When was the last time you heard anyone mention the term PageRank?
It's the benchmark of a successful website.
Or at least, it used to be.
Now it seems to be that 'thing' we all used to talk about, but
shouldn't mention any more.
A Brief History of PageRank
PageRank was one of the first algorithms used by Google to measure the
importance of a web page.
The logic was that web authors will link to useful or popular web
pages more often than to less useful pages. Particularly those best
suited to support the content they were writing about.
So PageRank counted the number and quality of links pointing to web
page, and gave the page a ranking out of 10.
Each link was like a vote. The more links/votes a page has, the higher
its PageRank (more or less).
This was then joined with the frequency of keywords on a page. So a
web page could have different a PageRank for different keywords.
The general understanding of PageRank became:
When a web page has a high PageRank for a keyword, it will display
higher in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Thus, the better the
PageRank a web page has, the better a web page must be.
From this, web masters and other types soon found a way to take
advantage of the simplicity of PageRank.
Achieving a high PageRank for a particular keyword became a lucrative
and competitive business.
And then one day, it all just seemed to stop working.
New websites would get stuck on a PageRank of 0. For older websites,
their PageRank seemed to be unresponsive. SEO efforts appeared to be
ineffective in improving the PageRank.
As a web developer, this vexed me. I was terribly vexed (Gladiator
reference). Why are the websites I build deemed worthless in the eyes
So like we all do when we want to know something, I Google'd it.
It turns out that we had all thinking about PageRank the wrong way,
and Google responded to change this.
The PageRank Phase-Out
As far back as 2009, Google stated that site owners were focusing on
PageRank too much. We were giving it more value than it actually had;
and so Google were going to phase it out.
In October of 2009, Google removed PageRank measurements from their
Other websites that allowed people to find their PageRank still
existed though. So many failed to notice what Google were doing.
Then, in November 2014, Google stopped updating their visible PageRank
feed. This was the source that the other online tools were using.
Google followed up a year later by announcing that there would not be
any more updates to the PageRank feed.
You'll remember that this is about the time that the SEO community
began to shift their focus to content.
And Google started to release new algorithms, and update their older
The SEO community scrambled, trying to determine the new way to
improve SEO. Searching for any sneaky advantage that they could.
Then Google started recommending everyone shift their focus towards
creating 'quality content'.
And now we're back into the present.
So is PageRank dead or does it still matter in SEO?
PageRank is still 'a thing'. It's just had it's badge of honour
PageRank will always be an important factor to determine the best
results for a search query.
But webmasters shouldn't focus on PageRank as a definitive measure of
What's next then?
Search engine optimisation now encompasses a lot more than just
keywords and links.
While keywords and links are still an important part of SEO, they are
now a minor part of a larger set of metrics.
In fact, Search Engine Optimisation is such a large topic now, that
it's better for me to point you to the masters.
Our first port of call is always the Google Webmasters website. This site explains the
fundamentals of how search works. It also guide you to help Google
find, index and rank your site.
If you're a beginner in SEO, I recommend heading to the Moz website
next. Their SEO
guides are easy to follow, and their free Moz tools are great to find where you
should start first.
Then check out Majestic SEO for more
tools to give you an in-depth view of your website.
Of course, you can keep following our Blog for the big updates in the
SEO. And check our social media feeds for useful SEO tips and advice.
So if you're still using the PageRank of your website as a measurement
of success, it's time to catch up.
You should now be talking in Conversation rates, Bounce rates and
Agree? Disagree? Start a conversation on the iASP Central Facebook Page or
Get in Touch.