What is the Future of PageRank?

Before we discuss the future of PageRank it is important to understand what it is.

PageRank is a numeric value assigned by Google of the importance of a web page. PageRank is scaled between 0 and 10 with 10 being the highest rank.

Your PageRank is based on the number of websites linking to your website and the number of websites linking to them, and so on. The more links you have pointing to your website the higher your PageRank will be.

How To Find The PageRank of a Web Page

To see the PageRank of a particular web page you will need to have the Google Toolbar installed or, if you are using Firefox, the SearchStatus plugin.

When browsing the Internet and looking at PageRank it is important to understand that the PageRank you see in the Google Toolbar (referred to as ‘Toolbar PageRank’) is different to the actual PageRank of web page. Google updates PageRank in real-time and only updates the Toolbar once every 2 to 3 months. This means that the PageRank you are seeing today may be quite different from what it actually is.

When viewing the Toolbar PageRank of a page please keep in mind that it is only an indicator and not a hard fact.

How Does PageRank Affect SEO

Google’s algorithm for ranking web pages contains more than one hundred different factors, with PageRank being one of those factors. While PageRank alone is not sufficient to rank in Google, a web page that has zero PageRank will not rank for a competitive keyword phrase. Your web page needs PageRank to be in the running for a top Google ranking.

The quantity and quality of the links pointing to your site have the greatest impact on your overall SEO rankings. Quantity is the number of links you have pointing to your site and quality is the PageRank of those links. For example, you can achieve top Google rankings with a low number of high quality links or a high number of low quality links.

Needless to say that a link from apple.com is worth significantly more than a link from a small blog as there are millions of sites linking to Apple’s website giving it a PageRank of 9, and only a dozen sites linking to the blog giving it a PageRank of 1.

With that in mind it is important to understand that any successful SEO campaign will have a combination of high and low PageRank links but the more high PageRank links you can obtain pointing to your site, the lower the number of links you will need to achieve top SEO rankings.

What Is The Future of PageRank?

There is constant debate in the SEO industry on whether displaying Toolbar PageRank is good or not. In my opinion it is a good thing because it is an additional metric you can use as part of your SEO campaign to assist in identifying high quality websites for linking, as well as resolving on-page SEO issues such as duplicate content (ie pages with duplicate content do not have any PageRank).

The PageRank formula developed by Google revolutionised the Internet and made Google the behemoth it is today because it changed the way that Search Engines ranked websites.

Before Google started looking at links to rank websites, search engines would use on-page factors, which was much easier to abuse. With links being the defining factor in a top SEO ranking, the quality and accuracy of search results improved significantly.

Links still form a major part of top SEO rankings and whether Google decides to continue displaying Toolbar PageRank or hiding it, PageRank will still be a major part of their algorithm.

Life After PageRank?

While PageRank has made Google the biggest technology company in the world there is a new type of search engine starting to emerge; the real-time search engine.

Google has become an expert in finding, sorting and ranking web pages on the Internet and making it easy for people to find what they are looking for, but there is a limitation on this – it can only search in the past, not in the present.

Real-time search engines have been around for a few years in the form of social bookmarking sites such as digg.com, delicious.com and, most recently tweetmeme.com, where you can conduct a search for a particular topic and find out what is happening with that topic in real-time.

Rather than relying on computers to find, sort and rank results these sites rely on people to find and vote for web pages around the Internet.

Real-time search engines definitely produce better results for news stories and discussions, but searching for a product or a service provider using real-time search is nowhere near the level where Google is at.

Google has also implemented social bookmarking style functionality on their search results in the form of their Search Wiki that allows you to vote a site up or down when you are logged in, indicating that they are already looking at their users’ votes as part of their ranking algorithm.

Clearly, PageRank was a major revolution for search engines because it made sense of how the Internet linked between pages and produced highly accurate results. As long as websites exist, PageRank will form part of the search engine algorithm. But how much weighting will it have? Only time will tell…

What do you think?

Alex Cleanthous

Alex Cleanthous

Chief Innovation Officer at Web Profits

Alex Cleanthous is Chief Innovation Officer at Web Profits. With more than 10 years experience in online marketing, Alex is always on the lookout for smarter, faster and more scalable ways to achieve maximum growth with minimum spend.


  1. brisbane seo guy says:

    Google seems to change weightings on factors like title tags, PageRank and keyword density every few months in an effort to improve quality.

    I suspect PageRank will still be a major ranking factor in years to come. The only downside from Google point of view is that PageRank has spawned a multi-billion dollar link rental and link building industry.

    October 27th, 2009 at 8:51 pm

  2. Marius says:

    If you had duplicate content and removed it, how long before you get some page rank back?

    October 29th, 2009 at 9:23 pm

  3. Alex Cleanthous says:

    Hi Marius,

    As Toolbar PageRank is updated every few months your Toolbar PageRank should increase at the next update.

    Actual PageRank is updated more frequently and should increase when your site is re-indexed, although you won’t be able to see it until the Toolbar PageRank is updated.

    Both of these scenarios are dependent on your site having PageRank in the first place, which is usually built with content creation or link building.


    October 30th, 2009 at 7:05 am

  4. AlexP says:

    I thought PR indexing was done every 3 months, but its been close to 5 months and my PR hasn’t changed even though my traffic has increased by over 300% and I have thousands of inlinks.
    Has Google changed their index time?

    July 23rd, 2010 at 1:09 am

  5. Alex Cleanthous says:

    Hi Alex,

    You can check the Google PageRank updates at http://googlepagerankupdate.com/


    July 23rd, 2010 at 3:53 pm

  6. Emily says:

    For several months from April 2010 there’s no update on pagerank.
    Do You have any idea when we will get some update from google?


    October 9th, 2010 at 12:35 pm

  7. Oswald says:

    I am not really sure if page rank is really that important. My website for instance was ranked down from PR 3 to PR 2 but I received about 70% more visitors from Google AFTER down ranking. Any thoughts why this happened?

    November 14th, 2010 at 11:51 am

  8. Alek says:

    PR actually does not have much to do with visitors or alexa ranking. It mostly depends on backlinks. I have seen websites with PR4/5 who only had a handful of daily visitors, but with a good number of strong backlinks from high PR pages or high authority sites.

    December 27th, 2010 at 6:49 pm