I must admit, I’m glad to not have people freaking out all the time once their PageRank updates but there’s a lot of debate out there on whether or not PR is relevant today. Does PR still matter?
Updated 1/18/16 – Everything in this post is still updated and accurate.
If you look at forums and SEO blogs or blogs about blogs, you’ll certainly see comments about PageRank, usually in talk about finding backlinks, or why their “PR5” site is being outranked by PR N/A. You’ll see the same delusional ranting and regurgitating of words that I’ve been seeing for at least the past 5 years.
Self made authorities on the subject talk about PR and how you need to create more content to boost your PageRank but more content has absolutely nothing to do with PR at all. It all comes down to links.
The TRUTH About PageRank and Its’ Importance…or Lack of?
PageRank is usually included in a toolbar, like SEOquake. It was a good indicator of a page’s importance. This was helpful to SEOs because we were able to find higher PR sites and get links on those pages to our sites or client sites. It is something that did, at least indirectly help us with rankings.
A lot of people were analyzing PR in the wrong way though, they would just judge the SERPs and the rankings by who had higher PR. PR was never part of the algorithm itself for ranking though, it wasn’t a ranking factor directly but it did contribute to factors that were important.
Public PageRank Updates DIED on December 6th, 2013.
Well over two years ago, is the last time PR will ever be updated. At least that’s what the SEO news sites tell you, along with SEO bloggers and other people of interest in the industry.
What they FAIL to tell you is that PR certainly is not dead internally, but only to what we can see. It’s almost like TrustRank. TrustRank has existed, but we can’t see it. This is probably difficult to come to terms with if you’re an atheist, but this is definitely something we no longer see, but we know is there. 🙂
The same people that are saying how unimportant page rank is, are the people that are pushing the importance of domain authority and page authority. DA and PA are not created by Google, it is just Moz’s attempt at reverse engineering the PR Algorithm in attempt to still get a roundabout idea on what the importance of a page is.
To summarize… People say PR doesn’t matter anymore, but the non-Google created Domain Authority and Page Authority DO matter, which is just an attempt to judge what the PageRank of a site would be using different scoring methods.
So does PageRank still matter? I say yes. Does it still matter as a metric we use to judge sources of backlinks and importance of a page? No. It hasn’t been updated to where we can see current PR in over two years, so using it as a metric now, is a bad idea. In fact, using it as a previous metric wasn’t a very good idea either because the public PR update would be months and months old, it was never current. Google itself, sees the current results, but not us, and that has always been the case.
PageRank matters… but not the PR that was updated in December of 2013… The PR that exists internally at Google.
So How Do I Get Higher Page Rank?
Well you have to realize that you have no metric available to you to really gauge your PageRank except Domain Authority and Page Authority. The problem is that Moz doesn’t have even a small percentage of the data that Google has, and until they have larger data sets and a clone of Larry Page, I don’t think it’s going to be nearly an accurate depiction of what Google wants.
DA and PA though, may be the next best thing when it comes to trying to emulate PR, which is the reason for people vouching for it so much. Saying it is a part of the ranking factor is untrue though, so those local search round ups you see that are saying how important DA and PA are to rankings are misinformed. Correlation is not causation. Say it with me now… correlation is not causation.
In fact, a new friend and reader of this blog was talking about how important he thinks Domain Authority or Page Authority is when it comes to ranking. I spammed his skype with “correlation is not causation”. After being a little obnoxious, I decided to show him the SERPs and had him check DA and PA on sites ranking on the 3rd and 4th page… many of them had higher DA and PA than the top 3 results.
PR is not indicative of where you should be ranked. The same applies for domain authority and page authority.
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While PageRank is still important even though we can’t see any current updates on our end, you have to wonder if it’s really a good way to spend your time focusing on PR sculpting or building backlinks for the purpose of manipulating PageRank. I still think basic PR sculpting makes sense, like nofollow your contact page, privacy page, terms and conditions pages, comments, etc. Building backlinks to manipulate PR though I think is likely to be a thing of the past, but backlink providers don’t want you to know that!
That doesn’t mean to stop building backlinks. You can certainly use Domain Authority and Page Authority to judge a page’s value for link building purposes, it just may be as close as we can get when it comes to using it as a metric.