Why should not we forget about PageRank in 2019

Before talking about anything, let's talk about the elephant in the room.

The last official public update of PageRank took place in December 2013. In October In 2014, Google's John Mueller confirmed what we had suspected for a long time: the Google PageRank toolbar was officially dead. The last nail in the coffin came two years later, when Google removed the PageRank toolbar from its browser.

So, of course, many people roll their eyes when they see "news" about PageRank in 2019. And many people just let PageRank remain a vestige of the past.

But even if the PageRank toolbar is gone, Gary Illyes of Google confirmed in 2017 that is still a ranking signal (although one of the hundreds that Google uses).

* (To avoid confusion, I'll use the term "Toolbar PR" to refer to the public version now non-existent and "PageRank" to refer to the metric in the background of Google.)

We also have other evidence that Google uses and always updates the PageRank behind the scenes: in April 2018, they updated their PageRank patent and filed a continuation request.

Of course, the fact that Google has a patent does not mean that they use it. However, there is enough evidence to suggest that the PageRank rating still exists and remains an important indicator, even though the general public can no longer view their score from 1 to 10 under the PR toolbar. PageRank is far from the only measure that matters, but that does not mean that we should ignore it altogether or pretend that it does not affect the rankings.

Which brings us to the current topic: If we know that PageRank is still a ranking signal, but we do not know what changes Google brings to their algorithm or what impact has PageRank in 2019, what can do we do about it?

It is here that SEOs are usually located in one of the two camps.

You do not know and focus only on measures that you can measure accurately and that you think will improve your website (in which case this article will not be of much use). You are using a new, highly correlated measure. with PageRank that will help you make informed assumptions and optimize the ranking signal we know still exists (in this case, read on!).

There is no single substitution for the PR toolbar or any foolproof way to calculate. Ranking. I will not peddle snake oil to tell you that such a thing exists.

Instead, this article will give you a (very brief) overview of PageRank's history, explain how it is (or was) calculated, and then talk about a study recent survey that shows the correlation between these alternative solutions and these rankings. We will finish with some basic tips that should help you improve your PageRank (at least in theory).

Let's move on to a (short and sweet) story of PageRank.

What's going on? PageRank?

If you already had a transient familiarity with SEO in recent years, you will probably recognize PR Toolbar. The PR toolbar took the most complex PageRank metric backstage and summarized it into a zero-to-10 easy-to-understand score: the higher your number, the better your page.

What is PageRank? TL version; DR is a way for Google to rank Web pages based on their importance, based on the number and quality of incoming links on a page.

So, suppose your page has a PageRank of 10/10 and includes links to five other pages. According to Google's original formula, 85% of the PageRank of your page would be divided between each of the pages you accessed. 8.5 / 5 = 1.7. Thus, each page would receive a PageRank of 1.7 / 10 of your page.

(This is a very simplified overview of the calculation of the PageRank ranking calculation.If you are interested in the calculation, I advise you to focus it's really a fascinating reading of Dixon Jones. )

Suffice it to say that when SEOs talk about the "quality of a link", "link authority" or "link of juice" or use expressions such as "not all links are created equal", that's part of what we're talking about.

Of course, Google has changed a lot in terms of ranking pages over the years. It would be foolish to assume that PageRank has not experienced a similar evolution. Nevertheless, it is a safe bet that the fundamental concept and the underlying objectives of PageRank have remained relatively constant over the years.

This is based on the former PageRank patent, AFAIK. I would not be surprised if there are significant changes in the meantime. It's still useful as an exercise, but I would not presume it's now 1: 1. What is implemented at Google now.

– 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) October 26, 2018

Why Toolbar PR died

In theory, the PageRank ranking seems like a good way to know the pages searched by users and ensure that they display the best and safest pages that match their search criteria. And of course, Google still uses the PageRank in its ranking algorithm.

But, as I mentioned earlier, by the end of 2013, the public tool was practically pushing up the daisies. So what went wrong? The short answer is: SEO has gone too far.

With the advent of PR Toolbar, the PageRank ranking was adopted as a ranking signal to optimize. Then a wave of link farms and link spam. Unscrupulous SEOs have tried to play with the system and artificially strengthen their PageRank score. Buying links to "high public relations" has become its own industry and agencies have begun selling the service to companies around the world.

In response, Google ended optimal SEO practices and began to depreciate the PageRank ranking. They also made fun of their ranking process. Google quickly deleted the PageRank ranking data from Webmaster Tools (now the Google Search Console).

Google explained why many times:

"We've been telling people for a long time that they should not focus too much on PageRank; many site owners seem to think that this is the most important step to follow, which is simply wrong. We removed it because we thought it was stupid to tell people not to think about it, but to show them the data, which implies that they should examine it. :-), "said Susan Moskwa of Google.

In 2016, the toolbar PR had officially disappeared.

So, why are we talking about PageRank today? "He's been out of sight and minded for the last three years? Because, in the absence of PR Toolbar, SEOs have come up with many metrics based on the domain strength link we can use to estimate PageRank. *

* (again, none of them is an exact replica. of PageRank, they do not Also, do not rely on Google behind the scenes, but as thousands of people have discovered, they're still useful indicators when you're doing SEO and looking for areas to improve.)

Today, we have access to more third party replacement indicators than before, and from there. Others appear all the time. This raises the question: what is the best measure to use in the majority of SEO cases (ie, what is the new "gold standard?")

To find out it has become commonplace to measure these measures against tangible results. SEO results – SERP positions in particular. In this way, we can see which metric corresponds more closely to real-world results.

Domain InLink Rank Correlation Results

We want Domain InLink Rank to reflect the page ranking power as accurately as possible. SEOs gain a better understanding of the quality of their domains and pages. To test the validity of our metrics, we regularly conduct Domain InLink rank correlation studies.

Our last study took place from March 4 to 6, 2019. During this period, we compiled a list of 1,000,000 URLs extracted from the top 30 positions in Google's SERPs for 33,500 queries. We then calculated the Domain InLink rank of each SERP.

We found that the correlation between the InLink ranking and the SERP ranking was extremely high: 0.128482487. I will not go into detail here, but you can consult the study if our specific methodology interests you.

Suffice to say that the metric correlates quite strongly with Google's current ranking.

How to improve PageRank

Even though we can not see our PageRank score or measure it directly, there are some good practice steps you can take to preserve and increase your PageRank:

quality backlinks. Regularly run the return link analysis (probably using one of the tools mentioned above) and make sure that the flow of links flowing through your site comes from pages with high PageRank. By the way, some SEO professionals think that some links may not pass at all to the rank of PageRank – and others may even go to negative PageRank (something close to the spam rank). The best thing to do to avoid these problems is to keep your link profile clean. Keep a shallow site structure. You must keep your most important pages as close to your pages as possible with a high PageRank. On most websites, this is your home page, but it may not be the case for sites with better internal landing pages and more external links than 'Home. Follow the best practices for links coming out of a page. Examine carefully the location of the links on a page. the links in your content are more valuable than the navigation links. And limit the number of links pointing from each of your pages to other internal and external pages to a reasonable number. Tell users where links are leading. The use of an appropriate anchor text will help both users navigate your content and your SEO. Just keep it contextual and avoid keyword stuffing. When done organically, placing relevant keywords in the anchor text informs search engines about the content of your page. As semantic search becomes smarter, unrelated statements are likely to gain in importance. I'm not saying yet that they're a ranking signal, but we've received indications that Google has begun to consider online brand mentions in its search algorithm.


When Looking for New Ways to Improve Your Rankings, it is helpful to take into account all known signals and take them into account in the decisions you make for improve your website experience, both for users and for search engines.

InLink Rank and other similar indicators are a good starting point. to evaluate the ranking potential of particular domains: industrial studies have shown that these measures have a fairly close correlation with the SERP rankings.

Today, links are still an essential element of SEO. If you understand this, you know that many optimizations based on the best practices of our industry have an impact on PageRank. We may not be able to measure it directly, but it does not hurt to keep in mind that the PageRank formula is still important in 2019.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and are not necessarily search engines. . Associated authors are listed here.

About the Author

Aleh Barysevich is the Founder and Director of Corporate Marketing Behind SEO PowerSuite, Professional Software for Complete SEO Campaigns , and Awario, a social media monitoring application. He is an SEO expert and a seasoned speaker at major industry conferences including SMX London, BrightonSEO and SMX East in 2018.

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