Has Google Killed Off Toolbar PageRank? And If Not, Should It?

    August 27, 2013
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

We may have reached the end of an era. We haven’t seen anything official, but Google hasn’t been updating Toolbar PageRank, and hasn’t said that it is not killing it. In fact, earlier this year, the company hinted that a time could come that they would kill it. Now, there’s nothing but virtual tumbleweeds in PageRank land.

Do you think Google should kill Toolbar PageRank or does this still provide value? Share your opinion in the comments.

Google has not updated its Toolbar PageRank since early February, and that was the only time they’ve done so all year. It’s unlike Google to go so long without updating it, which is leading some to wonder if Google is no longer going to provide this information.

Barry Scwhartz at Search Engine Roundtable pointed this out after noticing some chatter about it in the WebmasterWorld forum.

Typically, Google will push an update to this data about every three or four months. Last year, there were four updates, including in February like this year. Last year, however, there were also updates in May and August. August isn’t over yet, of course, but they’ve already skipped May, and August is nearing its end. The last update of 2012 came in November.

Some people would be happy to see Toolbar PageRank go away. Google has discussed why the company has continued to let it exist. Here’s Matt Cutts talking about it in a video earlier this year, coincidentally (?) around the time of the last update.

“My rough answer is,” Cutts said. “There are a lot of SEOs and people in search who look at the PageRank toolbar, but there are a ton of regular users as well. You would be really surprised at how many just regular people have the Google Toolbar, and user PageRank as a way to figure out…how reputable at something…I know it seems kind of strange, but it also seems strange that nofollow is only a single digit percentage of links on the web. We get into our tunnel vision, and we sort of say, ‘Oh, well no one else uses the PageRank toolbar,’ but the fact is a lot of people do.”

“Now, one interesting twist is Chrome doesn’t really have a PageRank toolbar feature built in, and Internet Explorer 10, as I understand it, doesn’t allow toolbars or add-ins, or as Microsoft calls it, it provides an ‘add-in free experience,’ so if IE 10 becomes more popular, eventually it might be the case that the Google Toolbar is not as commonly used, and in that case, it might be the case that, it might be such that over time, maybe the PageRank feature is not used by as many people, and so maybe it will go away on its own or eventually we’ll reach the point where we say, ‘Okay, maintaining this is not worth the amount of work.’” Emphasis added.

Perhaps Google has now reached that point. They certainly reached it with Google Reader, and that had quite a few users. We’ve reached out to Google for comment, and will update if we hear back

Update: Google has had plenty of time to get back to us, and has apparently chosen not to. We also reached out to Matt Cutts directly, who has also chosen not to respond. Schwartz also said he was reaching out to the company, and has apparently not yet received a response either. Clearly, Google is just staying quiet on this one.

This wouldn’t be the first time in recent memory that Google just quietly stopped updating information related to search. There for a while, as you may recall, Google was putting out monthly lists highlighting changes it had made to its algorithms. Eventually, they just started coming out more slowly, but at this point, it will be a year in October since Google has put out one of these lists. To my knowledge (despite my emails to the company), Google has not said why they stopped doing this. Initially, the lists were meant as a way for Google to be more transparent. It seems they decided to turn the transparency knob back a little.

It could very well be that Google simply hasn’t decided whether to continue on with PageRank updates, but based on Cutts’ comments from earlier this year, it seems inevitable that Toolbar PageRank is going away, or at the very least, becoming even less reliable as a measurement of Google’s view of a site, as the result of fewer updates.

This probably isn’t going to make people buying domains too thrilled, and people are already afraid of how Google views others’ sites in terms of links. They’re likely to be even more cautious about the domains they choose to buy these days. Perhaps Google simply recognizes this very fact, and doesn’t want people to think Toolbar PageRank should play a significant role in their domain-buying decisions.

Do you think Google should continue to update the Toolbar PageRank, or should it just go away? Let us know what you think.

Update: Apparently Barry at least got Google to say it wouldn’t comment on the situation.

Image: Google (YouTube)

  • http://submit2please.co.uk/ Kaushal Shah

    Matt Cutt, Do you know when Google last updated pagerank? In Feb 2013, Do you still think you are helping people who believes in pagerank.

    • http://ydnarr.com Randy Smith

      PR is still a big psychological deal in some circles, I’m betting you haven’t sold a domain or website this year. Even though people KNOW that the page rank hasn’t been updated for this long, you still see sites with a rank of 2 or more and a short URL, but no other valuable metrics, selling for $1000+.

      While the web designer who started this Feb, with traffic that is 3x of the above sites, still gets turned down for guests posts and links. All because of a PR0. No logic at all to it, but still…

      • http://www.motor-heads.co.uk/ Hayley Reeve

        Yeah, i get this alot and its really having an effect on my website. We started in Feb, and rely heavily on guest contributors. We have published every mon-fri since feb, have great metrics everywhere for a 6 month old site but PR still shows N/A which discourages a big chunk of contributors. Its difficult trying to convince people that PR really doesn’t matter much anymore.

        Ive even started publishing all of our stats on our about us page, pageviews per month, Moz DA, social stats etc in order to gain a little more trust.

        I dont care if Google is done with PR, but the fact that they wont make a statement at least confirming/denying just riles me. In the last couple of years its become apparent to me that Google is suffering from some kind of GOD complex.

        The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

  • http://trung.tran.com.au Trung Tran

    The more metrics we can use to measure a URL the better. It may not be useful to the majority but for domainers and marketers its better to have this info then not.

  • http://intersog.com/ Victoria

    I wonder if they will finally update the Pagerank – actually we all are waiting for it for already half of the year, would be good to know if there’ll be an update or the PR goes in past, because now having been not updated for so long, PR seems less relevant with every month

  • Jan

    I want to keep the pagerank bar. I use it in several ways besides just to judge a client’s website. When I’m looking to buy from a website, I won’t do it if there is a zero pagerank. I figure it hasn’t been around long enough to gain any trust, and so I don’t trust it. I also occasionally look at it just to see if a website is legitimate or not. It’s a helpful thing to have, and it will break my heart to see it go.

    • Jost

      PR is way out of date not just back to 02/2013 but for longer than that. I have sites that are rated top 10 for organic search and have PR of 2 – I have one that has been taken down for some time and is still rated high.
      Makes no sense and is a useless metric and irrelevant.
      If you’re basing any decision on PR then prepare to be very misguided.

      • Mark

        @Jost part of what you say is accurate, but turn it around, how many legitimate sites have absolutely no ranking? or a 0 rank? None, that I do business with.

        That does not mean that Sites with 1 or greater page rank get my trust automatically… But they are in the running for my business.

        • http://ivf-abroad.org/ Tim

          Completely! Although it’s not the most reliable metric, perception is definitely a metric as well.

          If I was looking to buy a site, or look at whether a site would be good to advertise on, or hoping to sell a site or links from one, then PR is flawed but still the best we’ve got. Moz rank and the Majestic equivalent are no more helpful, and require subscription.

  • http://www.stanchionmasters.com Stanchion Masters

    I haven’t paid attention to PR in years. It was good if you were selling links on your site. The higher PR, the more you could get for your links.

    PR had nothing to do with organic search rank. I have dozens of top 3 websites with very little PR.

  • http://www.nickortizlaw.com Nick

    I have been wondering when Google would update pagerank for months. I have diligently been improving my site over the past three months, and now hope for an update for an increased rank. This does seem like an incredibly long delay.

    I understand if they want to close the book on PR; however, the issue with pagerank being an integral part of SEO and advertising runs deep. Advertisers base advertising rates on PR. Guest bloggers don’t want to submit to sites with PR0 or PR1 (or even PR3), but are happy to submit to PR3 and above. If they kill it now, there will have to be some new industry that will evaluate strength of page to determine advertising rates, guest blog submissions, etc.

  • http://www.sbwebcenter.com Steve B

    I’ll be honest, I’ve been following PRs since it came out. It’s been a big part of my business. Killing off PR won’t be a big deal for consumers, but it’s a big deal for many webmasters/SEOs/online marketers.

    In fact, many sites use PR data as their service offering. Think of all those SEO tools and PR checking sites. They’d be worthless. And, it would be a big blow to the SEO industry. Many won’t admit it, but a lot of link building is based on PR.

  • http://www.andykuiper.com Andy Kuiper

    It’s a next to useless signal now – could care less if it went away :-)

  • http://www.hallofbaddudes.com Thomas

    If PageRank is finally gone, all I can say is… good riddance

  • Robert

    Keep it but modify it to display AdRank.

    More you pay for adds on google the higher your ranking.

    Of course those who don’t succumb to the ALMIGHTY Google will be ranked at the bottom and perhaps shoppers etc. would feel sorry for us little guys and throw a dog a bone so we could at least pay our hosting fees every month.

  • http://goodiformation.blogspot.in madugundukrishna

    good improving trough ads .

  • http://www.labsclinic.co.uk/ LABS

    I still believe how PR it works and how its accurate.

  • http://viztvmedia.com/ VizFactimus Maximus

    Google itself is becoming irrelevant. Youtube is the best thing they got.

    I manage not one, but two pr1 sites that dominate Page 1 for their respective industries search terms. Heck, I forgot all about PR till I seenth this title.

  • http://intrinsicvalueseo.com Doc Sheldon

    As far as I’m concerned, TBPR has done nothing but cause problems, from day one. I’d love to see it done away with altogether. Since it hasn’t been updated since last Nov., what it shows today is at least 9 months out of date… it won’t be missed at this point.

  • http://www.2bubbleblog.com 2BubbleBlog

    Maybe they are just slowing down the updates because they are too busy on something big to come! Something like the little brother of Pinguin and Panda, so they just have no time to waste about the PageRank. It’s still their trademark, a front for Authority and respect from webmasters. When let’s say you have a directory or any type of content sharing site with PR less than PR2, you struggle to have people willing to participate on your site while if you site got a PR higher than 4, it flows daily and you have no time to check the quality, it’s a fact. If you bought a name domain after February 2013, it would mean that you’re screwed if they just don’t removed the PR at all…

  • Paul

    This is just another element of Google’s ongoing strategy of muddying the waters when it comes to understanding what makes a page rank well. The more of a mystery it is, the more you have to pay for Adwords to ensure you are visible. My websites have dropped like a stone out of ranking in recent years and any number of SEO people haven’t been able to get it back. Adwords has been the only way to stay visible to my customers. If someone next door to me searches for the products I sell, they get results from everywhere except me. Yet Yahoo ranks me on page one. Which is what I would expect, as I would be a very relevant result for the guy next door to find. I remember when Google was the friendly underdog and we all got behind it, as you do with underdogs. Now it dominates, I see sinister undertones in almost everything it does. For me both personally and professionally, Google doesn’t deliver and it’s dominance worries me greatly.

  • http://www.nua.ie/ Nuasoft Web Design

    I had actually almost forgotten about page rank. I’ll be glad to see it go.

    The main problem I have with it is that some people see it as a ranking of how trustworthy a site is.

    I can think of at least one site off the top of my head that enjoys a high page rank because of the amount of links that are pointing to it under the heading “Dont trust these scam artists” I’m sure there are many more.

    It’s time for Google to either update and maintain toolbar page rank or drop it completely.

  • http://bathikmadrim.pun.bz Patih Bathik Madrim

    sungguh saya tidak paham sama sekali

  • http://bestmoviesevernews.com/ Curt

    It’s highly doubtful that G PR is dead as people always need some kind of bar to measure their website and advertisers still rely on it along with regular folk.

    If you recall back in 2010 there was only one update in April for the entire year but in 2011 there were 5. G knows that when people start anticipating these updates, they’ll do more work right before and they do love to keep everyone on their toes so you know there’ll be one coming soon. They just don’t want you to know when.

    They’ve been suggesting for a couple years that Page Rank shouldn’t be so heavily valued, but again, people have a tendency to need a standard to compare to and this is all they’ve really got along with those Alexa rankings.

  • http://www.815seo.com Nick

    If Google has officially killed PageRank updates, this would be a HUGE opportunity for a big competitor (AKA: Bing) to come up with a similar domain authority ranking system to offer users. (BingRank?)

    SEOs, domain buyers, advertisers, and many others could flock to Bing because they would have a fresh valuation of domain trust compared to Google’s old and stale PR system that hasn’t been updated in 6 months, getting older and more outdated every day.

  • glover

    google constantly killing good services. soon they will kill google organic serp and replace it with auction & adwords totally.

  • http://enbake.com/android-app-development/ Android Developer

    I think that moz rank is also a good evaluation criterion these days for SEOs and stuff. Though whenever i see such news, I become an even happier Android Engineer now and got rid of adapting my websites to every day Google changes(which i used to do while being a web developer !!).

  • http://www.pileseo.com/ Prem

    I have few pr sites that generated very few organic traffic however I have few pr 0 sites that generated lot more traffic so its bit difficult to understand pr value.

  • http://mixchatroom.co.uk usmansarwer

    hi all one of my friend told me Google stopped to update pr for any website it is true then please let me know but i believe Google can,t do this because many website have good content and quality back links if they can,t get any pr then its will be very bad

  • http://www.bigoakinc.com Shell Harris

    I wish PageRank would die and go away. It is so easily faked and with the long periods in between, how accurate is it? Using a collection of other tools from sites such as SEMRush, SEOmoz and MajesticSEO gives you a better idea a site’s true worth.

  • http://www.vrinsofts.com/ Vrinsoft

    Everyone talking about page rank update,panda and penguin but nobody talk about main points for business website which are conversion, bounce rate etc.

  • http://www.wpseotricks.com Deepak

    It’s not about killing PageRank, it’s about killing PageRank shown in browser.

  • http://www.bizteam.com/ BizTeam

    I don’t think it so.Everybody is keenly waiting for next PR update. Many says Google has retarded PR algo. Lets see what happens.

  • http://www.bizteam.com/ BizTeam

    Everybody is keenly waiting for next PR update. Many says Google has retarded PR algo. Lets see what happens.

  • http://convertertoolz.com Michelle

    I think Google still considers pagerank for ranking results but i don’t know why they didn’t update it. I think if they even die updating pagerank, they still use it for ranking results.

  • http://www.technostall.com/ Chankey Pathak

    Google has not killed PR. It is still using it for ranking purpose but it’s not making it available to public. It is being used internally IMO.

    • http://www.rbizsolutions.biz Dhruba Jyoti Deka

      How do you know that Google is hiding PR from public access?

      I don’t think so.

      If Google updates PR, then it will come public. Otherwise their PR update would make no sense.

  • http://www.seo-webservices.net Nick

    I think already Google has plan for changing structures of PR calculating. That’s why they had long time delay for updating PRs.

    • Josh

      I think Google should KEEP PR, but they should only count back links from sites that get over 20,000 hits every month. That would really cut down on the unnatural spam links that are unnaturally obtained or paid for. Google should see this comment and take note. If they also combined time spent on sites for credible links that would also be great!
      A recent article worth sharing on PR updating is below.
      It states that PR may be determined by the time spent on an outgoing link? Is this true?

  • http://www.watchrepaircentre.co.uk Rob

    PR provides a visible proof of authority . It can be checked easily so why do away .

  • http://www.mydreamwatch.co.uk Mike

    I think pr has use . I believe google should keep it as it provides a benchmark .

  • http://www.hostingmaster.org Shruti

    I think Google stop the Pagerank update.

  • http://a2zvideogames.com Harry

    Everybody thought that there will be no more public pagerank update. But here we are, just before Christmas hits… PR update… 😀
    What a treat!

  • http://www.redcherryinc.ca Dan Carter

    t’s a next to useless signal now – could care less if it went away

  • http://a2zvideogames.com/candy-crush-level-78/ Candy

    The thing is PR is still updated every single day. We just can’t see it. What was updated is the PUBLIC PR. Pagerank is authored by Google so somehow, I believe it still plays a big role in their algo. They may change the algo of PR but for us, even we like it or not, we still need to think about it. That is if we want to rank in Google.

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