After reading this article on Search Engine Land, I started thinking about the importance of Page Rank and whether it is actually ‘dead’. People still refer to Page Rank, whether it be businesses who are looking for someone to build them a certain number of links from PR sites, or SEOs who offer services designed to get ‘PR links’ or increase a site’s PR.
But the truth of it is, professional website companies like Bixa Media have come to realise that there are probably more importance considerations than PR when carrying out optimisation projects, as the Search Engine Land article points out. So the question isn’t really about whether PR is dead, but really whether it’s still the most relevant metric we have to assess links and websites. In which case, the answer is probably a resounding no.
In the past, Google would usually roll out a Page Rank update every 3 months or so, which meant that even though a site’s PR was only a reflection of what Google thought of it the last time it updated Page Ranks, it was never going to be more than a few weeks or a couple of months out of date.
However, seeing as the last update was around February 2013, which means that there hasn’t been a Page Rank update for around 8 months, and the fact that Matt Cutts has actually said that he would be surprised if there was another update this year (and he should know, right?), a website’s PR could be considerably out of date and inaccurate – especially when you consider all the updates to the algorithm in those 8-9 months.
It’s unlikely that Google has done away with Page Rank altogether, but as it is something that has traditionally been used by SEOs and webmasters to source links to help them game the search engines and artificially increase their rankings, it seems like Google is less keen to make the information available to those who use it for that purpose. So as a useful SEO metric or quality indicator, it does seem that Page Rank has had it’s day – for the time being at least.
So what does this mean for SEO? There’s no indication of when Google might be looking to update Page Ranks, or indeed if they ever will again. The only thing you can be sure of is that until they do, basing any SEO decisions on PR alone is going to be pretty hit and miss, purely because you’re effectively using information that is around 9 months out of date, and in the ever-changing world of the web, that hardly sounds like a recipe for success.
Smart SEO providers and webmasters are looking to other, more up to date metrics easily available from a number of other providers, to assess the quality of sites and potential links; and it’s these companies and individuals who are more likely to be building high quality links, and reaping the benefits they offer.
If you’re a site owner managing your own SEO, it may be time to move away from the idea of Page Rank as a good indicator of where you should be getting your links from. And if you’re thinking of hiring someone to manage your SEO for you, you should now be better informed and realise that anyone who is simply offering you ‘x number of PR links’, is probably not as clued up on the latest and most effective SEO techniques as they’re telling you they are.