What is Pagerank and is it Relevant Any More?
I’ve been involved in SEO for over 6 years now, and the only days I don’t hear someone ask this, or at least post a question on a forum about it are the days I’m not working! There simply seems to be a total lack of understanding around the whole concept of Pagerank (or Google PR), and that’s not just among the forum Noobs, but the concept even seems to elude many seo consultants, who otherwise appear to have a reasonable grasp on optimisation.
Personally I feel that this is because those who do understand it, refer to it as Pagerank quite rightly, however those who don’t, also refer to it as Pagerank, here lies the problem and the source of much confusion. What those who do know are talking about, is the calculation which Google holds on their servers and can be briefly summarised as a calculation of the strength of a domains backlinks as recognised by Google, whereas those who don’t understand it are generally talking about toolbar PR (TBPR), the two are very different!
The core difference
Pagerank itself is constantly being updated and the algorithm which is used to calculate it is probably itself updated on a regular basis, nobody knows what it is or how it’s calculated except a few employees at Google. (If you are one of those few, you can stop reading now, this article is not aimed at you) 😉
The Toolbar PR is a simplified representation of the above and even out of date when it is updated every 3-4 months. You can check your pages toolbar PR using this tool from PRChecker.com
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So whilst many people still chase Toolbar PR and those who don’t repeat the mantra “don’t chase PR” you are both wrong. Those who chase it can never really judge how effective anything they do is, because it will be months before you can see the results on the toolbar, so even if you did nothing else in the meantime, the specific aspects of the algorithm would have likely changed anyway, so you will never know. The “don’t chase PR” crowd, just need to be a bit more specific and specify Toolbar Pagerank, as PR is still part of the overall algorithm, but not the bit that you and I can see or act on fast enough to be of any relevance.
The only real way of judging the success of an SEO campaign, is increased positions = more visitors = more sales or conversions!