All ye Google PageRank lovers… rejoice! After 10 long months, Google PR has finally and inexplicably been updated (don’t believe me? Check your PageRank OuT!). Unfortunately the odds are if yours changed at all, it was probably for the worse.

According to SEO Roundtable, the often obsessed-over ranking system “broke” in February this year, and Google’s Head of Webspam Matt Cutts announced in October that it would – if ever – maybe be fixed in 2014. And yet here we are, first week of December, and just in time for the Christmas season (and Hanukkah!) we’ve got new page ranks. But before you get too excited, let’s make sure you understand just how much PageRank actually matters.

Old News

First, let’s make this clear: PageRank is not an exact science! Updates (as you can see in 2013…) are irregular, and the data that goes into it is weeks – if not months – old by the time it gets posted. Not very accurate, especially for newer sites.

What PageRank Really Means

Everybody gets this idea that PageRank is the be-all end-all of Google SERP parameters, but that’s sort of like saying the weather forecast decides if it’s going to rain or not.

Shaun Anderson of the UK’s Hobo Marketing says he’s seen PRs jump from 1 to 6 over a single update and see no significant improvement in web traffic. The reason is because while Google does place some emphasis on PRs to decide their ranking, that doesn’t mean they disregard every other aspect of their SERP algorithm just because you’re a 5 and your competitor is a 4.

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Think of it this way: PR is a certification more than an entitlement.

Will a High PageRank Even Help?

That doesn’t mean you should disregard it, though. PageRank still indicates how well Google will “crawl” your website, and higher ones will get deeper, quicker crawling.

Also, a higher PR will give you some Google klout. Though a high one won’t make or break you, a low one could actually break you. If you’re at 0, or even a 1 after a couple updates, Google probably thinks you’re spam. And unless you’re stuck in a bomb shelter, you want nothing to do with spam.

Don’t trust your favorite Las Vegas social media marketing guru? To get all this from the horse’s mouth, check out this video of Matt Cutts himself talking about Google PageRank 🙂

Now that the PR floodgates have officially re-opened, it’s probably time to get your SEO in order. To help prep for the next update, you may want to brush up on your Google Analytics optimization.

How does PR matter to you? Do you use it at all? Let us know why you do or don’t in the comments!

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