The End of Google PageRank: Google Kills Off Its Most Visible Ranking Factor

We gather here today to remember Google PageRank.

John Mueller confirms that Google completely removes PageRank scores from the public eye. Google Toolbar and non-chrome browsers may still show the scores for the next few weeks, but enjoy it while it lasts. That data will soon be unavailable—if it hasn’t disappeared already.

PageRank was the first algorithm Google used to put itself on the map. It incentivized users to use Google over other search engines like Lycos and Yahoo.

PageRank helped establish that building quality backlinks is critical to today’s SEO strategy. But PageRank also had its share of controversies. And now that it will be gone, ranking on Google becomes an even more mysterious process. No longer will you get to see how your webpage scores.

PageRank Will Still Be Part of Google’s Algorithms

Slider 2 Graph growthGary Illyes explained that PageRank is only being removed from Toolbar. It will still be part of Google’s algorithms.

For years, PageRank was considered one of the prominent Google ranking factors. And it still will be, but not for our eyes. Like many others we know (site speed, meta tags, domain history, etc.), PageRank won’t be visible.

Remembering Google PageRank

PageRank’s visibility is dead, but no one’s exactly in mourning. And that’s because there hasn’t been much to mourn about recently.

PageRank scores haven’t been updated in ages, and Google had pretty much forecasted its eventual decay with the release of Chrome, which did not need a toolbar since its search bar was built-in. There’s been little reason for users to download the Google PageRank toolbar outside of the vain hope that PageRank would update again.

But it never did. And now, it never will.

Now, we can look fondly—semi-fondly, anyway—at its rich history and controversial beginnings. At its best, it gave validation that you were doing something right with your website. A numeric indication showing your site’s importance. But at its worst, PageRank bred black hat SEO techniques like a plague.

In the 2000s, PageRank was seen as an indicator of how vital users thought a page was according to its website ranking. Later, it was decided PageRank was what Google thought about a page, not users. As Google gained authority as the world’s Number One Search Engine, web admins began to pursue PageRank using unsavory means like link spam to increase their score illegitimately. Hence the gradual drop in support of it.

But PageRank is still going to be part of Google’s ranking factors. Links are still just about the most important ranking factor there is. “Importance” has given way to things like “trust” and “authority.” And recent search engine rankings show that the quality of the sites linking to you is essential. The only thing changing is that web admins won’t feel pressured to game the system any longer. The temptation has been removed entirely.

Will comments still be filled with unrelated garbage links? A practice that arose from the rise of PageRank? Probably. Old habits die hard, after all. But that’s what the nofollow tag is for. PageRank will continue to exist.

What to Do in a Post-PageRank World

Google logoSo, how can you tell if your search engine optimization efforts are working? Is all your hard work paying off? Without that visual score provided by PageRank, how do you know if you’re doing well?

Your ranking position on the SERPS should be a pretty good indication of your site’s performance if your site moves up; good job! You’re doing everything Google wants. You can also check Google Search Console and see if you have any warnings. If things are all clear, keep up the excellent work.

The only thing for sure is to follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. If you focus on delivering user-oriented content and practices—not trying to cheat your Google PageRank score like in the old days—you’ll end up with a site both Google and users will love.

But even this will only take you so far. You need a complete strategy incorporating SEO services to climb in the ranks.

Contact SEO Inc. and start ranking today!

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