Is it possible to generate PageRank?
This is a discussion that often pops up in the forums. Let me remind you of the disclaimer at the bottom of this page: PageRank is a trademark of Google Inc. and you cannot generate your own PageRank - just as you cannot generate your own Coca-Cola or your own US Dollars.
The question is a bit tricky to address, since there are three different variations.
- Can PageRank be increased by a clever internal linking structure?
- Can large sites increase PageRank by adding internal links?
- Can PageRank be increased by adding lots of dummy pages?
If a page links to you, it passes some of its PageRank. As shown on the page about PageRank increase you can then pass that PageRank further by linking to other pages on your site. The result is that the total PageRank increase for your site is much bigger than simply (PageRank of linking page divided by number of links on that page).
- As shown on then page about PageRank leakage you're not generating PageRank. You're receiving it from the linking site - and that site will experience a similar PageRank leak.
- The increase in PageRank is not determined by any "clever" linking on your site. The PageRank increase will always be exactly d/(1-d) where 'd' is the damping factor.
It's often claimed that once a site grows large enough it can generate its own PageRank.
The reason for this fallacy (and it is a fallacy) is obvious: If you search Google for back links to Tom's site, you'll see links from Dick's and Harry's site - but if you ask Google for the first hundred links to a large site, like the BBC, you'll see that more than 90% of the links are internal. This leads people to assume that the site is generating PageRank by linking to itself.
There are two things being overlooked here:
- Google only shows a subset of links - normally it's assumed that the linking page must have a high PR3 or more. This means that even though internal links count for all sites, Google will only show them for sites with a high PageRank (like the BBC).
- The link command above only shows links to the index page, but resource sites (like the BBC) tend to get many deep links.
This last variation is based on the fact that every page contributes a little PageRank - so let's assume we generate a site with, say 60,000, dummy pages (picture to the right) and the site would get a high PageRank all by itself.
|A site with 60,000 dummy pages linking back to the index page|
- The first problem is that it's not enough to generate 60,000 pages - Google must index them. So you have to provide a link to the 60,000 pages from the index page.
- Google will only crawl a certain number of links per page. Quote from Google's guidelines: "If the site map is larger than 100 or so links, you may want to break the site map into separate pages". This calls for a more complicated site structure.
- Google will not deep crawl a site that doesn't have a certain PR. This presents us with a chicken-and-egg dilemma. Sure, we will get PageRank eventually, but with one "Google Dance" per 5 weeks, 60,000 pages may take some time.
- The next problem is that Google has lots of filters to catch duplicate pages. So you have to make 60,000 different pages.
- Google has other filters to detect whether your sites form a closed cluster. You would have to get inbound links from various sites - and would have to link out to other sites.
- All of the above may be possible - but it would only be necessary in a very competitive field. The same kind of field where your competition would love to file a Spam-report to Google.
- Even if - for a short while - you managed to get 60,000 dummy pages indexed by Google, you face the problem that 60,000 pages is a very small fraction of the 4,285,199,774 pages indexed by Google. The Google-world is simply too big for this little site to have any significance.