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Google PageRank: SEO Treasure or Fool's Gold? What the Experts Say…

One of the most controversial, misunderstood, confusing and debated topics in the SEO universe is the importance of PageRank. But let me be specific here. When I use the term “PageRank”, I’m not talking about Google’s 0-10 logarithmic toolbar PageRank, which is nothing more than a “superficial beauty contest” vanity tool – very much out-of-date, and does NOT have a direct impact on a site’s ranking. That fact was established long ago.

Google Removed PageRank Data From Webmaster Tools

In fact, Google removed PageRank data from Google Webmaster Tools back in October, 2009.

Here’s what Google Webmaster Central’s Susan Moskwa said about that move:

“We’ve been telling people for a long time that they shouldn’t focus on PageRank so much; many site owners seem to think it’s the most important metric for them to track, which is simply not true. We removed it [from Webmaster Tools] because we felt it was silly to tell people not to think about it, but then to show them the data, implying that they should look at it.

Personally, I would love to see us rémove PR from the Toolbar, but mine is not the only opinion in Google.” (Source: Google Webmaster Central)

There’s No Rhyme Or Reason To PageRank

No, when I use the term PageRank, I’m referring to the algorithm – one of the more than 200 signals Google uses to rank web pages. Personally, I’ve always thought that the importance of PageRank was overrated, and not nearly as important to rankings as it’s perceived to be by many.

Why do I feel that way? Because, whenever I do searches, I constantly see lower-PR URL’s ranked higher than higher-PR URL’s – constantly! Figure that one out. Also, I’ve seen my own PageRank decrease, while my traffic and sales continue to incréase. That sealed the deal for me.

Besides, you can’t control your PageRank, so why worry about it? There’s absolutely no rhyme or reason to it. It’s been my experience that the best way to improve your rankings is to play by the rules, and use common sense practices. That includes making sure your content is relevant to your keywords, and your keywords are relevant to the overall theme of your site.

Also, have a fast loading, user-friendly site, continually build up your site’s content, acquire as many quality, relevant backlinks as you possibly can, then let the proverbial chips fall where they may.

Now, let me state for the record, I am NOT an SEO expert, nor do I claim to be one. Unfortunately, neither are a bunch of other folks who write articles discussing PageRank like they know what they’re talking about. I can assure you, many of them DON’T. They’re simply parroting what they’ve heard elsewhere – often dispensing misinformation.

That’s why I decided to write this article – to give you the “true” facts about PageRank – not speculation or hearsay. All of the pertinent information presented in this article was gleaned from highly respected and acknowledged sources, top level SEO professionals and Google insiders – people who know what they’re talking about.

So, what do the experts think about PageRank and its importance – or lack thereof? Continue reading and see for yoursélf.

What Google Thinks About PageRank

Let’s get started by going straight to the horse’s mouth. This is what Google itself says about PageRank:

“Don’t bother thinking about it [PageRank]. We only update the PageRank displayed in Google Toolbar a few times a year; this is our respectful hint for you to worry less about PageRank, which is just one of over 200 signals that can affect how your site is crawled, indexed and ranked. PageRank is an easy metric to focus on, but just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s useful for you as a site owner. If you’re looking for metrics, we’d encourage you to check out Analytics, think about conversion rates, ROI (return on investment), relevancy, or other metrics that actually correlate to meaningful gains for your website or business.” (Source: Google Webmaster Central FAQ)

Google’s Director of Research, Peter Norvig, said that PageRank is overhyped and probably needs a new name. Norvig went onto say that the public’s focus on PageRank is misguided and it may be time for a new name.

“One thing that I think is still overhyped is PageRank. People think, yeah, you do this computation on the web graph and then you just order all the pages by that [PageRank]. Yes, that computation is important but it’s just one of many things. And people say, “Oh, well you’re stuck if you don’t have that.” We never felt that way. We never felt that it was such a big factor. It’s got the catchy name and the name recognition, but we’ve always looked at all the available data.” (Source: Search Engine Land)

And The Band Played On

Here’s what SEO Book’s Aaron Wall had to say about the importance of PageRank:

“PageRank is important to driving indexing, but for rankings, it is nowhere near as important as it once was. SEO has become a much more refined art.” (Source: SEO Book)

About The Author
David Jackson is a marketing consultant, and the owner of Free- – Powerful, free marketing tips to help grow your business!