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55. About PageRank



Use the Google Toolbar to Search from Anywhere

Customize the Google Toolbar

PageRank is one of those small features that you either love or hatethere's rarely any in-between. What it does is incredibly simple: It provides a rank for the page you're visiting on a 110 point basis, with 10 as the top choice. The ranking is of a site's "importance," which is a measure of a site's popularity, as well as whether Google considers the site to be highly important.

Key Term

PageRank A Google feature that ranks the importance of the page you're currently visiting on a 110 point basis, with 10 as the top choice.

Whenever you go to a site, the bar associated with the PageRank icon in the Google Toolbar, shown in the nearby figure, changes. The further it moves to the right, the more highly ranked is the page. To see the exact ranking, hover your mouse pointer over the icon.

Google's PageRank result for the Yahoo! web page.

Don't try to figure out how Google decides on its PageRankyou'll never be able to do it. That's because PageRank goes to the very heart of how Google delivers search results, and so is made up of exceedingly complex algorithms that constantly change. Those algorithms are a closely guarded secret because when you do a Google search, Google takes into account the PageRank of the results it finds when deciding what results to show to you.

So what use is PageRank to mere humans? It can help you determine whether the site you're on is reputable, and so can help you determine whether to trust information you find on the page. If the site has a low PageRank, you should trust it less than if it has a high one.

To learn how to turn PageRank on or off, see Customize the Google Toolbar

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