In the SEO world, it was well known that Google PageRank was being deprecated as long back as 2009, when Google’s Search Console stopped providing PageRank information. In the early days of Google Search though, PageRank was the ingredient that catapulted Google to the top of the search engine totem pole.
In 2000, the PageRank display option in Google’s Toolbar for Internet Explorer was an easy to see metric that could be used to gauge a website’s popularity on a scale of 1 to 10. This, however, opened the floodgates to indiscriminate link dropping to boost PageRank scores, even though it was well known that Google’s internal algorithms took into account a whole range of other factors before ranking web pages. It created an industry devoted to link selling, comment spamming, and link exchanges, essentially distorting Web search in ways that Google had not anticipated as a rapidly-growing startup.
Now, with Google eliminating the display of PageRank scores via their IE toolbar, only Google will know the PageRank score of a particular page. Some SEO practitioners will have to resort to third-party tools to estimate the popularity or authority of a given web page. More content publishers will now have to follow Google’s own exhortations to develop useful and informative content that give searches what they’re looking for. And that’s a good thing for everyone.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that Google’s internal PageRank scoring won’t play a role anymore in ranking web pages. Their algorithm will still consider a site’s popularity and authority to some extent, but nobody outside Google will be able to know those details, or be able to manipulate those scores.
Position² welcomes Google’s move, and we look forward to seeing a web with far fewer spam links in comments, and much more useful content being produced. The curtains dropping on PageRank will allow many publishers to focus on what’s important to their audience, rather than fixate on scores.