When we were all just getting started on the web, there was one almost universally accepted metric that measured your site’s search engine optimisation success – the Google PageRank. If you have absolutely no idea what PageRank is, it is a numerical grade assigned by Google to every website on the internet to measure the sites’ relative importance. The rule of thumb is that the higher the PageRank, the higher its search engine rankings.

That was a few years ago, though. When you’re on the web, a few years can be a long time, and what was true then might not be applicable today. We’re seeing the beginnings of the real-time web, where we can see instantaneous tweets, blog and posts come out as they happen. Does PageRank still matter?

A few search engine optimisation practitioners would go as far as to say that PageRank doesn’t matter anymore. It’s because no matter how many hours you work on a site’s PageRank; in the end, your website’s PageRank is subject to the whims of Google. Such a subjective system, for them, is not going to work. On the other hand, other SEO specialists are saying that PageRank’s importance has indeed diminished over the years, but you can’t just ignore it – it’s still a vital metric to measure your SEO success.

So how should we approach PageRank nowadays? Personally, I go with the second school of thought regarding PageRank – it’s not as important as before, but it still matters nonetheless. Even Google’s employees are telling people to stop focusing on PageRank so much, because it’s no longer the most important metric for them to track.

Personally, I focus on keyword optimization first and search engines second. I don’t even spend energy trying to raise my PageRank, because there’s no guarantee I’ll get PR4 on my sites anyway. I just focus on content and building quality backlinks.

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