Internally at Google, PageRank updates daily. And every three months, the company will push out the information collected to the Google toolbar making the info available to users and webmasters. The last push of information was back in February, which means that 8 months, or two update cycles, have passed. Is this the beginning of the end?
PageRank was permanently removed from Webmaster tools back in 2009. When questioned about the move Susan Moshkwa, member of the Google Webmaster Central team explained that webmasters “shouldn’t focus on PageRanks so much.” She goes on to note that many people feel that PageRank is the most important metric to track which “is simply not true.” PageRank was removed from Webmaster tools because “it was silly to tell people not to think about it, but then to show them the data.” With this mindset it may not be surprising if PageRank disappears as a public metric entirely.
In his keynote at PubCon in Las Vegas, Matt Cutts, revealed why PageRank hasn’t been updated and why it won’t be updated for a while. Cutts described how although Google continues to collect information for PageRank internally, the pipeline to distribute the updated information to the Google toolbar is broken. Furthermore, Cutts stated that it is not a priority to fix it. Webmasters or SEO professionals hoping to get a fresh update are out of luck.
Why is Google not focused on fixing the pipeline? As mentioned Google holds the same mentality they had for Webmaster tools. Too many people still obsess over PageRank even though webmasters overall have become less reliant on the metric as Google continues to introduce algorithm updates like Entity Search. PageRank is now really only used to spot check the health of a website. As the metric has become less useful the need to supply it has decreased.
The Future of PageRank
Continuing in his keynote, Cutts revealed that Google does not have anyone working on updating the pipeline and even confirmed that a PageRank update won’t occur anytime this year. Evaluation will take place to decide if there is a need to update PageRank in 2014.
This lack of attention by Google is actually a contradiction as the company stated earlier this year that consumers still find the metric useful, but with the lack of updates the metric becomes less useful every month. Cutt’s more recent announcement makes it look like the nails are being laid out for the coffin.
You can count this as your heads up that PageRank is probably on its way out so find other metrics to use. No need to shed a tear for the passing of PageRank though; the real world measurements that Google is forcing you to turn to provide better information anyway. To get a better idea of possible metrics you can use click here. If you are in need of professional SEO guidance visit our services page.