Google’s PageRank is Now a Big Google Secret

Google is obliterating PageRank from public consumption.  What was once the end-all be-all measure of a website’s value in search rankings is now one for the history books.

Long the gold standard for site authority, the PR toolbar is officially going the way of another formerly helpful Google SEO tool, “Authorship”.

No more PR for us, but Google will continue to use that data to rank websites.

We’ll miss all the old SEO tools (Google has shuttered many in the past), but in the case of PageRank, we’ll still feel the effects of its existence.  We just won’t have access to any data whatsoever concerning PR.

That’s because Google isn’t really obliterating PageRank.  They’ll still be using it behind the scenes.  The data from PageRank will figure into their algorithm, but they won’t be feeding us that data any longer.

PageRank’s demise is no surprise.

Not that anyone has paid attention to PR lately anyway…the updates were becoming ludicrously far apart.  We sometimes waited as long as 10 months for a PR update.  In fact, the last time we saw any updates at all was December 2013.

It’s no wonder, too.  PageRank is essentially a measure of incoming links.  In the heady heyday of early SEO, the more links the better.  PR was used as link-trading currency.  The higher your PR, the more you had to bargain with when it came to trading (selling) links.

PageRank created a link-brokering monster.

Some say PR ruined the internet.  It did tend to encourage rampant, unfettered link trading as well as an entire underground market of domain brokerage based completely on value as assessed by PR.

If you had a good website with high PR, it was only a matter of time before someone spotted it and wanted in on the benefits.  If you unwittingly left your comments open to the public, you’d end up with an infinite stream of comment spam full of outgoing links.

You could also expect emails asking for links.  For some, it was a boon…selling links became a wonderful way to cash in.

Later, however, Google changed tactics and started penalizing sites for linking to “bad sites”.  At that point, those high PR site owners may have regretted their entrepreneurial activities in selling links to anyone and everyone.

roger_and_logo_mozSo, what’s left for SEO?

With the now-official absence of the PageRank tool, what’s left for us to use when comparing the value of websites?

Enter Moz, which offers it’s Domain Authority and Page Authority rankings.  Used by countless SEO tools (they offer an API), Domain and Page Authority offer a clean, elegant system for measuring the ranking value of any given website on a scale of 1 to 100.

Available on the MozBar, Moz’s SEO toolbar, Domain Authority is comprised of the following:

  1. MozRank
  2. MozTrust
  3. Link Profile
  4. (and more!)

Of course nobody knows how well this parallels Google’s PageRank measure.

The final word.

In any case, Google has washed their hands of the whole ordeal.  Links aren’t “votes”, as Google once thought.  They’re currency.

Can we look forward to the end of comment spam, link brokering and all the other activities attributed to PageRank?  Not at all, since we know Google still values links.  We just no longer know how Google is valuing the sites we get links from, since there’s no PR.  But rest assured, behind the scenes, Google is still watching, still measuring.

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