Sergey Brin

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This paper was originally published on January 29, 1998 at This is the HTMLized version, created because such an important paper about the web deserves more than a PDF.AbstractThe importance of a Web page is an inherently subjective matter, which depends on the readers interests, knowledge and attitudes. But there is still much that can be said objectively about the relative importance of Web pages. This paper describes PageRank, a method for rating Web pages objectively and mechanically, effectively measuring the human interest and attention devoted to them. We compare PageRank to an idealized random Web surfer. We show how to efficiently compute PageRank for large numbers of pages. And, we show how to apply PageRank to search and to user navigation.1. Introduction and MotivationThe World Wide Web creates many new challenges for information retrieval. It is very large and heterogeneous. Current estimates are that there are over 150 million web pages with a doubling life of less than one year. More importantly, the web pages are extremely diverse, ranging from "What is Joe having for lunch today?" to journals about information retrieval. In addition to these major challenges, search engines on the Web must also contend with inexperienced users and pages engineered to manipulate search engine ranking functions. However, unlike "at" document collections, the World Wide Web is hypertext and provides considerable auxiliary information on top of the text of the web pages, such as link structure and link text. In this paper, we take advantage of the link structure of the Web to produce a global "importance" ranking of every web page. This ranking, called PageRank, helps search engines and users quickly make sense of the vast heterogeneity of the World Wide Web.1.1 Diversity of Web PagesAlthough there is already a large literature on academic citation analysis, there are a number of significant differences between web pages and academic publications. Unlike academic papers which are scrupulously reviewed, web pages proliferate free of quality control or publishing costs. With a simple program, huge numbers of pages can be created easily, artificially inflating citation counts. Because the Web environment contains competing profit-seeking ventures, attention-getting strategies evolve in response to search engine algorithms. For this reason, any evaluation strategy which counts replicable features of web pages is prone to manipulation. Further, academic papers are well-defined units of work, roughly similar in quality and number of citations, as well as in their purpose to extend the body of knowledge. Web pages vary on a much wider scale than academic papers in quality, usage, citations, and length. A random archived message posting asking an obscure question about an IBM computer is very different from the IBM home page. A research article about the effects of cellular phone use on driver attention is very different from an advertisement for a particular cellular provider. The average web page quality experienced by a user is higher than the quality of the average web page. This is because the simplicity of creating and publishing web pages results in a large fraction of low-quality web pages that users are unlikely to read. There are many axes along which web pages may be differentiated. In this paper, we deal primarily with one - an approximation of the overall relative importance of web pages.1.2 PageRankIn order to measure the relative importance of web pages, we propose PageRank, a method for computing a ranking for every web page based on the graph of the web. PageRank has applications in search, browsing, and traffic estimation. Section 2 gives a mathematical description of PageRank and provides some intuitive justification. In Section 3, we show how we efficiently compute PageRank for as many as 518 million hyperlinks. To test the utility of PageRank for search, we built a web search engine called Google (Section 5). We also demonstrate how PageRank can be used as a browsing aid in Section 7.3.2 A Ranking for Every Page on the Web2.1 Related WorkThere has been a great deal of work on academic citation analysis \cite{Garfield}. Goffman \cite{Goffman_1971}  has published an interesting theory of how information flow in a scientific community is an epidemic process. There has been a fair amount of recent activity on how to exploit the link structure of large hypertext systems such as the web. Pitkow recently completed his Ph.D. thesis on "Characterizing World Wide Web Ecologies"\cite{Pirolli_1996,Catledge_1995} with a wide variety of link-based analysis. Weiss discuss clustering methods that take the link structure into account \cite{Weiss_1996}. Spertus \cite{Spertus_1997} discusses information that can be obtained from the link structure for a variety of applications. Good visualization demands added structure on the hypertext and is discussed in \cite{Mukherjea_1995,Mukherjea_1995a}. Recently, Kleinberg \cite{Kleinberg_1999} has developed an interesting model of the web as Hubs and Authorities, based on an eigenvector calculation on the co-citation matrix of the web. Finally, there has been some interest in what "quality" means on the net from a library community \cite{Tillman}. It is obvious to try to apply standard citation analysis techniques to the web's hypertextual citation structure. One can simply think of every link as being like an academic citation. So, a major page like will have tens of thousands of backlinks (or citations) pointing to it. This fact that the Yahoo home page has so many backlinks generally imply that it is quite important. Indeed, many of the web search engines have used backlink count as a way to try to bias their databases in favor of higher quality or more important pages. However, simple backlink counts have a number of problems on the web. Some of these problems have to do with characteristics of the web which are not present in normal academic citation databases.2.2 Link Structure of the WebWhile estimates vary, the current graph of the crawlable Web has roughly 150 million nodes (pages) and 1.7 billion edges (links). Every page has some number of forward links (outedges) and backlinks (inedges) (see Figure 1). We can never know whether we have found all the backlinks of a particular page but if we have downloaded it, we know all of its forward links at that time.