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The April Google PageRank Update and Why I Don’t Care (But You Do)

2 Apr , 2009  

Google likes me more than my own motherOver the course of yesterday and today Google updated it’s Toolbar PageRanks for websites.  I would like to say that’s awesome, because is now a PageRank 5, but the truth is I really don’t care.  When I first started working on this blog in May of last year the PageRank was Zero.  That was a little less than a year ago; I said I would raise the PageRank and I did. But the truth is the traffic and exposure which this blog has gotten over the course of the past year has not correlated with the PageRank increases.

The way I have generated traffic has been a direct result of one of two factors; content which is popular and which people want to read (admittedly, I don’t produce a lot of that), or links from sites which are popular and which are getting a lot of traffic on their own merits.  A couple such projects I’ve recently worked on are Tweet Wasters and Check Usernames, both of which went viral on social media sites and as a result attracted a lot of visitors.

So what good is Google PageRank?  It seems to only serve a purpose as a self-perpetuating myth.  Some SEOs think they need to get links from high PageRank websites, so they come here and comment on my blog posts with a link to their site.  Which in turn drives traffic to my site.  Which is what I want – so did the Google PageRank increase my blog traffic, or did the myth do it?  Some SEOs want to advertise or buy links on high PageRank websites in order to increase their own PageRank, so they come to a blog this and ask to buy links.  So did Google PageRank just make me money?  It would if I sold links, but I clearly do not, otherwise you’d see some banners or even some Google AdSense on here.

So the myth continues – even though Google PageRank doesn’t really mean anything, as long as people think it does it will continue to generate traffic and income.  So should I educate everyone with blog posts like this, or should I just let the traffic and money come rolling in?  Please answer by leaving a comment, and in the process you’ll give yourself a PageRank 5 backlink – which is why you came here in the first place, wasn’t it?

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50 Responses

  1. Ben Waugh says:

    I finally decided to write a comment on your blog. I just wanted to say good job. I really enjoy reading your posts.

  2. Bleuken says:

    I agree with you that traffic and PR have no direct relevance however PR is like a status symbol in the “society” built by Google. Its like something that you should have to line-up with the VIPs of the net. Its a mind set and planted thinking to minds of search engine users all over the world and its either you care or you don’t.

  3. Same thing, I mean for SEO people, PR doesn’t count actually. PR unfortunately became the basis and trend for advertising, linking, and similar. Ironic, advertisers come along just because you have a high PR.

  4. Which came first page rank or blogging (SEO?)? Thank you. :)

    Maybe it’s all just a cruel joke to get people to strive for a higher PR, thus more people to show Google ads too.

    Congrats on the 5!

  5. David says:

    I think one reason PR is useful is it can tell you how trustworthy a site might be. I mean, would you buy anything from a shop that was coming up with PR N/A in the toolbar?

  6. Maneet says:

    I see what you are trying to say. I dont know about the reality factor of Google PageRank but even if its a myth.. The vicious circle will continue and the web traffic will circulate thus.

  7. Jon says:

    Well it made absolutely no difference to me, I got relegated to PR2 last time and it looks like I’ve stayed that way, even though my analytics tells me my traffic is constantly increasing.

  8. I couldn’t agree more. In my experience when one of my site’s PR increases it doesn’t have any direct effect on the site’s rankings. However, if you are actively engaged in link building then there can certainly be some indirect benefit when try to work out link exchanges.

  9. Wei says:

    You said you don’t care? Sure, it’s PR5 now!
    Were you care when your rank was 0?

  10. cms says:

    I have had to give myself a crash course on seo over the last year so if i speak newbie so be it. My PR jumped to 4 this time around and I saw a direct impact on my key search phrases like Atlanta injury lawyer. I bust my butt writing quality content, updating my blog with real information and making youtube videos and i don’t sell or buy links. My industry gets such a bad name and I think the web can be the salvation for injury lawyers because clients can read a website and decide for themselves if the lawyer is a moron or a decent human being who can actually help. With the yellow pages, they get no information. It gives me a chance to fight against the cheesy mass advertising firms and to attract quality clients that need my help. So for what it’s worth i like the PR update and long live the small businessman.

  11. Ilya Pashkov says:

    I think PageRank its nothing! Because, design save the world!

  12. Amy Lynn says: is a 5 too.

    Keep the honest updates coming, but, just go ahead and send them to me. Only. ;D

  13. Chris says:

    You are completely right, but I care most about PR because my boss justifies my job based on what ours is.

  14. Jeet says:

    It’s true PR has absolutely no relation with traffic. But now that you have a decent PR, you may want to utilize it provide more content on the blog, many people would be interested in guest posting on your blog for a backlink. Your blog stands to benefit if you can control the quality of posts.

  15. Congrats for the increase in toolbar PR .I can’t see any change in my websites . But this time PR was really weird .One of my blog which don’t have any link another from our main website Got PR2 and our main website . I think google has updated its algorithm

  16. Web Talk says:

    You are right.
    the funny thing is that people believe that PR and traffic are related when they are not. Odlly enough, this myth has gotten stronger with the latest update. As a matter of fact, a couple of days before the PR update Google changed its SERP algo so that a lot of sites links and backlinks got devaluated. As far as I am concerned I am the living proof that PR and traffic have nothing to do with each other. I passed from PR2 to PR5 but i have lost around 500 daily visitors. That’s because, as said before, Gogole delauated some backlinks I got! (sic!)

  17. I think you’re right about page rank. I think it’s much better to have a page which is read and appreciated for content, rather than having a large page rank and an unpopular blog :-)

  18. Jason says:

    I have gotten traffic without seeing great page rank. I am new to SEO but I do other things to generate traffic. I want a higher one but it does not make a difference. Congrats on the 5!

  19. Sue Coombs says:

    There is just so much conflicting stuff about SEO. We have absolutely NO page rank because we are new. Some sites have no traffic and do absolutely nothing but because they have been around a few years, they have a good page rank?

    Doesn’t seem to make sense, hey but thanks for the link – You just never know what it will take :)

  20. The only time i have seen page rank be usefull is people selling advertising on thier website, people pay more money for higher PR, i guess its a way for advertisers to get a basic guage on traffic numbers

  21. ITCN says:

    Hi Mal;
    Yes, I’ve had the PR 5 since 2 updates ago (Jan 1, 2009), but I’ve ranked #1 for NJ SEO since last year sometime. It has less to do with my PR and more to do with the fact that the other ones on that page are getting penalized by Google for shady SEO practices, that’s why they drop below the #1 position. They all get in line behind #1 :)

  22. Nikita Willy says:

    Hi, its first time for me landing on your blog. Very nice and PR 5?What a great job?
    Haha.. my blog yesterday PR 2, now it became zero! Oh google.. :D

  23. tony brown says:

    i agree with what you say about pr i have had my site active since october now, when the pr updates come in i have many more people wanting to link exchane. however i still only see increase in traffic fiqures through new content and seo excercises

  24. jlbraaten says:

    Great point about people posting on your blog. But you’re also doing a specific tactic that appeals to the community. It may work for SEO, but I wonder how well it would work in other niches.

  25. Finally someone who knows what he is talking about stood up and clarified the myth. This post matches with my own personal experience with SEO. A site doesn’t have to have high page rank in order to get traffic from Google. Proper anchor texts from relevant sites and content are what matter most.


  26. Brian says:

    There’s clearly no direct correlation between page rank and traffic. Two sites that I have intimate knowledge of compare as follows…
    Page Rank 6 – 1.5 million visits/mth
    Page Rank 5 – less than 300 visits/mth

    Page rank seems to have much more to do with whether or not Google views a site as “credible”. Factors we see mattering for page rank are age of domain, inbound links from other credible sites, DMOZ, etc.

    Traffic comes from keywords and user behavior. In the example above, the site with a Page Rank of 5 is indeed credible, but it’s about something that not very many people are interested in.

  27. Dennis Cover says:

    I noticed that last months Google PR worked weirdly.
    For some sites it dropped but the traffic itself from Google grew up. Other site’s PR got higher but the traffic from Google got smaller.
    So, I don’t see direct correlation between PR and traffic now. Something strange happens …

  28. Web Hosting says:

    I think PR have nothing to do with traffic. PR is a Google “award” for your site, but if you have no ranking in search engines and you blog about non popular things you will not have big traffic.
    I really like your blog. Cheers!

  29. Business Gas says:

    I don’t care either, I think your blog is really good regardless of any google renkings etc

  30. Ryan v says:

    I like that the guy above misspelled rankings…anyways interesting outlook on the whole mythical google PR importance factor. I’ve never really thought of it the way you did. It makes perfect sense if you really stop and think about it.

    Thanks for the amusing post. I will certainly be back to read more.


  31. You make a great point about page rank, everybody tries to go out and build it in, but ultimately when you are producing great content and your stuff goes viral you will do the work of thousands of man hours of effort without lifting a finger, like passive revenue.

  32. Ha. Love the last line of your post – ‘cos it is clearly why most people are here.

    I for one will be back to actually read more content, though. Good stuff – and as per previous poster, I hope your content continues to be popularised and shared around – and that you benefit from it!

  33. Lately I’ve been seeing the pagerank on my sites fluctuating on a weekly basis. I was under the impression that google only updated pagerank once a month or so. Have they changed the way they do this?

  34. Ryan Jones says:

    Good take on page rank..i too try to achieve good content but unfortunately my lack of creativity and writing prowess holds me back. : ) Keep up the great work, enjoy reading your posts.

  35. NJ Open Mics says:

    I vote that you should keep educating. I think page rank matters less to you once you have a good audience, or you’ve gone past the 0 mark.

  36. Andrew Keir says:

    “So should I educate everyone with blog posts like this, or should I just let the traffic and money come rolling in?”

    I say roll with it. Whatever the practical benefits ( or last thereof ) people see page rank and a measure of success, and will try to utilize it.

    You wont convince the masses otherwise, so you might as well utilize it yourself.

  37. Let the money roll!

    In all seriousness though, PR is important as it seems they are moving close and closer to making this part of the analogue for authority.

  38. Vb Reader says:

    really you are getting a nice traffic. But is it targetted.

    And i wonder how are you earning from the visits?I am bit confused.

    If you dont mind can you please advice me on this?

  39. Greg Ellison says:

    I like the ending of your post really funny. To get people to come to your blog you need to give them something that they want and that is great content. I don’t stress over the page rank. If it happens it will but I just want to see how many visitors I can get to my blog. Greg Ellison

  40. Michael E says:

    There are legitimate reasons for wanting a high PR that has nothing to do with vanity. From what I have read, higher PR means better position in search. I also gather that higher PR means better revenue with Adsense on a per click basis. And as you have stated, it gives credence to others that you link to.
    You undoubtedly worked very hard to get that PR-5 (which you now so flippantly discard). Your comment makes me question the value of your SEO development services. If you don’t like your PR, I’m sure that there is a way for you to have your web site removed from the Google directory.

  41. I completely agree as when I first started my forum I did NOT post as much as I should have and once I started posting like a robot that did NOT sleep, natural links started to arise and traffic started to grow. Really its no secret just a lot of hard work.

  42. I think Google Page Rank is important and you would probably think so also if you lost it all. I have a few sites at PR 4 and know how hard that is to get there. There is no doubt that it can also make you money..but seriously when people ask for a link they have also checked your traffic out also…There are PR 5 sites out there with no traffic at all…They don’t really show up in the search engines to get traffic. They only have the PR because they have got the right links…People do not want to get a link on those sites…
    If you did loose PR and still had loads of traffic you would probably be ok still…But if Google drops your site from the search engines…oh no…thats not good…

  43. Ok, I’ll be the first one to admit – I came here for a link ;) Still obsessed about PR though.

  44. Cory says:

    Hi Barry, I agree with you. The PR is nice for people selling or renting links as a justification for a high price. Since I do no things like that, there is no need to check for PR, even since I never detected any correlation between PR and SERPS position.

  45. Nice and informative news blogging is one of the basic step in SEO. The tips are just great.

  46. Brad Harmon says:


    Okay, so this line is absolutley priceless …

    “Please answer by leaving a comment, and in the process you’ll give yourself a PageRank 5 backlink – which is why you came here in the first place, wasn’t it?”

    Yes, please. Thank you very much. ;) Speaking of PR, any ideas on when they will update it next? I know you don’t care, but it seems like it is overdue.


  47. Porter says:

    I found my way here while doing SEO research, but dropping a comment was definitely on the to do list after reading the article. I do very much like that you don’t care about PR, I was posting in the digital point forums recently about how I thought it wasn’t the actual page rank that was worth the value, but the traffic the rumor drives, just as you’ve stated. I’m rather sure this is the truth, or at least a good portion of it. Google may give some more power to links from a high PR site, but only a little. I’m highly convinced it’s from the myth and the sheer traffic a high PR site gets/gives based on that following. Nice article, glad to see someone is on the same page as me in thoughts pertaining to PR.

  48. Shaun says:

    Page rank 5…. I never knew :-). Anyway I think its a good website, with some great articles on a number of issues. I think people go over board with pagerank and I never have a clue how google get to rank a website, I wish I did. Some websites get a good page rank after only getting around 500 back links others have to work damn hard at getting any. Is it all to do with the subject or category the website is in? Who Knows!!!

  49. Stagueve says:

    Mine decrase from PR5 to PR4 and i really don’t anderstand why… >_<

  50. Rick says:

    LOL I must say, I’m here for the link juice as well.. but it was quite funny that you’ve mentioned it… never the less, useful article.

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