Page ranks are defined numerically, from 1 through 10 - 10, being the highest. Very few pages have a page rank of 10, and anything above a 6 is considered very good. There are many factors that determine a page's rank, but the main variable seems to be based on how many websites link to your page. The higher page ranked sites that link to your site, the better. In other words, 10 links to your page from high ranking sites like CNN.com, Yahoo.com, etc, will easily outweigh five times that amount of links from unknown sites with low page ranks. And, just to make it trickier, the amount of "credit" your site gets from incoming links, is also divided by the amount of sites you link OUT to.
Equally important, is your site's actual content. It needs to be information that people can use and take active interest in. Having content that matches your keywords should also go without saying.
Why Is This Important?
Page rank is extremely important, in that it determines how high you get on search engine results. And just as it's helpful to have your incoming links be from reputable, trusted, relevant sites, your outbound links will also be more valuable to those pages you do link out to. This is important when negotiating for link exchanges with other sites. The higher your page ranking, the more desirable a link from your page will be to others - Including those willing to pay for said link.
Are There Ways To Generate Better Page Rank At No Cost?
Absolutely! To follow are some of the simplest steps you can take.
Build more pages: The more pages your site has, the more content it is generally considered to have. If your site only has 3 pages, the maximum page rank would be a 3. Make sure to have at least 8 relevant pages including the main page, in order to have a healthy amount of content.
Avoid Dead-end Links: Let's say you've worked real hard to get 8 good pages. Your page rank ideally has the potential to be a page rank of 8. However, if half those pages are not leading anywhere, you've got a problem. When the search engines "crawl" your site, they want to go from one page to the next. You can have a really great page, but if it has no other link on it to go somewhere new, it will be considered by the spider to be a dead-end page, which will hurt your site's page rank. Make sure every page has a door out, other than a back button (which to the bots, will generate the equivalent of a good old "Nothing more to see here" type statement). Combat this by making sure you at least have a link back to the index - or better yet, a site navigator at the base of each page with choices between the main pages of your site (ie. FAQ, About Us, Contact Us, etc). Again, these are pages that add convenience to your human visitors as well.
Create Internal Links: Remember to make links to yourself whenever relevant. For example, on your About Us page, don't just mention your online ordering system - hyperlink to the page where your visitor would need to go in order to begin an order. Not only are you creating another link for the crawler, you're also making it convenient for your guest to find that page right then and there, if they so desire.
Utilize Free Directory Listings: They may not always be big high ranking sites, but they are an easy way to get your name out there. You never know when someone might end up using one, and thus find you in the most unexpected of ways!
How To Generate More At Cost: Getting a high ranking site to link to you isn't always the easiest thing to do. Sometimes it is necessary to buy that privilege via ads. There are literally 100's of different options to choose from, however the most effective method these days is by purchasing text based links to your site. For the largest comprehensive list of quality paid link directories along with page rank statistical information visit: http://www.helpmyhits.com/paid-web-directories.php Some tips to stretch you advertising dollar as far as it will go would be linking to different pages of your website (not just the index) and also using different keywords in those links.
As you can see, page rank is a very real and vital aspect of web development that should always be kept in mind. Without it, your chances of being found easily on search engines is compromised. With it, you'll be on your way to a highly successful website.