does pagerank still matter

Is Google PageRank or PR Still Relevant in 2019?

How does Google rank websites? Well here is my view on the Google search algorithm explained in simple terms.

If you are Google, you have a big job when someone initiates a search.

Go through millions of page results and put the most relevant ones on top to satisfy the users.

The better the results match what the person is looking for, the more likely they are to come back next time.

To rank the best results first, algorithms analyze hundreds of different factors, including content quality, relevancy, searcher intent,  and user experience.

It also assigns authority and trustworthiness on the subject matter.

In short, Googles uses a complex algorithm of over 200 ranking factors. One of these factors is known as PageRank.

“We look for sites that many users seem to value for similar queries,” Google reports. “If other prominent websites on the subject link to the page, that is a good sign the information is high quality.”

That’s where PageRank strategies come in.

gary Illyes from Google on PageRank

Its public version may have officially died with the infamous Google PageRank Update 2014. But its underpinnings are still very much alive.

However, understanding what made PageRank tick, and applying that knowledge, can still be beneficial.

What Is PageRank?

The Google page rank algorithm is a mathematical calculation that evaluates the quality and quantity of incoming links to a particular webpage. This evaluation helps it to calculate a score of the page’s credibility and authority.

PageRank scores used to be visible to anyone using the Google Toolbar.

Sites were given PageRank (or PR)  on a scale of 1-10. The ratings are no longer public, but the data lives on. How significant of a role it still plays a Google’s ever-changing algorithm is up for debate.

How does Google PageRank Algorithm work?

PageRank is one of many signals Google evaluates in making decisions about which websites to serve up to searchers.

By analyzing the quality and quantity of links to a site, it determines the importance of a page.

Getting links from high-quality websites is a good thing. Google sees the link as adding credibility to your content. That positively impacts your website ranking.

To rank higher, you need links from quality websites.

Those websites, in turn, need links from other quality websites. The score acts as a measure of the relative quality of a website compared to other sites the search engine could show.

How to find Google Page Rank?

You can’t anymore.

There are many SEO Tools that try to recreate the algorithm.

Even if they are successful, we are left with wonder what impact PageRank has on actual rankings. One of these programs is SEO power suite, which offers Inline rank.

example of inline rank in seo power suite

improve ranking on Google using old PR tactics

How to Increase Google PageRank

Don’t think the key to success here is the sheer number of links. Quality is king.

Focus on the following:

  • Quality Link Building and Backlinks
  • Proper Internal Linking Structure
  • Use NoFollow Correctly
  • Brand Mentions
  • Publish High-Quality Content
  • Updating Website Content Regularly
  • Provide a Good User Experience

Instead of link building, many site owners are pruning links and pages. Yep, that is right removing thin content and conducting a backlink analysis.

Poor quality links from questionable sites can harm your rankings.

  • Backlinks: It’s a good idea to regularly do a backlink analysis to discover links pointing to your site. You don’t want links from low quality or questionable sites. There are various free tools online to evaluate your inbound links.
  • Outbound and Internal Links: Get rid of outgoing links on your website that don’t support your central themes.

Optimizing Your Website for PageRank

How does PageRank work?

Google’s Gary Illyes says publishing high-quality content that is highly cited on the internet is the best strategy of all to rank high. “I’m not talking about just links,” Illyes said. “But also mentions on social networks and people talking about your branding.”

Creating useful content that people want to read will always help attract an audience.

Content development it is just part of the process; you have to promote the content to get people to find it.  Content marketing.

Advertising and marketing your website and content will help drive traffic. So-called “earned media,” which is getting others to promote your content.

When websites are starting out, they don’t have much relevant content or any authority (links).

Therefore, there’s no concrete signal to Google that it deserves a higher ranking than established sites with high authority.

Fresh, relevant content is an important asset in developing quality and establishing your brand’s importance. Proper keyword usage and on-page SEO tactics are critical.

Despite content and on-site SEO strategies, websites might not take off in Google page rankings until that link juice starts flowing.

Websites with low authority may be great sites with great content, but get little love from the search engines.

As links from quality sites start to grow, more page rank flows, and the site will start to move up.

What Is “Link Juice?”

Call it Link Authority, Backlink Authority, or Link Juice; it’s the name people give to reference the SEO value of a link from a particular website.

The better quality of the link, the better the authority.

Social shares and brand mentions can provide value when they come from quality sites. That’s why so many brands are now turning to guest posts or content marketing to create high-quality articles appearing in high ranking publications, with links back to the brand owner.

Other websites are using their credibility to vouch for yours.

When one website links to another, search engines see this as an implied endorsement. Google will tally the endorsements and use it to make decisions about the significance of your site.

Off-site search engine optimization done correctly can give your website an injection of authority and positively impact your quality score.

What Are Page Rank Points?

The value of these high-quality links can’t be underestimated.

Inbound links to your site, and links in your content to other pages on your site create higher PageRank points.

The amount of link juice you get can add up fast. The old public-facing PR used a scale of 1-10, but the points from high-quality sites with high PageRank points can rocket your PR score.

It’s a little more complicated than that, though.

Why PageRank Is No Longer Public

If PageRank helped users find the pages they were searching for and showcase the pages that were the best and highest quality, why would Google stop letting people see their PageRank score?

People tried to game the system.

Remeber the Google PageRank toolbar?

example of the toolbar in a browser

Sorry, you can no longer check Google PageRank

Link farms popped up exchanging links or, in some cases, buying and selling links.

Manipulating inbound links to your websites, or outbound links from your website can impact your Page Rank. These practices clearly violate its Webmaster Guidelines.

Making the PR scores private, and not revealing how much PageRank attributes impact the google ranking algorithm makes it tougher for bad actors to manipulate the system.

Most recently, Google has prioritized mobile optimization, load speed, other UX (User Experience) factors, time spent, content quality, quality freshness, and a host of other items.

Do they count for more or less than PageRank?

Website owners are left to guess, which means more of a focus on overall quality than trying to beat the search engine algorithm.

PageRank used links as a signal

Pass Me Some Link Juice / Authority, Please!

Authority is passed from one site to another.

It’s a percentage of the Google PageRank points on a web page divided by the number of outbound links. There’s an upper limit to what can be transferred to another site based on the PageRank itself.

The fewer outbound links, the more authority that it transferred. If there are five outbound links, they’ll all split by 5.

If the website has reached its limits, you may not get much of anything at all. If they remove the link, or delete an important page, it will lower the PageRank points you get.

Transferring Link Authority with Internal Linking

Google also pays attention to internal links when deciding search engine ranking. You can transfer authority to your own internal pages by linking to them.

You can reinforce your relevancy by linking similar content within your own website. Called “SEO Siloing,” it helps search engines better understand the central theme of your content.

You have to be careful here, though.

example of internal linking

Why NoFollow Is Worth Considering

As a website owner, you can also tell Google not to transfer PageRank points by adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute.

Nofollow links do not pass PageRank. Adding a nofollow link means that link will not pass PageRank (a Google-only measurement of the quantity and quality of links) to another page.

A no follow link is created with the nofollow link HTML tag, which looks like this:

rel=”nofollow”>Link Text

The nofollow tag is telling search engines “hey ignore this and do not count it.”

As a general rule, Use nofollow only if you don’t care to vouch for the page you are linking to.

It is best practice to always no follow these links:

  • Links in a comment section or forums
  • Paid or sponsored links
  • All links in press releases
  • Author bylines

“I’d recommend not using nofollow for kind of PageRank sculpting within a website because it probably doesn’t do what you think it does” John Mueller, Google September 2017

Are You Ready to Develop a Powerhouse SEO Plan? Contact The #1 Ranking SEO Expert!

Link Building: Not Just About Link Building

You need to monitor and grow your positive brand mentions – whether you get physical links or not.

Strategies to Grow Your Positive Mentions

  • Social Media & Review Sites can be a great resource.
  • Provide great service and great products that inspire your customers
  • Encouraging your customers and raving fans to help spread the word can be effective
  • Positioning yourself as an expert resource by commenting online can help create positive interactions and may provide linking opportunities on high-quality sites
  • Influencer Marketing sometimes gets a bad rap, but doing it well can create a positive buzz
  • Viral content that promotes your brand in a positive way

One free resource to track your brand mentions across social platforms is Social Mention.

When you find a positive brand mention on a high-quality site, consider sending them a thank you note and asking if they’ll provide a link.

That might help turn that positive brand mention into high-quality links.

Implied links

In its purest form, Page Rank alone looked at the web as a series of web pages, connected by links to represent relationships.

Links from good sites represent trust. Lack of links or links from low-value websites demonstrates diminished Google TrustRank.

Today the internet is much more than just pages and links.

Relationships can be demonstrated in other ways. Social signals, social mentions, and brand mentions may not include a link, but still, contribute to a brand’s authority.

There’s also a big difference between someone talking positively about a brand on social media and someone trashing it.

It is no longer just about pages linking. Links alone can’t convey context.

If you go to your favorite website and read a positive review about a product, then see the product advertised on TV, and your best friend told you she bought one, and it is great, you would likely have a positive association with the product and the brand.

That is how it happens in real life. Until the past few years online, without the link, none of that mattered. As search evolved, companies realized this shortcoming.

Starting with Google’s Panda algorithm update in 2015, the search company also began to incorporate implied links into its rankings.

“An implied link is a reference to a target resource, e.g., a citation to the target resource, which is included in a source resource but is not an express link to the target resource,” Google said in its patent filing. “Thus, a resource in the group can be the target of an implied link without a user being able to navigate to the resource by following the implied link.”

Google Algorithm: Page Rank is still a factor

PageRank is just another ranking signal inside the algorithm that’s continually changing. Google admits it sometimes tweaks the algorithm it uses multiple times every day.

PageRank as we knew it has been buried, but its bones are still around.

It has been incorporated into Google’s algorithm. The algorithm has more than 200 other ranking signals that are used to determine search engine ranking.

The lessons we have learned from PageRank can still act as fundamental SEO strategies. I would also recommend checking out my other articles on Google’s ever-changing algorithm, including Google RankBrain.