The Day Google PageRank Died and Why

A teal body of water with a measuring scale up to 7.6 meters. It's a bit above 6m now and it's green.

October 24th, 2007 marked the day when PageRank died. It became virtually useless or worthless. Why? What was the purpose of Google PageRank in the first place?

PageRank was revolutionary when it was introduced by Google.

That’s why Google is where it is now: the leader in search. PageRank was determined by the number and “value” of links.

The more links and the better the links (a link by the Washington Post is of course better than one by a small unknown website like mine) the higher the PageRank.

Reminiscing the Good Old Days When PageRank Meant Something

In the beginning, a higher PageRank meant almost automatically a higher position in the search results.

The simple math was an invitation to abuse though. The global PageRank trade began. People would buy and sell links for profit.

A site having a 7 would outrank a PR 6 website which would come before a PageRank 5 page. Logical isn’t it? Over the years the algorithm became increasingly complex though.

Google added more and more so called ranking factors such as domain age.

Thus a PageRank 7 site could be outranked by a PageRank 3 site if the latter was significantly older. Google itself claims to use about 200 “signals” in their ranking algorithm.

Still PageRank was used to determine which pages have authority as it still measured the number and power of links.

How PageRank Became a Random Vanity Metric

Then Google PageRank finally stopped to reflect the number and strength of of incoming links. Now it is determined in a way nobody can trust anymore. Let me explain:

First the good news: got PageRank 6. Hooray! Wait. Now the bad news: The Washington Post just got 5!

Some of the most renowned bloggers like the world’s most linked weblog – Engadget – got PageRank 5 too. Problogger got 4 and marketing guru Andy Beard 3.

Do you now really think I am more important than the Washington Post or the most popular blog on the globe?

Do you really assume that I am 1/3 more important than the Problogger and twice as important as Andy Beard?

The bottom line is: Google PageRank is now meaningless as a metric, you can’t trust it anymore whatsoever!

Users who depended on the Google PageRank bar to determine the authority of a site can dump it now.

Google PageRank has become only a means of intimidation of webmasters.

Google is the new Microsoft. It uses their monopolistic market position to wield power over you.

Google is not the Internet though. Even though it’s one of the most powerful corporations in the world people and lawmakers are increasingly tired of Google.

China was just the beginning. They abused the Chinese people, now they abuse everyone else. In that context my PageRank 6 is as worthless as Andy Beard’s 3.

The PageRank metric is officially dead for me.

Some additional articles and discussions about the topic for further reading:

  1. Google Declares Jihad On Blog Link Farms
  2. PageRank Drops for Many Sites
  3. 2nd Google PageRank in October 2007
  4. Google Drops PageRank For Many Sites : Paid Links or New Algorithm?

Social media will make search less and less important in the future anyway.

Social sites also have algorithms to assign importance by now but not a simplistic single digit number.