Google Removes PageRank from Webmaster Tools

Google Removes PageRank from Webmaster Tools

In the ever changing realm of SEO, there are always a number of differing opinions: Links vs Content? Underscores vs Dashes? Are no follow tags valuable? One of the more controversial questions was always “what is the validity of Pagerank in determining ranks?”. Google has now come out with a definitive answer: it doesn’t matter.

Without going into too much detail, Pagerank was originally used as a determinate of how relevant a page was based on the number of inbound links. When Google was younger, inbound links were the primary method of determining quality, so the Pagerank was seen as an important measure.

As Google became more advanced (future Skynet anyone?), the shift went away form inbound links (which are easy to fake) towards having good site structure and quality content. As such, the value of  Pagerank lessened as time went on. Amongst SEO experts, it is generally considered that Pagerank is more of a relic of past ages, rather than a legitimate measure of value.

Although Google has been telling people for a long time that they shouldn’t focus on Pagerank, it was still included in the Webmaster Tools, sending mixed messages. Google has since changed this policy, and has removed the Pagerank tracking from Webmaster Tools.

Google’s Susan Moskwa has this to say:

“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 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.”

Although SEO has not always been acknowledged by Google, it’s good to see that the giant is making it easier for people to manage their online marketing.

  • CharlieMurphy
    Posted at 10:24 pm, October 26, 2009

    Hmm… I really have trouble trusting Google now, and that’s too bad, I love them. Honestly, in my humble opinion, I don’t think that anything should stop someone from buidilng a winning link profile, least of all low page rank, because any do follow link is going to have some value… however, for Google to tell us that page rank is no longer worth anything feels misleading.

    The gut feeling on page rank not being worth anything would be this -page rank as a single, cumulative metric is not worth anything, but each element that makes up pagerank on an individual level means something.

    For example, if a page has a PR of 10 :), it doesn’t automatically mean it will rank well for everything. However, the fact that it has huge amounts of trust, authority, etc… do definitely mean something.

    What are your thoughts guys and gals?

    Just MHO – thanks David

  • CharlieMurphy
    Posted at 10:26 pm, October 26, 2009

    Just to elaborate on paragraph 3 –

    For example, if a page has a PR of 10 :), it doesn’t automatically mean it will rank well for everything [it could be ranking for]

  • Posted at 7:54 pm, November 6, 2009

    Hi CharlieMurphy,

    Interesting points, and I agree. Of late, there have been some major inconsistencies in what Google (and the talking head Matt Cutts) have been saying- they say links don’t matter, yet links are still a viable SEO tactic (when used in combination with other methods). They say page rank doesn’t mean anything, yet links from sites with a higher page rank give a better ranking boost.

    Page rank may not be the be all and end all that it used to be, but I think Google is trying to pull the wool over our eyes [disengage cynicism mode!]

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