As confirmed by Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller, Google is removing PageRank from its Toolbar.
So if you’ve been using the extension to see all the juicy PageRank data from any website you visit, I’m afraid you won’t have access anymore.
— John Mueller (@JohnMu) March 9, 2016
Before we all get too excited, Google has explained that it will still be using PageRank internally within its ranking algorithm. It’s just that regular people like you and me (assuming you don’t work in the upper echelons of Google) won’t be able to see it.
But… did being able to see PageRank even make that much of a difference for SEOs?
The metric hasn’t actually been updated for years, so the data isn’t exactly the most pertinent way to judge a site’s ranking. In fact if you look at our own history of publishing articles on SEW about PageRank, they all basically say the same thing – PageRank is dead. And we’ve also learned recently that CTR may well beat PageRank as a signal anyway.
As John Mueller confirmed in an article in The SEM Post featured in the tweet above:
“As the Internet and our understanding of the Internet have grown in complexity, the Toolbar PageRank score has become less useful to users as a single isolated metric. Retiring the PageRank display from Toolbar helps avoid confusing users and webmasters about the significance of the metric.”
I asked our own in-house SEO expert Abishek Jeyaraj, about the removal, and he suggested that PageRank was “primarily used for backlink acquisition purposes” and was no longer important.
This makes sense in a world where machine learning and UX are becoming more and more integral to ranking algorithms, and link-building is – possibly – becoming less of a signal.