Goodbye, Google PageRank Data: Maybe Just for Now, But More Likely Forever

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Earlier this month, I had speculated that Google was getting ready to retire PageRank. It hadn’t been updated for several months and Matt Cutts hinted that PageRank “started to go away a little bit” in a recent webmaster help video. In his keynote at PubCon in Las Vegas, Cutts revealed the reason why PageRank hasn’t been updated and why it likely won’t be updated for a while – if ever.

Internally, PageRank updates on a daily basis and every so often, Google would push out the PageRank data to the Google toolbar through a pipeline (they haven’t done so since early 2013). The reason we haven’t seen a fresh PageRank update recently is because the PageRank pipeline broke, so while the PageRank data internally continues to update as it should, webmasters hoping to get a fresh look at PageRank data are out of luck.

Cutts also revealed they do not have anyone currently working on updating the pipeline and confirms we won’t see a PageRank update anytime this year. They are evaluating it to see if they need make a fix to update PageRank publicly next year.

Many webmasters still obsess over PageRank data, but the fact it hasn’t been updating since early this year means that webmasters have been less reliant on using it as an SEO tool of value. While Google continues to update the algorithm and penalize sites, webmasters can’t use it to spot check if a site has been penalized, as they could in years past. Fewer users are using the Google toolbar in Internet Explorer (it is also a feature that has to be manually turned on) so fewer people are seeing the data at all. There are still a lot of SEO tools that utilize and display PageRank information for sites and use it as a metric, particularly in tools that are gauging potential link values.

While it isn’t confirmed we will never see a PageRank update ever again, the fact we will only have a single PageRank update in 2013 and Google isn’t working on a pipeline fix makes it less likely PageRank will be updated or a valuable tool for webmasters going forward.

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