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How PageRank in Google+ is Earned. G+ Link Myths Busted!
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This will be Part 2 of my Google+ PageRank series.
If you're new to this topic Part 1 is the embedded link below.
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My first post dispelled the popular myth that Google+ does not have PageRank, but apparently stirred up a lot more questions than it answered. I did not however, receive any serious disagreement from any well known Google+ SEO, or AuthorRank experts. On the contrary, many very popular G+ writers either commented, shared, or plussed the article.

By the way, if you think this article is exceptionally informative, don't just plus it, share it. I'm about to explain how that benefits me with a little G+PR for the day I spent writing this. ;-)

Now I'm going to start answering those questions on how profiles earned their G+PR (abbreviating for simplicity). Get ready for more popular myths to be busted...

One popular idea that even I myself entertained, is that your G+PR may have to do with the number of followers you have. This has now been thoroughly debunked.
G+PR has nothing to do with the amount of followers you have.

Another popular yet already mostly disproved myth, is that +1's give you link juice. "Link juice" is a term loosely defined, but is in fact PR. PageRank is an algorithm based on "backlinks" (or links) and the PR that is passed has sometimes been referred to as link juice.

Which brings up an opposite myth to bust, that all +1's do not give you any benefit (ie. PR). In fact, if a plussers +1 page is public & they don't have too many, then their +1 can give you a link on that page & technically link juice. However that will be seriously diluted by the continuing links accumulated there. Google+ Business Pages can definitely not give link juice through +1, cause they don't have a +1 page.

Which begs the question, If you don't get G+PR from plusses, or followers, where do you get it from?

Well PageRank is very specifically a fairly complex hierarchical link crediting algorithm. So you get your G+PR from links to your profile within Google+, but not only. You would also get G+PR from any web page linking to your G+ profile, presumably even from your own G+ Authorship Snippets.

[Update: BTW, links from all G+ profiles would not have equal value, based on the core principles of PageRank users with higher PR who refer to you would have to be giving you far more G+PR than users with lower PR. But that's another post I'll follow up on.]

Which brings me to the main myth I'm here to bust, that all, or even most links in G+ are "nofollow". I love the way one comment this week firmly stated this myth, LOL...

"All links from G+ are nofollow, so there's no PageRank transfer. Nofollow isn't a leaking condom, so you won't get PageRank pregnant."

In fact, not only are most links in G+ "follow" links, but that is where most of your G+PR comes from. I know this from a separate project I just finished researching very thoroughly & I will go into in a follow up to this. Suffice it to say, I have compared the relationship of thousands of references to specific individuals within G+ and their resulting PR.

So now I'm going to break it down for you & anyone with a "nofollow" plugin for your browser can verify these. You can also dissect them from this pages source code.

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1. Profile link referencing me as author of this post is "follow".

2. The same link will become "nofollow" when this post is shared.

3. A tag to your own G+ user profile within the post will be "follow" :
    +Joshua Berg (all tags are are translated into "follow" links)

4. PR is actually passed through User ID URL's, not Vanity URL's:
    +Larry Page (this tag is translated into a "followed" ID URL)

5. Links posted as Vanity URL's & even G+ links are all "nofollow" :
https://plus.google.com/+LarryPage ("Page" Rank was named after)

6. Links to all external sites within any post are "nofollow" :
    www.HousesFast.com

7. A tag to the same sites G+ Page does pass PR and is "follow" :
   +HousesFast 

8. When you comment below, your profile's link will be "nofollow".

9. Anyone you mention (tag) in the comments will be "follow" :
"I'm sharing this post cause I love it +Joshua Berg".

10. Any business page you tag in any comments will be "follow".

11. Any external URL you refer to in comments will be "nofollow".

12. Main posts embedded URL, such as Part 1 below is "follow":

#gplus #pagerank #googlepluspagerank #GoogleSEO  
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Joshua Berg's profile photoDebbie Gartner's profile photoBen Fisher's profile photoAl Remetch's profile photo
55 comments
 
It seems to be that external links to your page, shares and other people mentioning you would improve your PR, right?

Also, for those here before the changes (where some links that were converted to nofollow, they/we prob. have a bit of an extra advantage.
 
To your first question +Debbie Gartner , yes, that's the idea. I've just given you a little G+PR with your mention in this comment.

To the second question, no, because all mentions (tags) to a user are still "follow".
 
Great explanation +Joshua Berg.  Can you also address the links in the "about" section of the profile for those that do not know.  I could do it here in the comment but it would be a good addition to the write up.
 
Very interesting.  Are you sure that followers doesn't equate to page rank. I've notice that page rank is almost in sync with the number of followers. The more followers the higher the page rank.  
 
+Joshua Berg what about tags, like I used in this post.  Do they have any value.  It must be linking to your profile.
 
+Joshua Berg thanks.  If the tag has value, then it seems like it would make sense to be involved in conversations like this.  Is that your take?
 
+Al Remetch do you have an extension for your browser that shows nofollow vs dofollow?  It is pretty interesting to high-lite everything and see how it flows.
 
Well, yes & no. There are ways to get things done & there are better ways to get things done.

Yes, +Annie Maloney it is. Better to see the links full code though.
 
For chrome I use Linkparser.  But most of the SEO extensions have something similar in them.
 
From my own research into G+ PR I would say G+ internal links are the main contributing factor.
 
Yes they are +Max Huijgen and I will be putting up more details on that soon, along with some examples and statistics.
 
And I am absolutely none the wiser and understand NOTHING! :/
 
LOL +Clare Cosgrove. I did write this with a bit of advanced SEO jargon, sorry about that. It's because there's so much to cover in each of these posts that if I explained each detail too much I might end up having to write a book on it.

A few of these ideas might even be considered ground breaking to experienced SEO geeks, so don't feel bad if you don't get it the first time around.
 
+Joshua Berg I think what I would like is bite size steps, 1.2.3 that say, Do this to improve page rank.  Damn MTV and sound bites.  My wife coined the phrase we are in the era of Microwave Knowledge.   We want it fast with out having to figure it out.  
 
+Al Remetch I'm sure we'll get to that and break it down even further. For purposes of these discussions I'm writing a lot of this for the experts, so we can kind of compare notes and dissect theories. I find these discussions are most useful in bringing us to a greater understanding of the picture.
 
+Joshua Berg that's the impression I got.  Very well written with a lot of documentation, kind of like reading congressional legislation.  Still I was able to I decipher some good nuggets of info.
 I'll have to share my SEO experiences of late.  I can't share it publicly because some people would crucify me and say it isn't so, but something is working extremely well for me.  I'm getting much better rankings for most optimized content I write.  
 
LOL Al. I'm all for healthy debate & sharing knowledge, but then there's only so much time for that. I find it's better to do a lot of research and get ideas formulated at least reasonably well first and then throw them out there and see what sticks. But hey, not everything does.
 
+Joshua Berg OK.  So I have been going through this. Looking at how all the potential links (dofollow) can pass rank.  It is still fuzzy as to where the PR is coming from.  Does it come from the page it is on?  The person who +mentions you?  Or both? One could assume that it is people that have circled you, +mention you, share you, etc.  

For example, if I post something about whatever and +Mark Traphagen ( <--- dofollow) shares it then his profile passes rank to mine only if he +mentions me in his post body.  Otherwise it passes through to only the post.  

So the rank is always associated with the person naming you correct?  Surely external influences will have an impact, yes?  If I link to my profile from a PR5 page on my website it will pass through.  

This also drives home the importance to link an article in the post body or to use the native link share, depending on whether you want rank to be passed.  Having said that, I don't think that should ever be part of the thought process.  

Sorry so long.
 
+Annie Maloney while I haven't covered everything here, others are also now following up on this topic and helping us to get a better understanding of everything.

There is a lot more to explain & a lot of what I currently theorize, or understand about G+PR is based on my knowledge of traditional PageRank. So for anyone not familiar enough with that, this can be quite a jump to advanced.

The bottom line of my current theory on where the G+PR comes from is just a mix between common sense & PageRank sense. Certainly whoever posts about you, is the one giving you the PR. Whatever they share, or post about you on their page, is giving you PR and so forth. The higher their PR, the higher the value. For a lot more on that you'll want to read up on PageRank.
 
+Joshua Berg I'm done debating.  It works for me.  I have my theories why it works.  
 
+Joshua Berg Will be interesting to see what info comes from digging in.  I have a decent understanding of pagerank, just trying to wrap my head around the way in which it will, or will not, pass through on this platform.  I hope you didn't take anything from my last post as me questioning the validity of your post.  ;)
 
No +Annie Maloney, I didn't think you were questioning Rah. LOL. But that's the last thing you should be concerned about, I welcome questioning of any of these ideas. Healthy debate is healthy & questions will only give us more answers.

Well, we're finding out more of these answers as we go along.
 
Really interesting article. Can't wait to read your follow-up!
 
Thanks Philip & Wesley. Hope I get the time shortly.
 
+Joshua Berg You're welcome.
I do have a question though. I can't get it to work that I can see the PageRank of a certain profile. Could you elaborate on this subject?
 
Many profiles will not yet have any PR. To check PR follow the instructions in the first post on this.
AJ Kohn
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+Joshua Berg, I mentioned in my presentation at SMX West that there are whispers that there may be an impact based on @ing someone, either a person or a page with the flow of that mention going both ways. And you've shown why.

These all function as potential citations which is at the core of most modern search algorithms. In this case the citations are of entities - either people or companies.  

Currently they function more like traditional Page Rank but it will be interesting to see how Google decides to use the meta information (activity, engagement and sentiment on the specific item the citation occurred as well as broader social signals over time) to inform future search signals. 
 
Yes +AJ Kohn, if you study certain groups of profiles, comparing them with @ing& then against other social signals, it's not hard to see the relationship there quite quickly.

Once I realized a few months ago that there is a very active G+PR working here, these relationships started to make sense to me. Even without doing much research, but just for anyone who has a good understanding of traditional PageRank factors, we can naturally assume that those core principles would flow similarly and cause the kind of affects we're seeing. Then once I started digging into specifics and comparing numbers, it seems to confirm a lot of these ideas.

"These all function as potential citations which is at the core of most modern search algorithms. In this case the citations are of entities - either people or companies."

This is exactly my opinion on this as well & when you think about how it all works, it really does make sense that Google would be using them, because these "citations" (as we can call them) in reality are the most important signals in social networks. Then when you provide hierarchical type reputation structure to those citations, such as we're seeing in G+PR ranking of profiles, it gives a sense of quality, rather than quantity being the most important ranking factors.

These types of reputable citations, are the sort of signals that really can't be gamed as easily with +1's, etc, so it make sense that they are being used as such.
 
+Joshua Berg great information here and i've been bookmarking your research for a bit...now that I have the tax man off my back I can focus!   lol...look forward to all other G+PR info you discover...great stuff
 
+Joshua Berg Could you tell me more about your upcoming article on ¨pagerank ? Also you made reference to some articles that broke the story. Could you provide links ? Thanks. 
 
Sure +Euro Maestro. This post right here, is Part 2 of the story. Part 1 is the first article in which I proved that there is PageRank in G+ for those that know how to find it. If you have an interest on how this ranking is passed around, I suggest you follow this series closely.

In my comment earlier about "broke the story", I was referring to either Max's story (from where you might have first become aware of this) about my article, or the story itself "Is Google+ PageRank the culprit behind..." (Part 1).

As for the upcoming article, I have quite a number of facets to cover & honestly I'll just have to see which ones I get covered first.

These posts have stirred a lot of ideas, questions and more things to write about. So one of those aspects I will be covering is some examples on how profile's page ranks compare with corresponding PR somewhat statistically (i.e. followers vs. tags, mentions,etc).

Thanks for your interest +Euro Maestro.
 
Very useful reading +Joshua Berg - much appreciate the time you've taken to share this.
 
Thank you so much +Joshua Berg for making this so much clearer.  I'm away now to read your part 1.
 
While I'm a complete newbie to G+PR, I was still able to gleen some great action items from your write ups, +Joshua Berg .  Thank you so much for shedding some light on this complex concept.
 
Thank you +Joshua Berg for sharing this interesting article! I really find your G+PR series very helpful! Could you plase clear number 2 for me? "The same link will become "nofollow" when shared, while it's follow in number 1 referencing me! Well wouldn't it be referencing me as authr when reshared?! Sorry if it looks selly question I just didn't get what you mean!
 
Glad you liked it +Ian Gentles +Rosie Nixon & +Tracey Harrelson , be sure to catch Part 3 up there & I'm trying to get a Part 4 out shortly.

+Julia Al Arab G+ still knows who the author is, as they're going to have an algorithm that knows how to handle their reshare links, time dates also show who created the content first. However, for newer users a post will usually get outranked by higher PR profiles sharing it, while at the same time, that sharing is helping you to get some G+PR yourself. So it is necessary to get there, part of being a freshman. LOL.

We can presume the "nofollow" on that reshare means that G+ would like to also give credit to the resharer.
 
+Euro Maestro step 1, share these posts.
Step 2, come back & ask me the way.
Step 3, I'll say "it was inside you all along." LOL.

Seriously though, what I was explaining in Part 3 is, as long as you keep moving up with more link engagement & those who are connected to you are pulling up & not down. Then you will get there. The increased links & also PR power of those links move up together.

From 6-7 is a very big jump though. You've got to remember that each PR higher is not one step, but several times over the power of the last one. To get a PR 6, you had to get at least the equivalent of 101 PR 5 backlinks to your page. To get a PR 7, you'll need 555 PR 5's. Compounding the problem, when you get up there, there's not as many high, or higher PR's to be given. But I think you're on the right track.

Oh yeah I forgot, I was gonna show you this example +Euro Maestro 
http://media.smashingmagazine.com/images/pagerank/google-pagerank-explained.gif
 
+Joshua Berg - I read both articles and I'm a little bit in over my head.  But that said, I started at what i think is the beginning and tried to get PRChecker.net to take my profile URL and tell me my rank.   It returned a cryptic and unreadable (because of the light grey on white background) error message.   Is it likely that I'm doing something wrong or is that broken?  or because my rank is so low, it doesn't want to bother with me?  hehe.....


Fatal error: Call to undefined method GooglePageRankChecker::getRank() in /home/prcheck/public_html/index.php on line 130
 
It appears that you do not yet have PR on the PR Toolbar. This doesn't mean you don't have any, but just that you haven't had significant enough activity up until the time of the last indexing & the PR.

With your follower count it seems you should have more PR though. So either there is just a problem with PR's tracking of your profile right now, or your methods of engagement are not optimal for collecting it.
 
I'm not sure I know enough to know that I should care.  I read, I glean, I try to learn.   Who knows, maybe one day I'll understand.
 
Not sure if you mention this in any of your great posts +Joshua Berg , but one thing that I believe also fuels the PR machine is the rel=author and rel=publisher tags that Google requires to verify a profile or brand page. 

This would make sense as Google is causing PR to flow into profiles and pages and then can "in a sense" control how PR flows through G+.
 
Yes, I covered that point +Ben Fisher , especially in an interview with Martin and you are correct. The PR is designed to flow into the profiles the rel=author and can be channeled out from your About page Links (which are follow), but not your Contributor-to.
 
+Joshua Berg   Many thanks for these posts; as a newcomer to G+,  I have been reading and learning with interest.
A couple of questions: you say at the top of this post that your G+ PR has nothing to do with the number of followers, yet when I check you About page using Linkparser, I see that every person you follow has a dofollow link. Surely, this passes page rank to each of your followers?
Also, if every time I + mention anyone (or share their link into my profile) this is passing page rank, does this mean that I am LOSING PR FROM MY PROFILE and that this is effectively damaging my PR? Therefore, should I start being very stingy with / completely stop + mentions and also sharing of useful content into my profile??? So far, I have taken the view that G+ (like other social systems) is SOCIAL and that it is good to share useful content and polite to +mention people?? Would appreciate advice at this early stage of G+ing.
 
+John Pitcher thanks for the compliment.

1. Yes, your G+ PR has nothing to do with followers. This is quite well established. If you're concerned about those follower links, you can set them to private. They are a different kind of link and it would be insane for G+ to use those billions to gauge PR.

2. When you + mention someone, they invariably + mention you back. You start the flow and it works. Those mentions down in comments would not be worth much anyway.

3. Being stingy in social networking is self defeating and never works. The more you give, the more you'll get back. That's why I gave all this information in writing these stories.

You can see this long study I wrote, on how SMO is about sharing and engaging, that's how it works best. realsmo.com/2013/06/social-media-optimization-smo-for-seo.html
 
Many thanks +Joshua Berg  I have so far taken a very "anti-stingy" approach to all the social sites I use, but reading this account of PR made me wonder whether I was doing the right thing. Thanks again.
 
+John Pitcher Same as with content, just be natural, be yourself, try not to worry much about the PR "loss" from mentioning someone, it will come back 10 fold.
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