PageRank refers to a specific score in Google’s ranking algorithm which reflects how “plugged in” a site is. Essentially, PageRank is measured by the number of backlinks associated with the website, and is perhaps one of the most well-known factors in Google’s algorithm. As a result, many people believe that improving PageRank is a surefire way to improve a website’s results in a search engine. While generally speaking this is true, PageRank is not the only thing Google takes into consideration, and so only focusing on it at the expense of things like website quality and targeted content will likely do more harm than good.
The most important thing to remember with developing links to and from your site is that it is just one aspect in a much larger picture. Google incorporates over 200 factors in determining the quality and relevance of a given website. Not only would it be nearly impossible to keep track of all of these factors and target them specifically, many of them are not actually known.
So if you focus your entire site on generating links, you are accounting for a single known and ignoring 199 other factors. The details of many of these are only known by Google employees; however, Google has mentioned several different things which have a chance at improving the relevancy of your site. Meta tags, titles, content quality and update frequency all have their roles in Google’s algorithm, and to ignore these in order to improve your website’s PageRank score is likely not to get you very far.
In fact, since nobody outside of Google knows the exact influence each of these has on a website’s search engine ranking, it is counterproductive to sacrifice website quality in the hopes of boosting PageRank. By sacrificing quality, you could be negating any benefit which PageRank might have given you, and are likely setting your website up to be flagged as spam.
Developing backlinks does have its part in an optimized website. However, it is not the only part or even the most influential part in determining PageRank. As always, the focus should be on quality, targeted content. After that, a lot of backlinks is a nice bonus to your search engine ranking.