The latest and probably the last public Page Rank update was released by Google in December 2013 and prior to this update there were already rumors and opinions regarding the fact that Google might actually be killing the PR for websites all over the world. Now, the thing that more and more people considered a reality has been officially confirmed: Google won’t update Page Ranks anymore!
The announcement was made, according to SEJ, during a Google Hangout by Google’s own John Mueller. Asked about a coming PR update, he said:
Toolbar PageRank is something that we have not updated for about a year now, and we’re probably not going to be updating it going forward… we have a lot of way to recognize these problematic links, and the sites selling those links, that essentially blocks the PageRank from passing through those sites.
So, yes, we can go as far as saying that Page Rank as we know it is dead. Or, even worse: frozen in its current state. Although Google will clearly perform under the hood changes constantly to the Page Rank of websites all over the world, we won’t be able to see those changes. In other words, Google didn’t kill the PR metric as far as we know, but decided to keep it a secret from now on.
Is the death of Page Rank good or bad?
I don’t really think that Google stopping to update the Page Rank of websites is a good thing, at least not for now. They have just stopped showing the changes they are making to the PRs, but haven’t removed the PR values as of December 2013. In other words, blogs that had a Page Rank 4 last year still have it and the Page Rank Toolbar will probably show that forever, even though in reality the PR might be dropped to zero. A similar thing happens to Page Rank zero blogs, but that doesn’t change things that much.
However, for people who are just starting out in this business or are just not up to date with Google’s latest changes, this might mean a loss of money or poor investments. SEO guys and girls all over the world will keep selling high PR links to customers, even though those links might have absolutely no value. Not only because the actual PR might be different but because, as John Mueller said, Google is blocking Page Rank juice from passing through sites they consider spammy. BUT the problem is that most people won’t know this. They will spend money thinking that they’re buying high PR links that will benefit their websites.
What should Google do? Reset all PR values to 0. Since the public values are outdated and inaccurate anyway, this is what they should do. But they probably won’t, and this measure that was certainly meant to stop black hat link building will only benefit those who were already offering such services.
What alternatives are out there for checking out the Page Rank?
Even though Google is the only player who knows the exact value of a website’s PR and they alone set that value based on a multitude of metrics, there are other services out there that try to replicate the formula and which can be used (ideally together) to find out the real backlink value of a website. The alternatives are:
Open Site Explorer
This might become the industry’s standard in the near future when it comes to checking out the “PR” of a website. Open Site Explorer actually shows two different metrics, DA (Domain Authority) and PA (Page Authority). The DA is basically the value of the PR, and it’s extremely similar to Google’s approach, with the only difference being that the DA is calculated from 1 to 100, while PR was from 1 to 10. If you want to find the real PR value, simply divide by ten: so a DA of 33 is equal to a PR of 3.
AHREFS: Site Explorer
A service that’s very similar to Open Site Explorer, which calculates the Ahrefs Domain Rank on a range from 1 to 100. This service seems to do a little bit better in terms of spotting all the backlinks pointing to a domain, but the fact that their Domain Rank can’t be compared to the former Page Rank (as in dividing the DR by 10 won’t give you the PR) makes it a bit more complicated to follow by some people. However, things are changing and if you stick to its values only, you will easily be able to compare domains. Check it out here.
This website offers a completely different look at the authority of the websites and makes things even more complicated by showing us the Citation Flow & Trust Flow, with the Citation Flow being the “PR” here. Majestic SEO takes various things into consideration and their reports can change a lot based on the selections you make before generating the report, making this the least beginner-friendly option on the list.
The biggest disadvantage of all these Page Rank alternatives is that they are not based on Google’s algorithms. They won’t show you the exact links that Google considers when ranking your page, so they might be slightly (or a bit more) off. However, it’s the only thing that we have now and we have to get used to it. Using any of these services is certainly a lot better than simply checking out the now outdated PR values or going blindly into the blogging game. Things are getting way more complicated than they used to be, that’s for sure!
What about you? Do you care about Google stopping to publicly share the Page Rank changes?