Page Rank and Linking Explained

The NY Times loves the mysteries of the web. “The Internet is a very good analogy to a company,” Mr. Dash said. “There is always going to be somebody complaining. At least the first voice they hear is yours.”

Last year Mr. Dash participated in a challenge in which competitors attempted to get their Web site to be the first Google result for the made-up phrase “Nigritude Ultramarine.” Mr. Dash won the second round by posting a request on his popular blog asking readers to link from their own sites to his using the phrase.

An attempt to influence the rank of a site returned by a Google search is known as Google Washing or Google Bombing. Referring to the process as “gaming Google,” Mr. Palfrey explained that Google’s dominance as a search engine was largely due to a technology called PageRank, which he called the company’s “special sauce.”

“The idea is that they have deduced, based on an algorithm, which are the most authoritative sources,” Mr. Palfrey said. “They give each page a rank from zero to 10. The higher your PageRank, the more your site comes up.”

As Google explains further on its site, “Votes cast by pages that are themselves ‘important’ weigh more heavily and help to make other pages ‘important.’ “

For example, Google had a PageRank of 10 in a recent check; had a zero. “The trick,” Mr. Palfrey said, “is if you can get lots of people that have a great PageRank to link to you, you’re going to be driven up very high.”