Why do I say, I don’t care PageRank (toolbar) updates?

Should we care or not?
I bet most of the experts hold this doubt, but afraid to ask or comment in public, since it is considered as a newbie question. In fact, a lot of mis-concepts and wrong theories are there, floating around about Google PageRank.

If you are an SEO and you ask an expert about PageRank, they advice you ‘Don’t care about that’. If you ask the same question as a Website Owner who are seeking for SEO Services, the same so called SEO Expert will try to sell PageRank to you, saying it’s vital for your website. Some may move on further and say ‘you must be kidding, PageRank is just bullsh*t’. And when Google updates the Toolbar PageRank, you hear from the same chaps, ‘Wtf, mine went down to 3 from 5’, ‘hey look, I have a 7/10 now…’ and a week continuous discussions in Forums and mail groups. There are exceptions, they took a diplomatic stand and they never put a comment in these discussions but keep on an eye on what others talk.

Whom to blame?
First among all, I would say, Google itself is misleading the Web Masters and Newbies. If you see their page on PageRank, they say:

The heart of our software is PageRank™, a system for ranking web pages developed by our founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford University. And while we have dozens of engineers working to improve every aspect of Google on a daily basis, PageRank continues to play a central role in many of our web search tools. – http://www.google.com/technology/

Either, they are considering Heart is an unimportant organ in a human body, or they are Lying. When someone searches for PageRank and this page ranks at #2 in Google. I reported this to Google using ‘Google spam report‘ since I felt the page is misleading. Well, I am not that optimistic to think they will hear me.
On the other hand, if you see a comment from a Google Engineer, Matt Cutts:

Oy, enough PageRank questions! My advice is not to obsess about PageRank too much; it is one of more than 100 different factors in how we score documents. Ref: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/more-info-on-pagerank/#comment-87342

Who is Lying? The Google PageRank page or Matt Cutts?

In fact, according to most of the known experts and from experiences I can say that Matt Cutts comment stands more near to the fact. What there in Google’s page is something which they didn’t update from years. It’s a fact that Google was developed based on PageRank and those days are gone. Now they are having 100s of other factors to evaluate a webpage other than PageRank.

Why Google Lies then?
Google is not Lying, it’s just hiding some truths. By PageRank they mean your Actual Pagerank which is a floating point value based on your BackLinks. But the visible PageRank – i.e; what we see on Google Toolbar or on any PageRank tools – is an integer value scaled in between 1 to 10 based on your to your Actual PageRank.

Google updates the Toolbar PageRank occasionally in an year. Usually they do this on every 3rd of 4th month but the last global update happened was around 6 months back. The recent drops reported were not a global update, I call it as a PageRank Edit or PageRank Adjustment, since not every website is updated and only drops are reported on selected websites.

Why I strongly suggest Google to Rewrite their PageRank page?
As we saw when someone searches [pagerank] in Google they will see this page is ranking at #2 (in my DC). When they see a page from Google, obviously they go to that page since they expect Google to give them authorized information about PageRank. And when they see Google says ‘PageRank is the heart of their system’ how can you expect, they believe us when we say’ PageRank is not important for your Ranks’. Again Google blame on SEOs for misleading the website owners and Sell PageRank. Wtf.

Why does Google Toolbar PageRank Never represent your Actual PageRank?
AFAIK, there are two stages occurs when Google update the Toolbar PageRank.

  1. Gathering the Actual PageRank of every webpage at a given Time.
  2. Converting the gathered Actual PageRank into a 1 to 10 scale and Export it into the Google Toolbar.

Logically, at least on the time of update, your Toolbar Pagerank should match with your Actual PageRank. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen in real. Since it’s noticed that Google takes couple of weeks time in between gathering the Actual PageRank and Exporting it into the Toolbar.

You can read about the experiment to prove this. Thanks to Michael VanDemar.

Its actually a simple test, comparing the dates of Google updates the Toolbar PageRank and the last date you see a page is assigned with a PageRank. The trend we see based on this experiment is that Google takes a couple of weeks time in between taking the snapshot of the Actual Pagerank and exports it into the Toolbar. Thus, even on the day you see a new PageRank on your Toolbar it’s actually a couple of weeks Old value.

You won’t see any PageRank for a webpage went live after the date Google took the snapshot of Actual PageRank. You have to wait till next update to see any PageRank assigned to it, on your Google Toolbar or any third party tools.

Why do we say, Toolbar PageRank has No influence on your SERPs?
As we saw, the Visual PageRank (PageRank what you see on your Google Toolbar or using any tools) never represents your Actual PageRank, by the time Google updates the Toolbar PageRank, your SERPs must have been incorporated with those values. Thus we will not see any SERP changes following the PageRank export.

Then what is important about a PageRank Update?
Easy question, but answering this is not that easy. I would suggest take it as an indication about how Google grades about your past actions. If you are seeing an increase in your PageRank you can take it as an indication about something you did in the past gained some trust in Google. If you are seeing a drop, something you did went wrong with Google.

A Word from the Author:
A request to Google. Please don’t blame on us, it’s You guys selling PageRank, not SEOs. As long as you say PageRank is the heart of your System, we can’t help you in this. We had a healthy discussion at SEORefugee.com forum on “Why do we say, we don’t care PageRank (toolbar) updates?” and some of the above findings are gathered from there. Thanks to Michael VanDemar, Randall McCarley and rest all SEOR members for sharing insightful thoughts with us.

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