When dealing with the area of SEO, you will at some point come across Google Page Rank. There are a number of misconceptions about what it is, what it does, and how valuable it is when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. Hopefully I can make it a little clearer in this post.
Created by Larry Page (so hence the name Page Rank) it is one of many factors that detarmine a pages listing on the Google search engine. However one of the biggest misunderstandings is that some people think the Page Rank (or PR) think that the figure relates to the position on Google. Google Rank has a scale of 1 up to 10, with 10 being the highest. So if your site had a PR 1, some would think that meant your site was listed number one on Google. This is entirely wrong. What the PR indicates is how Google views your site in terms of authority. This in turn helps Google to put a value on the links you have on your site through to other sites. So if your site had PR 6 ( a fairly good site in Googles eyes) and you were linking to a site with PR 1, then the other site would gain a lot of “Link Juice” from you and it would help their ranking. So whilst PR does effect SEO, it is not a direct effect.
If you do a search for the term “web design”, most result on the first page have a PR of 5, but at the time of writing this, there is even a PR 0, which means Google see’s it as a lightweight site in terms of authority (I suspect a lot of link building for this site). This shows that even a low PR site can list quite well, and even above a higher PR site. Big companies like Adobe and Microsoft have PR 9, which gives them a lot of authority. So to have one of those sites link to you will give you a lot of favour in Googles eyes.
The moral of the story? Don’t pin everything on your Google Page Rank as it doesn’t drectly increase your Google ranking, but do your best to get incoming links from sites with a higher PR than yours, and you should start to see some better SEO results. Try installing the Google toolbar. Or even better, grab yourself a copy of the SEOToolbar from http://tools.seobook.com/, it’s a great little tool that provides you with lots more information in your Google results.