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Do unlinked pages have PageRank?

 6:29 pm on Jan 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

I have a large site with 50,000+ dynamic pages. Even breaking them down into top level subpages, it is increasingly difficult to link them all (eventualy) from the homepage. I am told that it is important to have a link from the homepage in order for the subpage to have pagerank, and yet I see many large sites like imdb.com only have search boxes and no list of links to all their content.

1) How do sites like imdb have rank for their subpages if they are not directly linked from their homepage?

2) I'm assuming sites like imdb submit site maps to google; but at the pace they keep adding, do they have to constantly submit new sitemaps every day?


[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:38 pm (utc) on Jan 20, 2014]
[edit reason] fixed typo at poster request [/edit]



 8:06 pm on Jan 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

PageRank is not the same as Toolbar PageRank which is inaccurate. PageRank is not as important as it was 15 years ago. Over the last 15 years Google has added and changed many ranking factors which has led many webmasters to no longer focus on PageRank.

What still is important is having quality links to your important pages. The links can be from your homepage, your subpages or from relevant external websites that send converting traffic. Pages with high value content tend to naturally attract backlinks and Google looks for signals like that.

Large websites have like IMDB tend to have a large amount of external websites linking to its deep content. Think about all of the bloggers who have written about their favorite movies or their favorite performers and linking to the specific IMDB page on that movie or performer that is buried deep in IMDB.

Most content management systems update the sitemaps everyday to make it easier for Google to crawl. Sitemaps are great at exposing new content to Googlebot but gaining real traffic and links is even better so think about developing non-Google traffic sources.


 8:23 pm on Jan 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thanks, this is useful. However, most traffic doesn't come to my site from people doing searches from the homepage and then linking to the content; it comes from people coming directly to a topic page via a google search (and then, maybe, linking to the content). People come to my site not to do searches but are already interested in a specific topic and are sent directly to that topic from google.

So If the topic page doesn't have any internal links from the top-level pages to begin with, how will they discover a particular topic page to begin with if it has no PR?



 8:39 pm on Jan 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

PageRank and crawling/discovering are two different issues.

PageRank is calculated by measuring link power.

Crawling aka Google discovering new content can be influenced by PageRank (higher PageRank can lead to more robust crawling). But Googlebot crawls pages that it discovers from many different source like following links, sitemaps, browsers with Google toolbar and other ways. If Google crawls a page it does not mean Google will retain it in its index or rank it. Having a strong website with many different ranking factors will help that.

[edited by: goodroi at 11:28 am (utc) on Jan 21, 2014]


 9:36 pm on Jan 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

So If the topic page doesn't have any internal links from the top-level pages to begin with, how will they discover a particular topic page to begin with if it has no PR?

Do you then have something like this: home page --> topic-category-page --> topic-subcategory-page --> topic-sub-sub-category-page --> topic page

This could be good too. And if people come directly to your topic pages via Google search, this is good, much better than everybody landing on the home page and then doing the search.


 9:47 pm on Jan 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

Yep. But with thousands of pages, I have many hundreds of top level category pages which themselves link to hundreds of topic pages. I just wondered if all that was necessary. I guess it is if you want the pages to be discovered in the first place, otherwise they will have no PR of any kind.


 1:30 am on Jan 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

In terms of toolbar pagerank, it is possible for a page to have pagerank (and rank) with no incoming links.

I have some orphan pages that have never been linked to (I created them, but then decided not to use them), and they have a toolbar pagerank of 3.

It seems to me that all pages get *some* amount of pagerank based on the authority of the domain as a whole.


 1:38 am on Jan 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

I see. Interesting. But I'm guessing, all things being equal, it's better to have linkage. For my top level pages, Any idea of the maximum number of links on a page before Google stops checking?


 3:08 am on Jan 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

Think about the humans, please. Everyone has had this experience:

You read an interesting page on an unfamiliar site. After wandering around to other pages, possibly to other sites, you want to go back to that first page. You try everything in your browser history; none of the likely names is a match. Nor yet the unlikely names.

So you go to the front page of the site and try to follow leads. No luck.

As a last resort, you return to the search engine that brought you to the page in the first place. You can no longer remember what search terms you used, so you feed in a memorable phrase from the target page. No luck.

That's why everything has to link from somewhere. Some of those humans would be happy to link to you ... if only they could, just once, find the page again.

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