Is PageRank Still A Valuable Metric?

by Modi Mac

Google PageRank is a notion which very often gets misunderstood by the online community. Unlike to what some web site owners think, PageRank is not a metric of SEO success. It’s really odd that many non-technical people tend to give so much value to a notion which is utterly technical and in order to understand it one should read Larry Page’s (Google’s cofounder) research over “the likelihood that a person randomly clicking on links will arrive at any particular page I” which was published in 1998.

Indeed, that was later incorporated into Google’s algorithm and definitely has some value but not within the scope it is (wrongly) used by the majority of people.

A Few Myths About PageRank

PageRank represents the potential of a site to rank well

This is not really the case as a low PageRank optimised site can rank well for certain terms while a high PR non optimised side can rank quite low.

Increasing my PageRank is great / Losing PageRank is bad.

Neither is necessarily the case and it is worth looking into the actual causes of an increase or decrease. Sometimes PageRank can simply increase just because a site is aging — old sites seem to have higher PageRank values. Reversely, a new site may not have any PageRank or be of PR0 but this does not mean it does not have any value. In the next PageRank update it could jump up to PR3 or PR4.

Linking Out To Other Sites Will Lead To Pagerank Loss
This is definitely wrong as linking out to Trusted sites not only won’t cause any pageRank loss but will add to the site’s trust. Pagerank flows within a site and doesn’t really get lost as the flow is continuous (think of it as a ever-lasting stream of water constantly flowing through the various links).

What Should I Be Looking At Then?
This is a very valid question but indeed there are many other signals you should be looking at as this is what Google does. Such signals include:

Number of Inbound Links
This is the overall number of links from other sites. Not all links have the same value (depending on where they are coming from) but the more links the better.

Number of Linking Root Domains
This is the number of different root domains linking to a site. Increasing the number of different sites linking to a page or site is always a very good practice and Google pays particular attention to that.

Domain Authority & Trust
Although PageRank has to do with pages, domain authority and trust are looking at a site as a whole entity. Sites that link to your site as well as sites where your site is linking at are equally important. Linking out to low quality sites can be interpreted as your site being of low quality too. Getting links from high quality sites is a signal that your site is of good quality too, thus its authority ands trust will increase.

User Interaction
Are the users actually interacting with your site? Do they find it interesting? Look at the Facebook likes, re-tweets and comments your posts receive and that would give you an idea. Talking about comments, spend one minute or two and look at the quality of the comments too. Are they too generic and look spammy? Do they seem relevant to the topic? It’s not just about traffic but about engaging traffic.

Modi is an SEO currently promoting a wine glasses and champagne flutes retailer. He’s always looking for new ways to get the most out of the SERPS. You can connect with him on @macmodi.