Since the introduction of the Google Toolbar and subsequent addition of the PageRank display, there have been many discussions about its value. SEO specialists really began to focus on PageRank in 2003, almost to the point of obsession. Since, people have realized that PageRank is an important indicator of the probable weight that Google gives certain pages' inbound links, but not the do-all-end-all.
A recent thread at WebmasterWold forums poses an interesting dilemma for PageRank-watchers: what if there is toolbar PageRank displayed but the page does not appear to be in the Google index? Can this happen? According to a few posters, it has happened over the past few weeks. Does this mean that having PageRank does not necessarily mean the page can be ranked in Google results pages?
The thread has some interesting suggestions, including the idea that the page or site may be banned or penalized, as well as that it may just be a glitch. However, the thread "died" on January 16 with no further follow up. One particularly insightful comment is that:
It would seem like a strange tactic for Google to leave PageRank on a site that has been banned. PageRank is not only viewed by webmasters but a lot of web users and professionals judge their surfing experience on PageRank. (Ex. Where they buy from, trusted sources, etc.)
I personally never use PageRank to help me decide on the validity of a page, trusting instead the content and any linked sources within. But I had never thought of this, and it makes sense that some people would use it as a vote of confidence in the page, even though PageRank is certainly fairly easy to manipulate, which is why it is most likely not the major factor in search rankings.
Some people have chosen to almost completely ignore PageRank...I wonder if Rand still does a year later? Anyway, it would be nice to have an update on this question. Join the thread at WebmasterWorld forums.