Google's 'Toolbar PageRank' May Be Gone For Good

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Google appears to have confirmed it will no longer be updating the PageRank indicator in Google Toolbar, commonly known as 'Toolbar PageRank'.

In a Webmaster Hangout video posted on Monday, Google Switzerland's John Mueller said: "We will probably not be updating [PageRank] going forward, at least in the Toolbar PageRank."

Toolbar PageRank - the publicly visible PageRank indicator - has seen updates slow to a crawl in recent years. Almost exactly one year ago, Google's head of webspam Matt Cutts wrote on Twitter that he would be "surprised" if an update happened before the end of 2013.

Google did end up updating the Toolbar PageRank in December 2013, though Search Engine Land reports that this was 'by accident'.

Since then, Toolbar PageRank has been quiet, leaving many to speculate that its days are finally up. Mueller's remark seems to confirm these fears.

However, even if this does mark the 'last goodbye' for Toolbar PageRank, it doesn't mean that PageRank as a ranking factor is dead. It is widely assumed that Google uses an 'internal PageRank' that it updates more frequently.

It is also worth noting that Google uses as many as 200 ranking factors when calculating where a page should appear in SERPs, with PageRank being just one of these factors. Its apparent decision to 'kill off' Toolbar PageRank is likely to be driven by a desire to de-emphasise PageRank as a ranking factor for SEO.

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