As an SEO expert or even a new link builder, attempting to build the popularity and authority of your client’s website can be very challenging given Google’s heavy restrictions and punishments on black hat tactics. What may seem like a great outlet where you can share a new piece of content or resource listing can also possibly be unhealthy and potentially detrimental for your backlink profile. New tools are often adopted into SEO best practices and others have gone away. Google PageRank Toolbar, a common tool once heavily relied on in determining a site’s authority, may be just one of those that may have become obsolete.
Is PageRank Dead?
In October of this year, Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land pondered is “Google Toolbar PageRank Finally & Officially Dead?” Predictions on the extinction of this tool stemmed from Google’s Matt Cutts’ earlier implications of no planned updates to the Google Toolbar PageRank back in 2013. But confusion abounded when John Mueller of Google Switzerland in October made reference to PageRank updates in a Google Webmaster hangout stating that “PageRank is something that we haven’t updated in over a year now and we’re probably not going to be updating it moving forward – at least in the Toolbar PageRank.”
What’s up with PageRank today?
Developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford, PageRank is a quality metric that Google implemented to determine a page’s value, importance and reliability on the web. A value of 0 to 10 is established for a page to help measure its importance. This was done in an effort to help the search engine determine what should rank in its engine, however PageRank doesn’t directly affect a website’s ranking. For example, a website could have a PR 4 and rank above a site that has a PR 8 authority for the same keyword query.
PageRank is becoming less valued by SEO experts as evidence proves that Google PageRank tools don’t work appropriately and aren’t updated frequently. For example, the homepage of a .GOV website that we ran through the PR Toolbar currently indicates a “PR 0″ value versus another tool, PagerankChecker, values that same website at a “PR 5.” Even our own homepage was ranking at “PR 0″ last week on the PR Toolbar and is now back up to “PR4;” which indicates the wobbly temperament of this tool. How are you supposed to find link earning opportunities when you can’t rely on the information?