Time was that Google would frequently refresh PageRank on its toolbar, that then reduced to 3 to 4 times annually yet it has now not been updated since February of this year. This begs the question – are Google getting rid of PageRank altogether?
For many site owners, having the opportunity to opportunity to check page ranking is a quick and easy way to check on the ranking performance of their site. It also meant that improvements made to increase search ranking could be tracked at a glance. For general web users as well it could have value – being able to see the page ranking of sites can help to determine credibility. For though who insist it would be better being got rid of altogether though believes it best serves spamming purposes – to identify and target sites through which to build links.
Google have been questioned by those in the community however have so far elected not to discuss this issue. Incidentally, around the time of the last PageRank refresh, Google bigwig Matt Cutts could be seen on YouTube answering the question regarding the future of PageRank, and why it still exists. Cutts’ response was that a lot of people still use the toolbar, not just site owners but the general public, too.
That said there was an implication that it may not stay around forever. Citing the lack of toolbar on Chrome, and IE 10s lack of toolbar and add-ins, Cutts explained:
“…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.’”
This he attributed at least in part to the decisions Internet Explorer had made regarding banning toolbar and add-ins, effectively placing any potential blame on Microsoft:
“A lot of people do use it and I believe we’ll continue to support those people while they continue to use the Google toolbar, but it looks like the writing is on the wall with Internet Explorer 10 – that things like Google Toolbar won’t be allowed anymore on Windows, so we’ll see how that makes things develop in the future.”
Google have quietly changed aspects of their information-sharing relating to search before. It used to be that they would share their search algorithms on a regular basis – that too started to decrease in volume until it disappeared entirely.
The withdrawal, or near withdrawal, of PageRank may frustrate those looking to buy domains the most, as they won’t have access to key information when choosing which domain to purchase.