Is Page Rank Important?

In my last post I’ve been talking about how the nofollow attribute affects the Page Rank flow through your website and to external links. But is Page Rank really important to even pay attention to it? After all, even Google seems to be paying little to no attention to it in their advice to us. The answer, I think, is two fold. It all depends on where you stand as a webmaster.

On one hand, Page Rank will not bring you traffic – search engines and other websites linking to you will. But the correlation between your rankings and your Page Rank is almost non-existent, that is to say, having a PR of 5 doesn’t guarantee you the position #5 for your keyword (it doesn’t even guarantee you any position on the first page). There are a lot more important factors than PR when it comes to ranking your website.

Other websites will not link to you because of your big PR either. But they will if your site is interesting enough to be worthwhile to link to.

So why should you care about the PR at all? Well, you shouldn’t. There’s really no point in paying attention to the Page Rank of your most important web pages. There’s no point in tracking it, eagerly waiting for the green bar to increase. Well, to be honest, it does give you some gratification to see it grow – even if it means nothing to your website, it’s still an achievement that gives you bragging rights if nothing else.

The question is, why do I even bother to write  about it not once but twice, and why people even create WordPress plug-ins to protect it? The reason is that there’s still a good use of this indicator. Page Rank provides a rough but quick estimation of page’s importance.

Just because you cannot say anything about rankings on Google from looking at page’s PR, doesn’t mean that you can’t say anything about it. It is obvious that Google’s algorithms calculate and pay big attention to the “authority”. So for example, an article in NY Times will most likely outrank an article on this blog for the same keywords. And chances are, that same article in NY Times will get a PR sooner than a post on this blog.

That is, a PR can also indicate the authority. It doesn’t mean that a page with no PR has no authority, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that a page with PR has big authority. But it sure means that a page with PR of 5 is likely to be assigned to a page that has some importance.

The practical use of that is, of course, link building. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, PR is the first thing you’ll look for in a page before an attempt to place your own link on it for SEO purposes no matter what. That doesn’t mean it’s the only metric you’ll look for (for instance, a number of outgoing links is even more important), but it’s the metric most obvious and easiest to look up.

To conclude, and as the answer to the original question –  is PR important? It is important if you systematically work on your website’s rankings in search engines. However, you might as well forget it if you let the SEO happen “naturally” and get your traffic from other, often much easier traffic sources.

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