I want to provide a little bit of background on the subject at hand for all of you gurus, masters and ninjas out there who do not specialize in SEO (maybe some of you are actually ninjas…). Back in 1973, a guy by the name of Larry Page was born. At the time, Page’s parents probably didn’t think their son would co-find one of the largest multi-national public corporations on the planet but in 1998, he did. Page and Sergey Brin co-founded Google, Inc, a privately held company on the cutting edge of internet search. During this time, the second Congo war was in progress, the Yankees and Padres were running the last leg of their respective baseball seasons (they would later match up in the World Series), Hugo Chaves wasn’t even the president of Venezuela, and cell phones were still the size of bricks.
Initially, the base of Google’s business was built upon a foundation dependent on answering people’s questions with utter precision. Their algorithm (a fancy word with a meaning easily comparable to playing a game of “cootie catcher” – google it!) was their bread and butter. It separated them from their competition.
Now if you remember, Google wasn’t the first to market with an internet query service. In fact, Yahoo was incorporated in 1995 and their annoying “YAHOOOO” commercials soon followed, but even Yahoo wasn’t the first – google “Archie search engine”. Although one would think that speed to market with a service like this is crucial, Google proved how vital quality was and still is when it comes to answering hundreds of billions of queries per year. Thirteen years after its inception, Google still strives for perfect answers to all search queries and in order to do this, Google finely tunes their finely-tuned algorithm hundreds of times on an annual basis in hopes of ranking that one result that would provide more value to you over that another result that makes absolutely no sense.
So, where does PageRank come in to play?
PageRank is an algorithm named after the aforementioned Larry Page. He developed this program capable of taking into account a multitude of different website factors to ultimately dish out a value or worth for that particular website. This means that a high PageRank value of a website will signal to Google’s search algorithm that the website is a key player in its field and is highly relevant to related searches. The opposite could be said of a low PageRanking site. The PageRank was a step towards quality. It was Page’s attempt to not only separate Google from its competitors but also supply the most relevant answers to its users.
Where has it gone?
The answer might be as simple as the one mentioned here. But, let’s play this like Google is phasing out the importance of PageRank.
Sometime in September or October, PageRank has seamlessly disappeared. Right now, tech forums around the web are busy with users commenting about major changes coming from Google. Is PageRank being updated? Upgraded? Removed from the equation? According to an article on googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com entitled “Beyond Pagerank: Graduating to actionable metrics” by Susan Moskwa, the Pagerank that had separated Google from the rest of the pack during the late 90’s and early 00’s is only a small part of the entire equation now.
As Google continues to adapt and change, old methods used to weigh website value like PageRank may and probably will be remolded or removed. Just realize that this change is just another wave in the ocean that is Google.