What Is Page Rank ?
Your PageRank is NOT the position your page holds on Google's Search Engine Results Pages.
Google gages a website's importance and/or relevance by a mathematical formula (see formula below in "Google PageRank - Some History") that assigns it a PageRank. If Google has indexed the pages on your Website you will have been assigned a PageRank of some number between 0 and 10. New sites that don't have a lot of links on other Websites that point to them will be ranked 0 or 1. Older more established sites that a lot of other sites link to will have a higher PageRank. PageRank was named for Larry Page, co-inventer of Google, who came up with the concept of ranking Web pages by their importance. It's a pretty simple concept. "The more links pointing to a site, the more important that site must be." But it's a little more complicated than that.
What is Google PageRank
If a Website with a Google PageRank of 1 links to a site with a PageRank of 6, Google takes very little if any note. On the other hand, if a site that has a Google PageRank of 6 links to a site with a PageRank of 1, Google does notice. And chances are, depending on other factors like the quality of content, the site that was ranked #1 may be bumped up a notch or two.
Let me clarify something. I've been misleading you. Google doesn't PageRank Websites. Google gives PageRank to individual Web pages within a Website. Various pages within a Website can, and very often will, have different PageRanks. I believe that then Google assigns a PageRank to the entire site that PageRank will be the PageRank of the highest ranking page on the site.
There's a lot of misconceptions and misinformation on the Web about PageRank and trading links. "If I have a PageRank of 2 and I link to a page with a PageRank of 0, my Google PageRank may go down." That's false! Even Google says that is a myth and Google is careful not to say much about PageRank. Outgoing links have no effect on your PageRank unless you link to a page that is being penalized by Google. So be careful not to do that. Another myth is: "The more links I have pointing to my site, the higher my rank will be." That's not necessarily true. You could have a hundred sites with PageRank 0 or 1 linking to your site and while you may get a lot of hits from these links, you're not going to gain PageRank. Google considers a link from site A to site B as a vote for site B but there's nothing democratic about the way Google tallies the vote. It's like a board of directors meeting. If you own a lot of shares (have a high PageRank) your vote means something. For those of us who have one or two shares, our votes are almost meaningless. But hold on! That's not to say that we should discourage low ranking sites to link us. The more links you have pointing to your site the better regardless of their PageRank. Incoming links to your site will have no effect on your Google PageRank unless, as we've already talked about, those sites linking to you have more PageRank than you and in that case you profit. Besides, one or more of the little guys that link to you could go viral. Suddenly, they could have a Google pageRank of 6 or even 8 and if they're still linking to you - Wow! So the bottom line on trading links is - linking out and linking in is a good thing. After all, that's what the Web is all about anyway and no one understands that and has profited from that more than Google. Two caveats though, stay away from link farms and be very cautious about buying links. The best approach to gaining PageRank is to put up good content and then advertise it sociably and try to exchange links with reputable sites that are in your genre. If you're writing about Trout Fishing, let's say, don't go looking for links from sites selling Lenoliem Flooring - duh!