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Google loves links! Ever since Google placed a value on the quality and number of links into your web pages, links have become the currency of the internet. You can buy links, sell links, exchange links, or if you're really lucky have people climbing over themselves to link to your site without any interaction on your part whatsoever.
The way Google looks at it is if you have a link pointing to one of your pages then it is seen as a 'vote of confidence' for that particular page. The more incoming links you have, the more votes. It's a simple as that – or is it?
Well not entirely. Google's claim is to “search more sites more quickly, delivering the most relevant results.” To this end they have an algorithm (or algorithms?) which they use to rank web pages in their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). This algorithm is made up of a multitude of mathematical formulas, each one taken into account when analysing the code and content of a page. The make-up of this algorithm is a strictly guarded secret and remains so to anybody outside of Google HQ (so be wary of any SEO company claiming to be privy to this classified information) and one has to assume that those select few in the know have put their hallowed signature to some sort of confidentiality clause.
A known factor pertaining to this algorithm is that not all links are equal. For instance, ten links from ten quality websites that bare relevance to your own content will far outweigh one hundred links from one hundred low-grade and completely unrelated sites.
Value comes from trusted sources!
Google reward web pages they regard as being trustworthy with Pagerank (PR). In the simplest of terms this is a value between zero and ten that appears in the Google toolbar. Pagerank, in turn, is worked out from a number of factors. These include the age of the site, the length of time the domain has been registered, and – once again – the number of inbound links. You will see sites touting themselves as a PR 5, or a PR 6, etc. in order to sell links or appear attractive for the purposes of reciprocal linking.
But once more this isn't as simple as it sounds. In all actuality the little green bar of Pagerank that appears in the Google toolbar has never been a reliable representation of a page's actual PR. Except for when Google are looking to make an example it only gets updated every three to four months and it is not unusual for a site with a low toolbar PR to rank higher in the SERPs than one whose toolbar PR is higher.
Actual Pagerank is known only by Google and as with everything else that spills forth from deep within the ubersanctum that is Googleplex, Mountain View, California, they're in no hurry to divulge its mysteries to us.Link Anatomy...