Google's PageRank revolutionized the internet. Without this specific meter for measuring how important Google considered web pages, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) would have a completely different history.
How did PageRank work? In an effort to change and influence we content, Google created an algorithm to measure how useful a specific page was, and this rank showed up on the Google Toolbar, the first version of which premiered in 2000 for Internet Explorer. Most people paid very little attention to this indicator and didn't think it was of any particular importance. It did matter, however, in terms of websites showing up in Google searches. Earlier versions of Google's algorithm treated links as signs of interest. If a webpage was linked to by numerous other web pages, it was assumed to be authoritative, or more important, and it ranked higher in searches. Pages with few links ranked lower.
The internet changed everything, remember. Fast passing were the days when people searched for a plumber in the yellow pages. As people became more reliant on their PCs and eventually their mobile phones and other devices, they were much more likely to search online, and Google has been the most used search engine for years. A small business owner had a big stake, then, in showing up in the first few - and preferably the first - page of a Google search. If his business didn't show up until page 3 or page 10, chances are it would get very little business as a result of internet use. Enter SEO professionals. Their job was to work the algorithm to benefit their clients.
In earlier days SEO experts employed strategies like keyword stuffing and backlink generation. If more links to a page meant higher rankings, more links was what they went after. If you've ever gotten an email asking you to place a link on your site to another site, that was due to PageRank.
If you've ever had a comments section spammed with comments that sounded phony or off topic, you can blame PageRank for that too. Rankings were regularly updated so SEO experts could tell what worked to get their clients websites ranked higher, and they gamed the system.
After awhile, though, Google caught on to the fact that this was happening, and they changed their algorithm to penalize this sort of behavior - which meant SEO experts had to change their strategies and avoid "black hat" methods for getting around what Google really wanted. What got websites great rankings in 2011 might push them in the dustbin of Google history in 2014. These days businesses have to comply with what Google wants a website to have in order to do well in the rankings, and that includes mobile compatibility.
Of course, Google is not completely getting rid of PageRank. Its algorithm will still constantly assess a website's content and navigability and rank it accordingly, rewarding or punishing it in searches. This information will no longer be publicly accessible, though - which means that the blatant gaming of the system through various methods will certainly taper off. Without the verification of how specific tactics are working that PageRank provided, SEO professionals will have to be more compliant with what Google says it wants. Previous changes in Google's algorithm have had an impact on this as well, but PageRank had a big influence for a such small Toolbar element.
If you are interested in knowing how the SEO experts at Corporate Conversions go about creating web success for their clients, contact us today. We would be happy to talk to you about what we can do for your company and its web presence.