The oft-asked question of “when will Google update toolbar PageRank?” has been answered — the answer is never. A company spokesperson has confirmed with SEJ that PageRank is officially being shuttered. Any browser toolbars currently making use of the data will stop displaying it in the coming weeks.
What was once the gold standard for website authority is now a chapter in SEO history. PageRank’s former position as the standard for website authority was frequently leveraged by link sellers making money off website owners who wanted quick boost in rankings.
Link spam ran rampant in the heyday of PageRank as site owners and agencies alike would buy and place as many high-PR links as they could to outrank competitors. The history of PageRank is therefore littered with paid links, black hat tactics, and is the reason why we still get email pitches from link sellers today.
The decision to stop supporting PageRank has been a slow burn. The last documented update was in December 2013; prior to that it was 10 months between updates. In October 2014, Google’s John Mueller confirmed the company would probably not be updating PageRank again, but its future was still the subject of speculation. Now it’s certain that PageRank scores are going away for good.
With that chapter closed, it will be interesting to see if Google will adjust how it weights inbound links as a ranking signal. If nothing else, the absence of PageRank should be a relief for those of us who used to get obsessed scrutinizing the quality of every inbound links, or worrying about what number Google would assign to our site with the next toolbar update. Welcome to a PageRank-free web.
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