Google Doesn't Want You To Think About PageRank

Jan 7, 2011 • 6:15 am | comments (11) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

A WebmasterWorld thread asks, why does Google not show a page's PageRank within Webmaster Tools. The SEO asked, "The reason we all want to see pagerank is to tell how our site(s) are performing, just like all the other stats provided. Since you'd have to verify and login, its not as likley to be abused as the toolbar."

Truth be told, we know the answer. Google did show PageRank in Webmaster Tools but dropped it in October 2009. Why? Google's Susan Moskwa explained then:

We've been telling people for a long time that they shouldn't focus on PageRank so much; many site owners seem to think it's the most important metric for them to track, which is simply not true. We removed it because we felt it was silly to tell people not to think about it, but then to show them the data, implying that they should look at it. :-)

Yes, Google does not want you to "think about it" or even "look at it."

So why not remove it from the Toolbar? Well, they wanted to but I assume Google's PR team (press team) didn't want to drop it for marketing reasons.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Previous story: Google's Numbers In Webmaster Tools Are +/- 2.5M


Mark the Webalyst

01/07/2011 12:47 pm

I'm inclined to believe what Google say about toolbar PR: "don't take it seriously". I don't know the history but I'm going for the simplest least conspiratorial reasoning here.. At a time when there were few if any SERP checking tools around, and fewer who would bother to use them. I would guess that it was introduced to give website owners a simple measure which they could use to guide their honest efforts to improve the quality and value of their content. Then, along come a lot of people who used it to find alternative ways to boost SERP. What are Google to do? Well, step one is to screw it so it can't be used for this any more. (This assumes there was some reason they couldn't remove it, or wanted to keep it there. We don't know what this reason is). If we beleive they wish to 'do no evil' and I think we can accept it still lingers in the culture, then it also makes sense that they would want to let website owners know that toolbar page rank is now screwed and not to be taken seriously, and that the way they want website owners to seek improved SERP is to focus on quality and value, rather than subversion. This makes more sense to me than the idea that toolbar PR is a valuable ranking factor but Google are telling you otherwise to stop you abusing it. Mark (in London)


01/07/2011 01:41 pm

Hi Barry Happy new year to you mate Funnily enough I wrote about this subject this week

Curt Cella

01/08/2011 12:09 am

Love all the hand wringing about Page Rank - and all the commentary by the Google crew: Yes don't worry about Page rank because we're not: We were - once upon a time - when we were actually a search firm who was interested and emotionally invested in search as an important part of the Web experience. Now? meh....not so much. Now we're interested in marketing cell phones, netbooks and delivering some horsecrap cloud computing concept that was DOA even before it was DOA'd. No SEO fans - for you to be interested in Page rank - which is - other than your site's actual performance in the index itself - the most obvious indicator that you are doing something right/wrong that would mean WE - Google - would have to be interested in it and being interested would mean we would have to apply resources (insert $$$ here) to that 'interest'. Nope just better to tell you something really vague and totally useless like "write GREAT content" that can't be quantified in any meaningful way. I mean we have computer algorithms at work here people - do you guys know of any computer algorithm that can discern great content from merely good content or better yet: Crappy content? Uhh nope...neither can we... that's why it always tickles us to pat you kids on the head and with a "write great content" directive sent you on your way (And like meek little sheep you scurry away....) and then we go back to doing whatever the heck we feel like doing while printing money thanks to the fact that we have virtually no competition to speak of for our core "business" which (Bing?!? Yeah right - ooooo we're petrified...) Good grief: The most advanced thing these dodos can come with is the whole auto complete thing...? Uhh yeah that really rocked my world .....oooooo so advanced..... They trot out crap like that so it gives the world the impression that they give a damn about search and then they just go back to whatever the heck they were doing and let the same crappy results linger unabated for months/years.... Good grief: The stench coming off of some Google results is like cheese left out to bake in the Arizona sun....

Haseeb Najam

01/08/2011 07:49 am

IMHO It was just another effort by Google to stop the increasing craze of Paid Links :) Infact there hasn't any major toolbar PR update lately.


01/09/2011 02:29 am

haha..looks like..??


01/10/2011 06:35 am

They don't want to because it WORKS! They are afraid that people would reverse engineer their algo. That is true too, we SEO's have been doing it for years and would continue to do so.


01/10/2011 09:14 am

Any time when there were few, if any SERP checking tools around, and fewer who would bother to use them. I would guess that it was introduced to give website owners a simple measure which they could use to guide their honest efforts to improve the quality and value of their content.


01/11/2011 03:47 am

Ashish...I believe you it the nail on the head. I think it was cutting a little too close to the bone for them.

Rajesh @Techlila

02/06/2012 07:12 pm

But if this is the case then why they are updating PageRank 4 times in a year?


02/07/2012 06:59 am

If it is not important, then they should update it no more

Prashant Chourdia

04/04/2012 11:04 am

Yes correct, Webmasters should keep eyes on SEO only.

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