Studies show that building inbound links is the single most important factor for searches, in part because it improves your Page Rank from Google. “But how can I find my Page Rank?” you may ask. Your Page Rank won't appear on your website automatically, and you'll need to download a tool or use a webpage to be able to find your Page Rank. In this guide, we'll look at why someone might want to find their page rank, and what you can do after you know what your page rank looks like and how it's trending.
Why You Need to Find Your Page Rank
Let's say that I run a website for a law firm that has a large number of competitors in my area. No matter what, I notice that it seems like my web pages always display lower than the pages of my competitors whenever I search online. When this happens, I need to find my Page Rank. When I find my Page Rank, I will probably discover that it is substantially lower than my competitors' PR value. That will make it much harder to have my links displayed early in search results.
If you're running a website, you need to be able to not only find your Page Rank right now, but also to keep track of it over time. “But how do I find my Page Rank value from times in the past?” A tool like SEOMoz can actually help you to find your Page Rank value over a period of months or years.
How Often Does Page Rank Change?
So now, we'll say I decided to find my Page Rank and discovered that it was a 4, and that it has been a 4 for quite some time. How often can I expect it to change? How often should I find my Page Rank so that I can tell whether it's been moving up or down?
Typically, you can wait to find your page rank for several weeks to a month after you calculate it once. If I try to find my page rank once a day, for example, I won't really be getting much new data. That's because Google actually only updates the Page Rank values infrequently. In some cases, you may have to wait up to several months to actually see a change to your page rank, even if you've been building inbound links at a very good pace.
How Can I Find My Page Rank Today?
In order to find your page rank right away, you can use any of several calculator tools online. However, probably the simplest and easiest one to download (not to mention the one that is always, always available with no downtime) is the Google Toolbar. The Google Toolbar is a very fast download, and by hovering over the Page Rank icon, you can find your page rank very easily for any web page on your site (or any other website).
The Google Toolbar, as well as any other tool I can use to find my page rank that relies on Google's numbers, will only display an integer value for Page Rank. However, this is a rounded value. You can even find some tools that will help you to estimate your current Page Rank so that you can find how many links you'll need to add to go up another level.
How Can I Find My Page Rank Numbers for Competitors?
One of the greatest things about the Google Page Rank system is that you don't have to stop by trying to find your Page Rank. When I'm done trying to find my Page Rank, I can always look at my competitors' websites and see whether they're doing as well as I am. If I find that my competitors are having a very fast uptick in their Page Rank numbers, this is a good sign that I need to become more aggressive in my marketing strategy.
If you find your Page Rank is significantly lower than that of your competitors, make sure that you try to build your inbound link profile slowly. Google regards it as suspicious when websites with relatively low amounts of traffic suddenly build huge numbers of inbound links all at once. Artificial linking patterns also tend to show large “spikes” of inbound links being built on some days (weekdays!) while other days show no links were built. To make your linking patterns look as natural as possible, keep your links building as consistently as you can.
How Can I Find My Page Rank Predictions?
Okay, so Google hasn't updated for a while. Is there any way to find your page rank before the toolbar updates for you? Absolutely. Search for “page rank prediction.” When you use a prediction tool, you'll find your page rank based on many different Google data centers. The different data centers update your Page Rank at different times, which means that you can sometimes essentially predict the future using one of these tools.
Don't expect to see predictions that extend far into the future—no one can see what the future will hold for your link building! However, you can use this to understand whether you can expect your Page Rank to increase within the next few months.
Beyond Finding Page Rank: Analyzing Your Data
Once you find your Page Rank, you need to actually take a look at the trends you're seeing and do something about them. In general, if you're seeing a steady increase in your Page Rank, you don't need to change your ways unless you want a sudden boost. However, if your Page Rank is slowly declining, this is usually a sign that your link building efforts have been slowing down. You should work on building more backlinks.
Sudden decreases in Page Rank are usually the result of violating some aspect of Google's Webmaster Guidelines. If you are building links artificially instead of organically, your website could be penalized (also known as “sandboxed”) by Google with the result that your Page Rank drops precipitously. You will need to look in your webmaster email to see if Google has notified you about what the problem is and how to correct it.