There has been an increasing amount of discussion recently as to how Google PageRank factors into search prioritization and whether or not its importance has faded. We know for a fact that while it was once the single largest determining factor in search engine optimization protocols, it has continuously been downgraded by Google in their algorithms. We have considered the decreasing importance of this metric and have put together five examples of why PageRank no longer matters as much as it once did. While it is good to have a high PageRank, it is no longer mandatory in order to be successful on Google.
Some may be thinking that this is a “cheat”, but the fact remains that Google Adwords have allowed websites and businesses to circumvent the ranking system in some regards. By purchasing advertising and allocating it to a relative category, your site can be seen just as easily by users as a PR7 site that is ranking at the top of major search results for that category. While the advertisements appear on top and to the side of conventional search results, there isn’t much difference in their overall appearance. This can “trick” users into clicking on them, which was the goal of Google from the start – to create advertising solutions that mimic search results.
Search Result Inconsistency
If you do a random search and then proceed to begin pinging servers to determine what PR each website has, you may discover that the PR rankings do not match the search results in terms of the order in which they are listed. On many occasions, we have discovered PR0 or PR1 sites sitting comfortably at the top of key search results, while some notable PR5, 6 & 7 sites are listed below them. If PageRank were still so important, this would not be the case.
Social Networking/YouTube Woes
While a properly designed website with great content was all you once needed to be number one, you must now compete with varying forms of media to hold that spot. Google’s algorithms have recently began giving additional clout to articles and results from Google+ users – boosting their content to the top of the page when it otherwise might not appear. In addition, the merger of Google and YouTube has now created a separate section in search results where videos will appear in lieu of websites.
It has become a well-defined practice by many website developers to build a site that has high PageRank in the hopes of being able to “flip” the site for a nice profit after potential customers begin pinging servers to determine the site’s value. With this marketplace continuously growing, Google has had to shift its focus away from PR and begin to delve into more nuanced metrics for determining site measurement.
It used to be that PageRank was updated at least once every three months. It now appears that PageRank is being updated less and less as Google appears to be phasing this metric out of the equation. Over the past year, it has only been updated three times – showing that Google is considering this variable less and less by the day.