A pilot study of Google's PageRank algorithm and its effect on the placement of webpages in search engine results.

De Jager, D. & Weideman, M.

Published Online

De Jager, D. & Weideman, M. 2006. A pilot study of Google's PageRank algorithm and its effect on the placement of webpages in search engine results. ICT Research Forum No. 2, 393-406. Faculty of Informatics and Design, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town. ISSN: 1814-9812.

The principal objective of this research project was to study Google's PageRank methodology and its results as perceived by the search engine user. Neither the effect of the PageRank algorithm nor details of other factors influencing ranking are clear. The results will hopefully act as a guide for Google's users and customers submitting their pages for future ranking.
The methods employed in this research project were to identify and study the factors used by Google to determine a webpage's ranking. The PageRank algorithm was identified and defined in as much detail as was made available and the impact on the final Google ranking was discussed. Other aspects discussed include the following:
- the impact of keywords and other design factors,
- variations in the PageRank algorithm and
- the impact of attempted result manipulations.
The results prove that Google's PageRank algorithm is based on a system of rating relevancy by calculating the number of links to the queried page. It is also known that PageRank is not the only algorithm used by Google and that on-page factors also help to determine the final page ranking.
The conclusion reached is that Google's methodology used to rank webpages is superior to those of their competition and that Google's continued popularity is based on innovation and expansion.
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