19 Sep 2012

Toolbar Pagerank is Still a Signal… of What? (Weekly Q&A)

Toolbar Page Rank

With all those Penguin updates forcing us to look into our IN-coming links, we almost forgot about another neglected Google’s love indicator: Google Toolbar PageRank.

Yes, people are still looking into that and yes, it still indicates something we want to pay attention to. And this is what being discussed over at SEOchat forums:


Sudden Drop in Toolbar PageRank

(Don’t mistaken it for slight fluctuations which are normal)

As Matt Cutts confirms, PageRank drop is used as the discouragement of selling links: so if a Toolbar PageRank drops from 7 to 3, that must mean the site is detected to be selling links (usually those are sidebar and footer links).


Graybar PageRank

(Don’t mistaken it with PageRank 0)

Graybar PageRank (with no loss in performance) can be simply a toolbar glitch. When coupled with loss in rankings, it can signal that the site may be de-indexed (search SITE:domainname.com or simply domainname.com or info:fullPageURLhere to make sure) because it was down for a considerable period of time or because it is penalized by Google.


When Could it Matter

There’s no reason to go crazy about Toolbar PageRank for one simple reason: it is updated so rarely, so it is hard to tell if it reflects the up-to-date information. However taking a note of PageRank and its history is a good idea when:

  • You are running a website SEO audit;
  • You are considering to buy an established websites (I’ve seen quite a few penalized websites being sold on Flippa). You better stay away from those, since getting out of penalty is possible, but not easy.

Homework:

check

Beyond PageRank: Graduating to actionable metrics(Case study at Official Google Webmaster Central blog)

check What is Google’s PageRank Good For?(Rand’s Whiteboard Friday at SEOmoz)