Google PR, or Google Page Rank, is a score given to a URL based on the number of backlinks that URL has – and on the quality of the backlinks in question.
Initially, PR was developed as an algorithm that mimicked the behaviour of a so-called “random surfer”: a web user who stayed on a web page til he or she was bored, then randomly clicked away using one of the links available to him or her. The Google PR was the probability that this random surfer would choose one or another of the links on the page.
Then Google changed its PR patent to accommodate the concept of the “reasonable surfer” instead.
This more intellectually aware web user didn’t click away from a page he or she was bored with at random – instead, he or she looked at where each link came from and made a contextually based decision on which one was most likely to be interesting. So now PR was taking the perceived interests of a surfer on their current page into account when ranking the pages linked to it.
So if you’re on a page about badgers, Google might reasonably assume that you’re interested definitely in badgers, potentially in woodland animals, possibly in mammals, and conceivable in wildlife as a whole. So any backlink coming to a page about badgers gets a higher ranking if it comes from a page about badgers, or about woodland animals or mammals. On the other hand, if it comes from a page about hairdryers, its authenticity drops radically.
Ultimately, PR became a factor in link building because it appeared to be a way of measuring your site’s likelihood of getting good search engine results. The danger here is that you concentrate only on jacking the site up to the top of the SERPs and not so much on delivering valuable content or a quality customer service.
The Google PR score you see when you examine the reporting for your URL is not likely to be absolutely current – your PR score changes throughout the day, and you can get easily side-tracked by an apparently low score, which has already been superseded by a higher score you haven’t seen yet.
Also, now Google is paying plenty of attention to social media rankings, and the general buzz around your brand name and URL in the social media stream, you need to pay a lot more attention to other areas. And you have to remember that your PR will go up automatically when you start paying attention to your on page content and your social media reputation.
Because what does PR rank? Backlinks to your site. And how does it rank those links? In order of importance according to how genuine it thinks they are. So rather than worrying about PR, or about building links through article directories, why not start thinking about creating a solid site with a great social media presence? Then you’ll get all the links you need and your PR will go up without you having to even think about it.