It seems to me that the last couple months the idea that PageRank doesnít matter has been the attitude du jour on forums. Iím not entirely sure why, perhaps a combination of Google mixing things up with Florida and lowering the frequency of toolbar PR updates. What I do know is that this pervasive anti-PR sentiment is a mystery to me.
We have all seen posts where someone wonders why a competitorís site ranks higher than theirs even though they have more PR. It used to be this person was answered with an explanation that PR is not the only thing that matters, you also need appropriate anchor text with your incoming links and on page content. Now you canít even say the word PageRank in a post without someone responding that PageRank doesnít matter and you should waste your time. They usually donít offer an explanation for this opinion and they treat it as well known fact.I will be the first to admit that some people are far too concerned with that little green bar than they need to be. However, being unconcerned is no better. Saying PageRank doesnít matter is like saying incoming links donít matter, and nothing could be further from the truth.
How useful your incoming links are will depend on three things: the anchor text used; the PR of and number of links on the linking page; and, if Google uses LocalRank, the ranking of the page itself on the term you are targeting. If any single one of these components is missing, the rest will do very little for you. A high PageRank link with poor anchor text will not directly help you any more than good anchor text links from pages with 0 PR.
However, even off topic links will increase your PR, sure, that doesnít directly help you in the SERPs, but assuming you link from your homepage to a subpage then that subpage should benefit from the increased PR of the homepage, and so will the rest of your site.
So why donít we give the anti-PageRank party a rest. If someone asks you for advice you can strongly stress that PageRank is but one of many factors, but if you tell them it is meaningless youíre not doing them any favors.