What’s Up with Google PageRank? [UPDATE: 15/04/2016]
One of the more confusing SEO tools available is Google PageRank. Due to the availability and popularity of the PageRank icon in the Google Toolbar, many falsely assume that PageRank (offering a score of 0-10) is the primary indicator of a website’s position on a Search Engine Result Page, or SERP. It is, in fact, not.
Huh? Come again. [UPDATED: 15 April 2016]
As of today, 15 April 2016, Google has shut down the feed to the PageRank Toolbar.
This means that the toolbar no longer works (i.e. if you use the toolbar, you’ll notice that every site now scores a big fat zero). This does NOT mean that backlinks have lost their importance. Popularity/authority in cyberspace, by virtue of backlinks to a site, is STILL one of the most important SEO metrics. However, we can no longer easily measure a website’s PR strength. Why? Probably because of the abuse of this function: the selling of high PR pages, etc. etc. (That said, toolbars from Ahrefs and Moz are sufficient replacements .)
Bottomline? Google has turned off the feed to the toolbar, not devalued backlinks.
The word PageRank is named after Larry Page, one of the founders of Google. Larry’s Rank is an algorithm he developed to score pages on their inter-linking in cyberspace. That’s the first point to note. It scores each page, not each website. Second, it is only one of two hundred metrics that Google uses to index sites, and the Google PageRank Toolbar can be fairly inaccurate. So, PageRank then is Larry’s ranking system to measure backlinks to a particular page, not where your website ranks in Google’s search results. In other words, you need not worry if you seem to have a poor PageRank but enjoy a good SERP rank on your primary keyword phrases. It’s entirely possible for your site to have a good page rank—you’re on first page, for example—but have a poor PageRank. (This will certainly happen in less competitive industries.)
That said, of course a high PageRank is better than a low one. And building an authentic backlink portfolio is crucial—which is another conversation. (In short, it is important to cultivate a growing number of backlinks to all the priority pages on your site. This will help each priority page perform better and just as a rising tide lifts all boats, it will help the website as a whole, too.)
For thoroughness sake, let me offer a quick explanation of the Google PageRank Toolbar itself.
Google PageRank Toolbar
The PageRank Toolbar scale is thought to be a logarithmic scale. For example, zero on the Toolbar is 0-10 in real PageRank; 1 on the Toolbar is in actuality 10-100; 2 is 100-1,000; 3 is 1,000-10,000; 4 is 10,000-100,000 and so on. In other words, it becomes significantly harder to move from 3 to 4, than it was to move from 2 to 3. Sites like Facebook have a PageRank of 9, and very few sites score 10. (Twitter does.)
If you would like to get to grips with Google’s PageRank, I suggest you read these two articles. (Oh, and good luck with getting your brain around this!)
If you don’t have a head for numbers but do want to master your own SEO progress, don’t worry about Larry’s PageRank. Have a look at the packages and services we offer, and let’s get you ranking well in search results.