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The amount of page rank voted to any given link also depends on how many total links are on the linking page. Plus, Google can decide that certain pages should not transfer any Page Rank at all. So predicting what the toolbar will tell you in the future involves pretty much guesswork.
There has been a limited toolbar update within the last few days.
In some cases, homepages with no direct inbounds have gone pr'0 while internal pages with inbounds have retained their Page Rank.
If CNN wanted to, they could create pages and probably get top spots overnight if they wanted. They might say pr 0 but they most certainly wouldn't be.
Here's a thread that took the Page Rank equation apart to a degree - perhaps it will help you understand why there is no easy answer for your question.
The difference between toolbar PR and real PR has been discussed here many times, including some confirmations from GoogleGuy, so just search for it.
As for how much PR is required to get into top 20, it completely depends from the keyphrase and number of competing pages. There are search phrases where PR0 is enough and phrases where PR10 is not. Just check PR of first 20 pages in SERPs for this particular keyphrase - it's not entirely reliable way, but will give some clue.
PR1 needs 1 'points'
PR2 needs 10 'points'
PR3 needs 100 'points'
PR4 needs 1000 'points'
PR5 needs 10000 'points'
9The exponential nature of PR explains why getting to PR 9 and 10 is so tricky)
PR 'points'given out by a page, again this is a simple example, can be roughly calculated by dividing the above values by the number of outbound links.
e.g. a PR3 with 20 links gives 5 'points' to each page, this would move a page with no other inbound links to a PR1
Assuming that the pages that you get links from have an average of 20 links you would need 20,000 links from PR2 sites to get to a PR5. Likewise 2,000 links from PR3 sites would be required.
The good news is that you would only need 2 such links from PR6 sites to make it to PR5.
There are many more factors to consider such as dampening, the actual PR of a page can be PR?.0 to?.99 and make links worth different amounts from what appears to be thesame PR value etc.
I hope that helps
Let's say Google decides to only pass on 75% of the PR from a page then you get the situation where a single link out from a PR3 page could give you a PR3 or PR2, depending on the strength of the PR3 (is it a PR3.0 or PR3.7?).
The dampening factor is required to stop people creating long sets of pages with one link to another (which would lead to an infinite amount of PR6 pages from the initial PR6 page).
No-one really knows what the dampening factor is.
Given the new information, your new site could go to PR3 but it's still very possible it will end up a PR2.
There is no way to predict rankings based on PR. Just pick a SERP and compare the PR of the top 10 sites.
IMO, it is updated constantly.
I admit, it is nice to see the green bar, but no more than a passing glance should be dedicated to it.
So to stop any further questions that have already been answered earlier in the thread, here are some pointers:
PR updates constantly
The foolbar updates when G decides to
There is no simple way to guess what pr you may have when updated, however, you could assume that a pr4 outbound link from a page with no other outbound links to a new page will result in a pr3 when updated
PR seems to hold little importance to ranking IMO
PR is less relevant now than it has been in the past
A lower pr, on topic relevant link is worth more than a higher pr, off topic link for positioning purposes in the se's
IMO = In My Opinion
IBL = In Bound Links
SE = Search Engine
As an add-on: Does anyone know if the PR shown in the google directory is more frequently updated/accurate than that displayed on the toolbar?
On my site there is a difference of 2 points between the toolbar PR and the google directory PR-so I rather hope the directory PR is more trustworthy ;-)
The directory seems to be less frequently updated and less accurate than the displayed toolbar (which is probably very inaccurate aswell)
Regarding the "how many links" questions, I've found a page at seogeeks.com with the following claims:
To get the PR you want, you need about 18 links from pages with the same PR, assuming 50 links per page.
So if you want a PR7, you'll need links from 18 PR7 pages, assuming each of these pages has about 50 outbound links. Alternatively, you could have 3 links from PR8 pages.
Well, that's just what they say. I don't know how current that information is. And can't remember the exact url :)