PageRank is one of over hundreds of signals Google uses to rank webpages in 2015. Toolbar PageRank, the public version of PageRank shown in browser toolbar plugins, is being phased out by Google. The Last Toolbar Pagerank Update was 5/6 December 2013 and Google soon declared “PageRank is something that we haven’t updated for over a year now, and we’re probably not going to be updating it again gong forward, at least the Toolbar version.“
If I were you I would forget ENTIRELY about Toolbar PageRank and instead focus on:
When Is The Next Google Pagerank Update?
Google has a history of updating Toolbar Pagerank and they update it whenever they want, despite web masters coming to expect a quarterly schedule. I normally let people know it happens on Twitter or Facebook – but webmasters have been told NOT to expect another Toolbar Pagerank Update.
- 5/6 December 2013 (LAST PAGERANK UPDATE EVER)
- 4 February 2013
- 7 November 2012
- 2 August 2012
- 2 May 2012
- 7 February 2012
- 7 November 2011
- 1st Week August 2011
- JULY 2011
- JUNE 2011
- JANUARY 2011
- April 2010
- Dec 31, 2009
- 30 October 2009
- 27/28 May 2009
- June 2009
- 1 / 2 April 2009
- 30-31 December 2008
- 27 September 2008
- 26 July 2008
- 29 April 2008
- 9 January 2008
- 26 October 2007
- 28 April 2007
December 2013 Update
A toolbar update was rolled out on 5 or 6 december 2013 . The December 2013 update rolled out despite Matt Cutts announcing in October he would be surprised to see an update happen before 2014, because the toolbar export was ‘broken’. Nobody knows when the next 2014 update will happen, only Google.
Note that Google exporting a snapshot of a simplification of the internal PR scores to its toolbar isn’t a big thing in the seo industry in 2015, as by itself, a higher PR usually does not correlate to higher search engine rankings.
I have a simple system setup to track updates:
Recent Official Google Advice
Google released this video on October 7 2013:
I collected all the articles on PR I produced and created the following FAQ – a sort of PR for beginners:
What is Pagerank?
PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B.
Google also says:
Webpages with a higher PageRank are more likely to appear at the top of Google search results.
…but that is NOT the whole story, as PR does not help determine keyword relevance. I’ve seen sites go from anywhere from ZERO to SEVEN in one update and no difference in the number of visitors the site received from natural search. This Hobo site has had a PR from ZERO to SEVEN in it’s history. You do not need to exactly know how Google PR works in 2015 to do seo, and it may be impossible to know this, as Google does not give us enough information.
It’s VERY important to point out that what we see as webmasters in the Toolbar is TOOLBAR PR – this is NOT the same score Google uses internally.
What is Toolbar PR?
Toolbar PR is a ‘simplification of REAL PR – which is a complex algorithm – and ONE of the ways Google works under-the-hood. On it’s own – PR is NOT the be and end all of ranking high in Google. Likewise – just because a page has no score in the toolbar does not mean a page has no real Pagerank – it can mean that of course, but it can mean other things. Real PR is not 0 to 10 scale as in the toolbar scores. Google has an internal PR with a MUCH higher resolution.
How Do I increase PR?
The sensible mantra for beginners should not be to “increase your PR” but rather “get quality sites to link to you” which will have the same effect. It’s harder for beginners to manipulate PR so it’s probably better to focus on just getting links from real reputable sites. If you focus on where your next QUALITY, EDITORIAL link comes from – your real PR will go up, but more importantly, so will the number of visitors you receive from Google (dependant on other factors too, mind you). Note that if you increase your score via paid links – and Google works it out – you’ll eventually lose that benefit, and possibly be penalised in some way in terms of your rankings in organic search.
Toolbar PR is not a metric I am focused on these days, or rely on, without looking at other measurements. If you want a particular page on your site to have PR, make sure it’s original content, and unique enough that Google would want to keep it in it’s results pages. Get links from real sites. Get links from pages than in turn have links to them.
How To Check Google Pagerank
There are many sites on the web that let you check PR, but you can check PR of any page easily by installing a toolbar or browser plugin for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. Here’s a few I have had experience with:
- Chrome – https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/pagerank-status/hbdkkfheckcdppiaiabobmennhijkknn?hl=en
- Chrome – https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/pr-checker/pneoplpmnpjoioldpodoljacigkahohc/
- Firefox – https://addons.mozilla.org/En-us/firefox/addon/searchstatus/
Most prediction and calculator tools are inaccurate at best, scams at worst. You’ll find plenty of working fake PR checkers and other tools using Google.
My Pagerank Just Dropped
If you’re Toolbar PR score is reduced this update/export, it simply means the backlinks you have are passing less PR than they used to (for a MYRIAD of reasons), links you once had have since been removed, or your score has fallen by the very nature of a an ever expanding web. That’s nothing to be worried about if you’re actively promoting your site, and a reduction or increase in PR won’t necessarily have an obvious impact on your traffic or rankings.
A quick way to lose toolbar PR is to lose high PR links pointing at your site, or be caught buying or selling links, which is against Google’s guidelines. Google is more concerned about DEVALUING your links and rankings rather than just dropping your Toolbar PR, these days, if it is confident you are buying or selling links to help you or other websites rank better.
Is Toolbar PR Accurate?
The Toolbar score is not reliable. I use it as an indicator.
What Is Real PR Good For?
If you have a lot of pages, a lot of PR is good if you spread it about – that’s the idea, and it’s old school. Getting a link from a high PR domain is cool, but only of real use in a PR donation sense if the actual page your link is on has a decent PR (ie is well cited itself) and doesn’t have a hundred other links on there (or isn’t selling links!).
A page’s high PR might be a good indication of the natural popularity of that page, but often, it’s the result of manipulation.
Pages on your site which have a grey bar *might* be an indication of a potential issue or indeed G might have a problem with OR it can also be a simple sign you’re not linking to pages often enough in the site structure. Then again…. it might be just a glitch with the toolbar, or the actual original export. A high PR might be an indication of the popularity and reputation of a site, but then again, it might be a hijacked PR sourced by a crafty SEO who’s spotted a conduit that can be exploited.
The fact is nobody knows how it works these days, it’s probably far removed from the original Pagerank algorithm, and while it may still be a defining entry level requirement for competitive SERPS, it’s not visible as an important factor when it comes to ranking pages that are already in the SERPS – there are other, much more important influences on where a page ranks.
Note that Google talks about the REPUTATION of a page, a lot more than it takes about PR these days. Google ranks relevant content on a reputable pages. PR has nothing to do with keyword relevancy.
How Fast Does Real PR Accrue?
A page probably accrues real PR fast – perhaps instantly – as opposed to Toolbar PR that updates every 3 or so months. In the original paper, it’s laid out that all new pages are born with a smidgen of PR, but that was before the world started publishing millions of pages a day.
Will A High PR increase my rankings?
Toolbar PR has little effect on it’s own on the amount of visitors Google will send you. A reduction in real PR however could see less pages on your site being indexed, or your site crawled less often, or less deep – many think. Think of Google Toolbar PR as ‘an indication of the PR of what your pages might have been ‘sometime ago’.
A PR 5 page will not necessarily outrank a PR 0 page because in the wild, other metrics matter more.
To get a higher Pagerank, you need to get a lot of other pages with PR to link to you. The more links pointing at your site, the better your site ranks for particular key phrases, IF Google has not already discounted links from the sites that link to you.
PR flows, and so can be manipulated, funnelled, blocked (with NoFollow) and screwed up. It is also possible for an internal page to have a higher PR than the home page.
PR is ‘donated’ to other pages and is shared by the number of outgoing links on the pages. In theory, you may get more PR benefit from a PR 3 page with only two outbound links than a Google Page Rank 5 page with hundreds of outbound links. As I have said I’ve also experienced sites go from anywhere from PR 0 to PR 7 in one update.
We are dealing with a complicated, recursive algorithm, with decay factored in, that’s probably pretty far removed today from the details in the original paper created by Larry Page, who it’s named after.
PR may be about whether you are in Google’s main index, or not in, and probably, a measure to gauge how often or how deep you can expect Googlebot to crawl your pages. A high PR won’t rank above a low PR page just on Toolbar PR. In theory the good thing about a lot of PR, is you can get a lot more pages into Google – that’s it. It does not improve rank – it only allows a page to rank, and perhaps MORE pages to rank.
Should I link out to other sites? Should I nofollow external links to keep my Google juice?
No. There’s much better reward in linking out to others, and building relationships with like-minded authors on other sites. Do not fear linking to sites you trust. Your site is actually more valuable to Google and other search engines if you link out sensibly, and editorially. More importantly, it’s more valuable to other web masters. Check out recommendations for rel nofollow links if you want to block PR from flowing, for whatever reason.
How to Check PR of All Internal Pages Of A Website
I don’t really try to ‘manipulate’ Google PR that much – I think Google kicks back too much these days in the short term at any rate – but I do like to see which pages:
- get no visitors
- are not linked to very much
- are crawled less often or
- have no visible toolbar pr
- or can’t rank for their titles
… because then I can ask – should these pages be better optimised, and linked to more, combined, made more ‘trustworthy’ or just removed from the site altogether, if totally irrelevant (low quality pages can now hurt your site in Google)?
Recently I wanted to see at-a-glance the internal Pagerank of each page of a website, and it took me a while to actually find an internal PR checker that worked (Google has limits on how many pages you can check at once so most internal pr tools just don’t work anymore).
- The best and fastest way of checking the pr of all the pages on your website is to use EXCEL.
- First you’ll need to grab a list of all your URLS of your site – usually with some crawler tool. That will crawl your website and let you output a csv of all your web pages.
- If you want to see which pages of your site has PR, you will need to download a copy of SEO TOOLS FOR EXCEL . It’s a pretty cool tool and both tools are free (SF has a limit of 500 pages on the free version). SEO TOOLS FOR EXCEL have a bulk Pagerank checker as part of it’s extensions.
The checker was very accurate, and very vast. It only took a few minutes to get the PR of a few hundred URLS I submitted.
The tools you need to do such a job are collected in my best seo tools page.
How To Spread PR
You don’t need to be concerned with this if you have a sensible website architecture and template navigation in place. A simple rule of thumb s if you want Google to find all your pages and spread link equity throughout your site, ensure your important pages are well linked to in your internal linking practices.
This is the way I started thinking. If you don’t link to a page via internal links very much, you are basically telling Google the page is not that important. If it’s not that important to you, Google won’t consider it that important to it either (if nobody else has bothered linking to the page – you are stuffed). So, linking within your website from page-to-page, you should link to the pages you value most often – as you can’t just rely on links from external sites, which are harder to get (obviously) than internal links. That advice all depends on the size of the site you have, of course.
You could also use Google Webmaster tools to see which pages are starved of internal links – that will give you an idea of your weaker pages, too, but doesn’t take into account links from external pages that introduce PR to your site.
The more I think about internal links and PR I think it comes down to %s rather than straight numbers – ie, which pages have the higher % of internal links – those are the most important pages on your site. Effectively, just about every site will have a % of pages that Google doesn’t need or want, so it’s probably not worth worrying about most pages without Toolbar PR too much.
Although Google is a links based search engine, remember Google is focused on delivering pages with a good, information rich content to it’s users, and regardless of how Google used to rank pages, where you rank in Google these days is also largely down to the content that is on the page.
If you focus on building information rich pages and make sure they have links from other pages on your site, you’ll find Google does a good job of finding your pages (even if you don’t have an xml sitemap or other form of social discovery trigger).
Do WordPress Self Pings Waste Pagerank?
By now everybody knows internal linking is very important – it gives you a chance to add keywords into your link profile and lets users navigate your website via contextual links. WordPress self ping trackbacks in comments (nofollowed by default) are a different beast though and if we are to believe the recent announcement on how Google treats nofollow links they might actually be sucking the PR right out of your blog.
I was reading a blog earlier today and noticed they’d self pinged an article about 50 times from their own blog posts!
If Google is treating nofollow as Pagerank sinkholes, why introduce 50 nofollowed links to a page that does not need them via trackbacks from your own blog that dissipate Google Pagerank?
There might be an excuse for nofollowing external links in blog comments but not internal links.
Advice – keep the comment area for comments, turn self pings off in WordPress and conserve real Pagerank pr link juice or whatever it is we’re working with these days, so you get more of your pages into Google.
QUICK TIP – Want to remove those trackbacks from posts? It’s easy, just go to your WordPress Admin panel, go to Comments, and search for “[…]” and you’ll see all the trackbacks you have and you can choose what to remove.
PS For beginners – What is a self ping? It’s when you link to a post on your own blog, and you get a trackback in the comments. Not only do you possibly waste pagerank unnecessarily, you insert duplicate content on to recipient pages, which is not a great thing to be doing these days.
Scams And The Reverse Google Pagerank Algorithm
I got this message in my email:
John (REMOVED) here. I just wanted to drop you a line and invite you to be a link partner for our website. I’ve found your website with the “reverse google pagerank algorithm” which indicates that we both would get better google rankings, when we exchange links. I’ve already gone ahead and added your site hobo-web.co.uk to our link directory, could you please verify the description before it will go life at: [REMOVED]
The RGPA is not a trusted measurement I have ever heard of anyone relying on. While remembering even legitimate toolbar pr is out of date, websites can also have FAKE Toolbar PR scores – where there PR scores are influenced by redirects from other uri, so be careful if anyone is selling you a domain based on PR.
Prior to the slightly more frequent communication via Webmaster Tools these days, Google was in the habit of dropping Toolbar scores of various websites to send a message to webmasters (normally for buying or selling links that flowed Pagerank).
I think, if you are a small business, you should be more concerned with unnatural links and Google Penguin in 2015, rather than chasing Toolbar PR.
For more, see: http://www.hobo-web.co.uk/unnatural-links/
PR Penalty for Google Japan
Back in 2009 Google penalised themselves, publicly, when they were discovered breaking their own rules. Google Japan was caught buying links on a blogger review network. This penalty lasted 9 months.
Matt Cutts tweeted the Japanese version of Google.co.jp was penalised for paying for blogger reviews on a blogger review network. Matt said,
Google.co.jp PageRank is now ~5 instead of ~9. I expect that to remain for a while.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) February 12, 2009
And then when he was questioned if this was a paid link penalty, he said
Many thought such a penalty to Google was pointless, as it wouldn’t really impact Google in a meaningful way. Before this and since, many smaller businesses have had much bigger impact of such a penalty, although Google has went to some lengths to help webmasters facilitate lifting a manual action.
it is interesting to see that Google, a company that not too long ago radically took action against PayPerPost bloggers in the US, today thinks the concept is suitable as long as it helps them advance in Japan.
Is PR pointless in 2015?
It really depends on what you are using it for.
I don’t think it’s pointless – and there have been observations made that Google might use PR even today to choose a reputable source for a piece of duplicate content found on multiple sites, for instance.
Sites with no PR at all can often be signs of ‘dead’ spammy sites, too, which is useful when investigating backlinks to a website. Remember though, if using Toolbar PR as a measurement, it can never be relied on.
On top of that, no professional seo who has looked at PR expects it to be the same algorithm published over a decade ago.
The Supplemental Index
From Matt Cutts
As a reminder, supplemental results aren’t something to be afraid of; I have got pages from my site in the supplemental results, for example. A complete software rewrite of the infrastructure for supplemental results launched in Summer 2005, and the supplemental results continue to get fresher. Having urls in the supplemental results doesn’t mean that you have some sort of penalty at all; the main determinant of whether a url is in our main web index or in the supplemental index is PageRank.
If you used to have pages in our main web index and now they’re in the supplemental results, a good hypothesis is that we might not be counting links to your pages with the same weight as we have in the past. The approach I’d recommend in that case is to use solid white-hat (ethical) SEO to get high-quality links (e.g. editorially given by other sites on the basis of merit).
he goes on to say:
“It can also be the case that links that used to carry more weight for a website might not be counting as much.”
“As I said in January: The approach I’d recommend in that case is to use solid white-hat (ethical) SEO to get high-quality links (e.g. editorially given by other sites on the basis of merit).
The supplemental index is an old feature of Google, not often talked about. I am not sure it even exists now – but it was interesting to see how Pagerank played a pivotal role, back in the day.
Nobody knows exactly how PR works today apart from Google. Don’t worry about chasing it too much as it, and REPUTATION, which is more important, comes naturally as a result of getting links to quality in-depth content from reputable sites, over a sensible period of time. If using PR as a data point, remember, it’s probably not accurate, or reliable, used on it’s own.
TEST YOUR SEO FREE using the new Hobo SEO Auditor http://www.hobo-web.co.uk/auditor/.
Read: The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine – http://infolab.stanford.edu/pub/papers/google.pdf