1. What is PageRank?
Here is what Google says:
" PageRank relies on uniquely democratic nature of 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 more than sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes page that casts vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important."
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In other words, PageRank is simply a mechanical algorithm by Google that attempts to evaluate importance of your website larged based on amount and quality of backlinks your website have. For more intellectual crowds out there, check out The PageRank Citation Ranking: Bringing Order to Web.
2. How do I check PR of a webpage?
If you use Internet Explorer, download and install Google Toolbar. There will be a green ind icator on toolbar that tells PR of a particular page. Hovering your mouse over ind icator will give you a numeric value of PR. In addition, there are numerous tools out there that will check PR of a page without toolbar. If you use Mozilla Firefox, you can install PageRank Checker extention.
3. Why do I want a higher PR?
It used to be believed that a higher PR value will give you a higher position in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). However, this is no longer case. As any experienced webmaster, and even Google themselves, would tell you, there are hundreds of factors that determine where your page is displayed in results.
Google states that they do not recommend webmasters exchange links to increase their PR. They see it as trying to "game" their search engine. Lastly, many people believe that a higher PR causes Googlebot to crawl through a page more often.
4. Is it a good idea to buy links for a higher PR?
Websites with higher PR (6, 7, 8) often make money by selling links to sites with lower PR. As Google states, if they are aware that sites are selling PR instead of just advertising space (how they can differ two I can't say or if, ind eed, they can), both buyer and seller may be penalized. The penalty may take form of a lower position in SERPs and/or a downgrade of PR. Thus, we recommend that you do not buy links simply for a higher PR.
5. But I still would like to improve PR of my site. What should I do?
First of all, sites don't have PR, pages do. (hence name Page Rank) Therefore, it is possible for an internal page to have a higher PR than homepage. In order to get PR, only way is to get links to it. Incoming backlink from a page with a higher PR is more valuable than incoming a backlink from a page with a lower PR. In addition, PageRank that a link "gives" is spread out between number of links on page. For example, a backlink from a PR4 page with only two links on page can be more valuable than a backlink from a PR7 page with fifty links on page.
6. How many links would I need to get my homepage to PR7?