In a Twitter post, John Mueller confirmed all rumors about the complete elimination of Google’s PageRank from the public eye. PageRank was virtually the first Google algorithm used by the search engine giant to put itself on the map — and boy, was it successful. It allowed users to use Google from other search engines, such as Yahoo! and Lycos.
During its reign, PageRank helped in establishing the idea that creating high quality backlinks is an essential — even crucial — part of SEO. Despite its advantages and high promise, PageRank suffered from its fair share of controversy. Once again, now that it’s removed, ranking high on Google search results is once again a huge mystery for Internet marketers and webmasters. Since it has been eliminated, public users wouldn’t be able to see how a given website scores in Google’s eyes.
Why PageRank Left Us
The negative reputation of PageRank began in the 2000s, when it started as an indicator of how users perceived a certain webpage in terms of relevance and importance, according to its ranking. Over time, Google changed this — PageRank later became an indicator of what Google thought of the webpage in terms of relevance and importance. It didn’t take long before Google became the leading search engine authority — and webmasters started to pursue PageRank like there was no tomorrow, using inorganic means (e.g. spamming links) to illegally increase ranking scores. This is why PageRank’s credibility began to plummet.
Gary Illyes clarified that PageRank is eliminated only from the browser toolbar, and will remain a part of the algorithms used by Google. For many years, it was seen as one of the biggest factors in Google ranking. This means that it will remain to be this way — it just won’t be visible to the normal user, just like other ranking factors aren’t visible (domain history, site speed, and meta tags, among others).
Links will remain important factors in ranking. In today’s SEO-driven world, importance refers primarily to a website’s authority and credibility. Recently, rankings show that a website’s quality has become more (if not the most) important. The only real change is that, now, webmasters are relieved of the “pressure” to illegitimately work the system anymore. By removing PageRank from public visibility, the temptation to spam links has been lifted completely.
Coping With The Loss Of PageRank
This question now remains: Without PageRank, how will webmasters know if their SEO and marketing efforts are paying off? Without the visual aid of PageRank, how do they know if they are going in the right direction?
The answer: SERP should still be a useful indicator of a webpage’s performance. Once the site goes up, then you’re on the right track — you are feeding Google exactly what it wants. Also, you can check with the Google Search Console to see if you haven’t had any red flags yet. If everything is clear, then you’re doing a great job so far. The main thing to remember is to always follow the Webmaster Guidelines. Focusing on creating and delivering high quality user-oriented content and measures without cheating (like in the past) will ensure that your site will be something both your audiences and Google will love.