It died a slow death. For the past 13 years, people the internet over have been sounding the death knoll for Google PageRank. Yet, like Elvis, it never seemed to die. It remained around to be pronounced dead over, and over, and over again. Searching in Google (where else?), I found PageRank death announcements as far back as 2003. Let’s take a trip down memory lane. 2003:
Apparently by 2006 there were a significant number of people in the industry claiming that PageRank was dead. 2008:
This is itself a great article detailing the slow removal of Google Toolbar PageRank. And the chart Marvin put together showing Toolbar PR updates from 2006-2014 is a great visual aid:
But despite all the grim predictions, there were plenty of people willing to believe (and/or tell potential clients and link buyers) that the Toolbar PageRank still meant something. Ever seen an ad offering PR6 or PR7 backlinks? Ever had a marketing company tell you they can build links to you from high PageRank pages?
Well, they’re going to have to go out of business – or change their advertising. Because Google itself has publicly killed the Toolbar PageRank. So if there still is a PageRank metric in Google’s algorithm (Google says there is, but there are always doubters) no one will ever know it or have any representative figure for it. Last month, in March 2016, Google announced their PageRank-icidal plans. And they made good on their threat. On April 15, 2016 – the Toolbar PageRank went black. No more number. No more visible PR. Where does that leave link brokers like the one above and PR checker tools like the one below, considering claiming anything is “PR” is no longer relevant?
Good question. Danny Sullivan posits that unfortunately, nothing will fundamentally change. Link brokers will still sell links. They’ll just switch to a different metric. Already, as you can see above, link brokers have brought in Moz’s DA (domain authority) metric. Will all the PR6 links for sale become DA60 links for sale? Will all the PR checkers become DA checkers? Will we finally stop seeing blog posts with the title “PageRank is Dead!”? Or will this give rise to a phenomena of “PageRank sightings?” Only time will tell. But in the meantime, it appears that Google PageRank has in fact left the building.