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Google to kill the PageRank?

During my daily jaunt around the world of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) & SEM (Search Engine Marketing), a typical stop-off point for me will be Search Engine Journal. One topic in question caught my eye recently: is Google about to drop the PageRank score?

As you can imagine, such a topic is bound to generate some kind of discussion amongst search marketeers:

“There is currently a debate going on right now about Google removing the PageRank score from the Google Toolbar.


  • Toolbar PageRank numbers can be 3 months out of date or more.
  • Some ‘PageRank Updates’ have been buggy enough to seriously misrepresent a page’s real PageRank.
  • Matt Cutts has blogged that PageRank Updates are considered pretty much a non-event around Google.
  • PageRank has started a flawed econonmy of link building and trading in an effort to raise or distribute these scores.

Looks like Google are undecided about this and are looking for some feedback on the subject.

There are some good, notable comments in the article, one in particular by Eric Lander prompting a comment of my own:

“This would be huge, both in saving SEO’s time for explaining things…”

To which I replied:

“I think Eric Lander touches on a good point. It’s a hassle to explain Google PageRank to clients, some of whom often have an incorrect grasp of what it means.

However, rather than scrap it, why doesn’t Google offer a break down of the numbers, such as th top 5-10 (simplified) criteria they’re using to measure a web page?

That way, PageRank becomes a more visible, self-explanatory metric that’s not like some dark science…”

As I briefly alluded to recently in my 5 minute SEO primer, explaining the intricacies of how search engines work, especially how Google’s PageRank works is often fraught with complications and misconceptions.

I’ve no doubt Google are aware of this and it’s something that they themselves haven’t helped with by being so aloof with regards to how their PageRank algorithm works.

In fairness to Google, it’s understandable that they don’t want to reveal too much. But at the same time, they’re smart people, I’m sure they can provide some way of explaining PageRank in simple terms without handing the whole thing over on a plate.

People rightly want ways of measuring things on the web. If it’s not ROI for a marketing campaign, then it’s establishing a weighting for the web pages that make up a website or ‘blog.

If not Google’s PageRank, then what?

The alternative is to simply do the job by hand. And there’s already a battery of tools to be found on the web to let us do exactly that.

While we can’t be as comprehensive as Google’s PageRank – which takes into consideration possibly hundreds of criteria, many of which are interlinked and interdependent on one another – for the purposes of establishing the value of a web page or an entire website, we can do a pretty good job of things.

If the decision by Google is to drop their PageRank algorithm, there’s a no doubt in my mind that someone else will fill the void.

Maybe it’ll be Microsoft?

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

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