Google's Pagerank and beyond: The Science of Search Engine Rankings

Google's Pagerank and beyond: The Science of Search Engine Rankings

Google's Pagerank and beyond: The Science of Search Engine Rankings

Google's Pagerank and beyond: The Science of Search Engine Rankings


Why doesn't your home page appear on the first page of search results, even when you query your own name? How do other web pages always appear at the top? What creates these powerful rankings? And how? The first book ever about the science of web page rankings, Google's PageRank and Beyond supplies the answers to these and other questions and more.

The book serves two very different audiences: the curious science reader and the technical computational reader. The chapters build in mathematical sophistication, so that the first five are accessible to the general academic reader. While other chapters are much more mathematical in nature, each one contains something for both audiences. For example, the authors include entertaining asides such as how search engines make money and how the Great Firewall of China influences research.

The book includes an extensive background chapter designed to help readers learn more about the mathematics of search engines, and it contains several MATLAB codes and links to sample web data sets. The philosophy throughout is to encourage readers to experiment with the ideas and algorithms in the text.

Any business seriously interested in improving its rankings in the major search engines can benefit from the clear examples, sample code, and list of resources provided.

Many illustrative examples and entertaining asides
Accessible and informal style
Complete and self-contained section for mathematics review


As teachers of linear algebra, we wanted to write a book to help students and the general public appreciate and understand one of the most exciting applications of linear algebra today—the use of link analysis by web search engines. This topic is inherently interesting, timely, and familiar. For instance, the book answers such curious questions as: How do search engines work? Why is Google so good? What’s a Google bomb? How can I improve the ranking of my homepage in Teoma?

We also wanted this book to be a single source for material on web search engine rankings. a great deal has been written on this topic, but it’s currently spread across numerous technical reports, preprints, conference proceedings, articles, and talks. Here we have summarized, clarified, condensed, and categorized the state of the art in web ranking.

Our Audience

We wrote this book with two diverse audiences in mind: the general science reader and the technical science reader. the title echoes the technical content of the book, but in addition to being informative on a technical level, we have also tried to provide some entertaining features and lighter material concerning search engines and how they work.

The Mathematics

Our goal in writing this book was to reach a challenging audience consisting of the general scientific public as well as the technical scientific public. of course, a complete understanding of link analysis requires an acquaintance with many mathematical ideas. Nevertheless, we have tried to make the majority of the book accessible to the general scientific public. For instance, each chapter builds progressively in mathematical knowledge, technicality, and prerequisites. As a result, Chapters 1-4, which introduce web search and link analysis, are aimed at the general science reader. Chapters 6, 9, and 10 are particularly mathematical. the last chapter, Chapter 15, “The Mathematics Guide,” is a condensed but complete reference for every mathematical concept used in the earlier chapters. Throughout the book, key mathematical concepts are highlighted in shaded boxes. By postponing the mathematical definitions and formulas until Chapter 15 (rather than interspersing them throughout the text), we were able to create a book that our mathematically sophisticated readers will also enjoy. We feel this approach is a compromise that allows us to serve both audiences: the general and technical scientific public.

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