Since Google’s inception, the company has touted its patented PageRank algorithm as the bedrock of its technology. Google defines PageRank as a system that reflects the importance of individual Web pages. It does this, in part, by measuring the relevance and authority of links from one page to another. Unlike a democracy, however, not every vote counts equally.
As Web publishers have grown increasingly savvy about how PageRank works, Google has taken steps to counter actions that might be used to manipulate it. Earlier this year, Google put the kibosh on PageRank sculpting within Web sites by effectively “evaporating” the excess PageRank Web publishers used to channel from high ranking pages to lower ranking pages.
Today the company took another big step by removing PageRank information from its Webmaster tools. When asked about the removal, Google Employee Susan Moskwa cited an update to the company’s FAQ pages:
…Don’t bother thinking about it. We only update the PageRank displayed in Google Toolbar a few times a year; this is our respectful hint for you to worry less about PageRank, which is just one of over 200 signals that can affect how your site is crawled, indexed and ranked. PageRank is an easy metric to focus on, but just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s useful for you as a site owner. If you’re looking for metrics, we’d encourage you to check out Analytics, think about conversion rates, ROI (return on investment), relevancy, or other metrics that actually correlate to meaningful gains for your website or business.”
As of today, the PageRank indicator remains visible within the Google Toolbar.