November 6, 2013
Since early 2013, Google’s PageRank tool seemed to be on a downward spiral. The data is no longer being funneled through the Google toolbar on a daily basis, and there haven’t been any PageRank updates recently. There are rumors that PageRank may not ever be updated again, and this means webmasters and marketers will no longer be able to view that data – the data that was an integral component to SEO and link building practices.
Because PageRank data has been missing for months now, I think many of us could agree that we value PageRank data less than we used to; although, it’s something we may still inadvertently check when making SEO decisions.
PageRank may still be important to the overarching SEO algorithm, but there are many other SEO tools that can help our efforts, even when PageRank is no longer providing us with data.
The Importance of PageRank
Until recently, a high PageRank was a goal that many webmasters focused on when building a site. In the past, you had to focus on multiple components to boost your PageRank:
- Solid site architecture. To positively affect your PageRank and link building efforts, your home page should be well-linked to your other individual site pages. A tree structure that leads users to the individual pages can be helpful.
- Important pages close to your home page. This ties into your site architecture, since the pages you consider most important should only be a link or two away from your homepage. This used to ensure that your PageRank remained high for these pages.
And while these aspects of your site – which encourage other sites to link to you – are still important, your PageRank bar will most likely remain static even if you focus on these site components. With the retirement of PageRank, we can no longer make critical link building and overall site decisions based on the ranking of pages. It will be important to find ways to move away from PageRank, and learn about new tools and methods that can influence SEO efforts.
Moving Away From PageRank Data
Because PageRank hasn’t been providing updates since early this year, webmasters and marketers have already had to stop relying on the tool. They have had to begin finding other SEO tools and tactics to share the data PageRank data used to provide – we’re no longer able to use PageRank to see if Google has penalized a site.
Since many users don’t use the Google toolbar in Internet Explorer anymore, there are less people than ever viewing the PageRank data, which could be one reason Google is ready to retire the tool. While there are definitely features marketers will miss, PageRank wasn’t perfect. Since PageRank used to consider back links determiners of quality, it was common for back links to be from low quality sites as part of a scheme to “trick” PageRank.
If we don’t properly detect link quality, it can be difficult to make our link building efforts worthwhile. By moving away from PageRank data, we can begin looking at other tools for more well-rounded data.
MozRank is a tool that scores sites based on a variety of elements, and it has become one of the most appreciated SEO benchmarking tools. While it can be a bit confusing, mozRank’s main focus is seeing high-quality sites link to yours.
MozRank creates scores based on link popularity, but it focuses on who is linking to you and where they are linking from. A higher mozRank means your keywords are relevant to linking sites, as well as domain authority.
Improving your mozRank will take time, though, since going from a score of 2 to 3 is much easier than going from an 8 to a 9. Building relationships with high-quality sites and producing high-quality content of your own can help you begin boosting your mozRank.
Trying out the mozTrust tool can be another option if you’re looking to move away from PageRank data. MozTrust is similar to mozRank, but it measures link trust instead. This means back links from trusted sources, including pages from large universities or government organizations can boost your mozTrust score.
Moz.com describes the relationship you must have with these ‘trusted’ pages as “The closer you are linked to a trusted website, the more trust you have, yourself.” MozTrust scores are also based on a logarithmic scale, just like MozRank, between 0 and 10.
Moving away from PageRank doesn’t have to make Internet marketing more difficult if we’re switching our focus to high-quality, trusted links instead!
Receiving a high PageRank used to be all about the number of links to your site. However, this should have always coincided with original content – the number of organic links needed to rank well are created via fresh, quality content that entices users to link to you and share your content across the Internet.
This means that no matter how SEO tools change, and even if PageRank becomes obsolete, the core purpose remains the same: focus primarily on writing for your target audience and creating quality content. Then, when you perform SEO, your target audience will be eager to view your site-and the links will start to come, too!
Moving away from PageRank means moving towards tools that value back links from high-quality, reputable sites. These links can seriously contribute to your SEO if you link build effectively.
If you know of other tools that can fill the gap left by PageRank, let’s hear about them in the Comments section.