Then and Now: PageRank as a Link Building Metric in 2022

There have been so many developments that we can safely say that SEO today is not what it was years ago. Before, getting to the top of the search engines rankings was a cakewalk. All one need do is search for a handful of high PageRank blogs and purchase text links which contain your keyword. Voila! You are guaranteed top rankings and your ROI in the process. Now, Google’s algorithms have evolved, including how PageRank is defined.

Before, PageRank was a metric used to gauge a website’s popularity. If a website had more links from authoritative sources, its PageRank soared, regardless of the relevancy of those pages. This made the task of link building quite easy. Any newbie webmaster can just get links every month or two, observe PR improvements, be satisfied, get links again, and so on and so forth.

Now, the situation has changed. If PageRank was updated consistently then, it is randomly updated now. There are even instances where PR is updated every 3 or 5 months, and even in a year or more. This makes data less relevant than it used to be in terms of how your site is measured.

When Google does see your PageRank, it could have either gone up or down. Based on experience, the correlation between PR and placement is approximately .07, which indicates that in terms of being a critical metric, PR is relatively low.

With this information, is it safe to discount PageRank when on the lookout for link partners or websites to link to? No. Logically, PageRank still has some value in terms of link building because it was at one point what Google’s algorithm was entirely based on. However, in order to weigh the value of PageRank in SEO, it is necessary to understand how it is used now.

It is important not to totally cross out PageRank. Instead of framing it as a critical metric, let’s consider it a “collateral metric” for your link building campaign. This means that:

• If you want to look for a site to post or buy links to, you can still review the PR. It’s still a perfect measure of a site’s quality. You can view a site that has a high PR as a strong website, but this doesn’t mean you have to decide to link to it.
• It’s also good to check a website’s historical PR. Before deciding to get a link from a site, ensure that the site’s PR is consistent. A site whose PR changes constantly may be prone to link manipulation and not a good site to link to.
• Of course, it is important to review the relevancy of the content of the website you want to link to. It is better to link to a PR0 webpage which has highly relevant content than a PR5 site with irrelevant content.
• Always remember PR is not the sum total of a site. Look at the weight of the site and not merely the PR.

The important thing in running any link building efforts is to not be tied down to one metric. PageRank is a metric that was relevant then and remains important now to a certain extent. However, you need to look at other metrics as well as basis of your inbound linking efforts.

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