How to Deal Without Google’s Page Rank?

For quite some time now, Google’s Page Rank (PR) has been one of the metrics that many SEOs pay special attention to. Basically, it is a number between 0 and 10 given by Google to show how authoritative a certain web page is.

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However, in the past two years, PR has been in frequent gossips due to the very rare updates made to it. In simple words, PR has not been updated frequently in the last two years, as only one update has occurred on December 6, 2013.

On top, Google’s people themselves said that we won’t be receiving PR data for the foreseeable future.

So what now? How do we know which site is worth getting our links from? How do we assess the authority of our own websites? This is what this article is about.

The Official Separation

In October 2013, Matt Cutts revealed that the pipeline pushing the PR data from the Google servers to the Page Rank toolbar broke and that the team does not intend to fix it anymore. However, on December 6, PageRank was updated but this seems to have been the last update for over a year now. In October 2014, John Mueller from Google confirmed that the December 2013 update was the last one and spoke in a Google+ Hangout video that they will probably not be updating it anymore.

Why is Google Pulling the Plug off PR?

Page Rank has been used to sell spam. What? Let me explain…

Technically, the higher the PR, the more link juice it sends to any page it links to. A link from a page with a PR of 5 is more valuable than a link from a new page (PR 0 or 1).

Some people built websites with the sole intention to sell links later. They ramped up their PRs by buying links from other high PR websites, and then they started selling their own links later on.

The more “high PR” websites people have, the bigger the “high PR” network they can build, and the more money they can make.

Buying, selling and trading links are against Google’s ToS because it’s an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings and it does not provide any kind of real value.

Google probably decided to shift their focus off PR to curb down those practices. It’s not to say that they don’t have the data; they’re probably just not making it available to us anymore.

After all, what possible good could it do for them to give us that data? The cons outweighed the pros on that one.

So… Is PR Dead?

That number that some of us used to rely on, yes. It is dead. There is no number that Google gives us that can tell us “Yes, this site is a good one for us to get our links from!”.

So for now, we know even less what Google thinks of our website; we can only tell by our rankings (which, in my opinion was always a better measure than the PR anyway).

We need to let go of that metric. I’m not sure how blog network owners are going to market their product in the near future, but saying “high PR network” will only attract the gullible customers who think there is a quick way to rank.

So, What’s the Alternative Now?

There are other metrics that can estimate the value of our websites. A few such metrics include the Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA) of MOZ, Alexa Rank, traffic analytics such as Google Analytics, and Trust Flow (TF) and Citation Flow (CF) from Majestic.

Other than that, for increasing the overall value of your site, consider the following guidelines:

  • Content should be unique, relevant, and provide value
  • Use only white-hat SEO techniques
  • Always be ready to accept changes and welcome changes in your online marketing strategy
  • Keep improving methods, policies, and approaches
  • Be positive
  • No spamming
  • Lastly, work as a team

PR was just a metric. Search engine optimization is still alive. I mentioned above that I’ve always preferred a web page’s actual rankings over its PR, so if you really need a measure that Google itself provides, then you can use this.

Just search for your keyword. The higher the page on the SERPs, the higher its authority for that particular keyword. Links from the higher ranking pages can be considered to be of higher value, in general.



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