system is that it is easily manipulated by the link popularity. It is possible that additional links to the main page can be simulated by insignificant automatically generated pages. Whoever has enough money, can affect the ranking through paid links. In 2005, Google tried, unsuccessfully, to oppose this manipulation the no-follow attribute, that prevents the PR of the linking page is transmitted to a website. In spite of this experiment there is still successfully traded with links.

However, the mathematical foundation of Page Rank can be generally transmitted on all networks, because the probability is calculated only for one event. For example, social media companies such as Twitter or Facebook also use similar variants.

In summary, one can say that the PageRank algorithm as an organizing principle for web pages, and the detection of their relevance was extremely important for the emergence of search engines. Meanwhile, the PageRank is no longer used as the sole factor for the importance of a website. However, there are variants of the algorithm used in many areas such as marketing in medicine and in social media.


  • Page, Larry: „The PageRank Citation Ranking: Bringing Order to the Web“ (1998)

The Google PageRank® algorithm is a trademark of Google Inc. This PageRank checker is not in any way affiliated with Google Inc., but simply displays publicly available information about PageRank values.