PageRank – once the key SEO metric, and still bragged about on old, abandoned and spammy directories, is no more. In recent times it had stopped being updated regularly, meaning it was often thought to be of very little use as it was likely to be inaccurate. Reports of its demise abounded until in December 2013 an update appeared.
However, it is rumoured that this update was in fact accidental and was triggered when the Google team were busy changing something else. Matt Cutts tweeted saying they did “a PR update along the way”.
So what was PageRank?
Google explained it thusly:
“PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.”
This explanation forms a large part of the basis of SEO and perhaps the majority of the link-building part of it. Number and Quality. Let that sink in for a second. You need both.
So what’s next?
Some of the top SEO tool companies run very intensive crawls of the web, indexing pages and noting links along the way. The idea they have is essentially to try and copy Google – we know what they say they like and anyone with the skill and the compute power can try and build something comparable to Google. Only it’s not for other people to use for searching, it’s to try and give an estimate of how well sites and individual pages are expected to perform in Google. It’s not 100% of course – no one can expect to ape the complex Google algorithm completely and I suspect that very few individual entities have the power to compete with the scale of Google’s crawling. Remember they have entire data centres (plural!) at their beck and call.
Personally, for the last couple of years I’ve used Moz metrics instead of PageRank. I tend to focus on Domain Authority, MozRank and MozTrust. I’ve found them more than adequate for most purposes.
So take a look over Majestic and Moz’s offerings and remember to bookmark Moonsy if you ever need a quick lookup for any number of independent metrics. RIP PageRank!