According to DEFINITIONEXPLORER, LocalRank is a ranking algorithm patented by Google. It is used for the local reassessment of normal search results by the algorithm evaluating the networking of topic-related pages in the ranking. In connection with the PageRank, an algorithm that analyzes the link structure of a website, the relevance of search result pages is reassessed. The aim is to present the user with the most relevant and helpful websites for his search query. According to Google, the ranking is determined in three steps: ranking, re-ranking and weighting.
Simply explained: How does the LocalRank work?
In order to assess websites with regard to their actual relevance and quality, part of the index (assumed up to 1000 websites is assumed) is extracted for the LocalRank. Then the reciprocal links between the extracted websites are analyzed. Links that originate from link farms and are unrelated to the examined website are ignored. Non-factual (spam) links have no further relevance and are no longer taken into account when calculating the LocalRank.
After analyzing and evaluating these selected websites, Google generates a new index that is intended to help users achieve more relevant search results. The new ranking generated by the LocalRank can differ significantly from the general ranking. Only the combination of LocalRank and all other factors (including PageRank) determines the final ranking of a website.
An example: An online shop for sports shoes is examined for its hyperlinks together with 999 other related websites. A large number of websites link – for example in connection with running shoes – to the sports shoe online shop. If a search query for running shoes is made via Google, the search engine evaluates the online shop for sports shoes as a relevant search result based on its topic-relevant backlinks (and other signals) and outputs it to the user.
Ranking procedure in three steps
With LocalRank, an existing list of search result placements (the so-called OldScore) is partially re- ranked or reassessed (the so-called re-ranking). The LocalRank procedure checks how many links the analyzed website obtains from the examined subset of up to 1000 websites. If the number of inbound links is high, this is a positive signal to the LocalRank. The subsequent calculation of the LocalScore with the OldScore results in a new ranking, the so-called NewScore.
For a better understanding, you will find the three steps again at a glance:
The ranking is the usual ranking based on a search term, based on PageRank or another algorithm. The result is called the old score or old assessment.
When re-ranking, a subset (e.g. the first 1,000 results) of the old evaluation is re-ranked. Let’s say your page is among those 1,000 results. Now it is checked how many links from the other 999 pages refer to your page. This is how Google determines the local rank. The result is called the local score or local evaluation.
The old score and the local score are then standardized and assessed. This creates the new score or the new evaluation and presents it in the list of results.
Google wants to determine the final ranking (New Rank) of a website as a kind of average of the PageRank and the Local Rank. It is unclear whether this average rating is actually used by Google.
Background: LocalRank and the Florida update
At the end of 2003, the quality of Google search results no longer corresponded to the quality that had been used until then. The old Google algorithm pursued the idea that links provide reliable information about the quality of a website, as they represent a kind of recommendation. The PageRank therefore took into account all links that led to a website and evaluated them as a sign of their relevance to the topic. However, this quality criterion became obsolete due to the resulting trade in links.
As a result, the website operator’s manipulated results falsified the ranking. Many content providers used the link farms, which were very popular at the time, as soon as it became known that link popularity had a major influence on the ranking. The sole purpose of buying and trading backlinks at that time was to increase one’s own PageRank value.
Google strikes back
In order to regain the trust of search engine users believed to be lost and to eliminate spam, Google struck back on November 16, 2003 with the so-called Florida update. As a result, thousands of websites were pushed back in the ranking until they were completely undetectable – even though many of them had previously occupied top 10 positions. As a result, many shop operators had to struggle with high financial losses or even business ruin.
But what happened? In order to get to grips with link farms, Google first used LocalRank as an extension of the PageRank it had previously used. For website operators, this was an unmistakable sign that unrelated content was no longer tolerated in the top 10 or top 100 positions. For search engine optimizers, in return, this means generating high-quality content and ensuring a clean backlink profile.
LocalRank and PageRank: what are the differences?
The PageRank follows the approach: the more links refer to a website, the higher the PageRank. From this, the algorithm in turn deduces how valuable a website is in relation to a certain topic or keyword, without paying attention to the actual quality of the individual links.
The LocalRank, on the other hand, evaluates a subset of search results. The algorithm checks how many topic-related links the analyzed website draws from a pool of up to 1000 websites. Unrelated backlinks are ignored.
What both have in common is that both algorithms use the link structures to examine how relevant a search results page is. There are differences in the evaluation of these hyperlinks.