Google Toolbar PageRank UpdateNo one saw a Google Toolbar PageRank update coming, at least not before the year’s end, but it is here. In previous years, the toolbar was usually updated every few months. We haven’t seen an update since February 4th of this year, though, which led most webmasters to believe that we wouldn’t see another one until 2014.

Google’s Call

While Google isn’t likely to offer an explanation anytime soon, many are left to wonder why the update is taking place now. Other questions like the freshness of the data being used in today’s new rankings are also drifting about. With so many questions unanswered on such a new update, a lot of webmasters are wondering if the current page ranking data introduced to the public today is accurate and how long it will actually last.

Is Matt Cutts Surprised Yet?

Can we assume that Google’s Webspam Team Leader, Matt Cutts, is surprised, too? After all, when asked on Twitter if there would be a Google Toolbar PageRank update this year, he tweeted, “I would be surprised if that happened.”

Matt Cutts on Google PageRank

In a recent YouTube video directly addressing the subject of a Google Toolbar PageRank Update, Cutts also shared this…

“Over time, the Toolbar PageRank is getting less usage just because recent versions of Internet Explorer don’t really let you install toolbars as easily, and Chrome doesn’t have the toolbar so over time, the PageRank indicator will probably start to go away a little bit,” via Google Updates Toolbar PageRank After All | WebProNews

In October, at Pubcon in Las Vegas, he even indicated that technical troubles would definitely delay an update if one were even going to happen at all:

Cutts said we hadn’t seen a recent PageRank update because the pipeline that pushes PageRank data from the internal Google servers to the toolbar broke. There were no plans to fix it, he said, at least not for the remainder of the year. However, it appears that they decided getting this information out to the public was useful enough that they fixed the problem. via Surprise! Google Updates PageRank Just in Time for Christmas

Webmasters who thought that the PageRank toolbar may be eliminated altogether did not pull that supposition out of thin air, either. Cutts is well-documented in his suggestion that this could one day become a reality.

In another video earlier in the year, he said, “Maybe it will go away on its own or eventually we’ll reach the point where we say, ‘Okay, maintaining this is not worth the amount of work. via Google Updates Toolbar PageRank After All | WebProNews

Judging by Cutts’ comments and Google’s lack of an update after such a prolonged period, it is not difficult to understand why this morning’s Google Toolbar PageRank update seems to be causing such an uproar among webmasters.

Why Was the Google Toolbar PageRank Update a Secret?

Many are also questioning why the apparent secrecy until now? While Google has revealed other silent updates, they have been very few and very far between. So, what does the latest silent Google Toolbar PageRank update mean for you and your websites?

Is PageRank Still Important?

Yes, today’s Google Toolbar PageRank update largely suggests that page rank still has value. How much value is a question that we can’t answer just yet. It’s a bit too soon to tell.

In the past, it has been useful in gauging a site’s overall web value and trustworthiness. With mathematical precision that factored in how many quality inbound links a site enjoyed from other high PR properties, the Google Toolbar PageRank spoke volumes about a site’s overall authority, reputation and importance within a niche. This “Google juice” has always been something that good webmasters thirsted after, which has mostly resulted in high quality content being churned out in order to reap page-ranking rewards.

PageRank’s Sketchy Past

But let’s not forget that Google Toolbar PageRank was also never updated regularly enough to be reliable as an up-to-the minute indicator. Many sites took months to receive a ranking update, which was good news for those deserving of a loss in ranking, but very frustrating for many hardworking others who deserved an increase.

PageRank could also be manipulated and often was. Each Google SEO update has tried to thwart this fact, but despite constant threats to de-rank those sites guilty of selling backlinks, the PageRank of some sites has been deceitful.

Google Toolbar PageRank Update

Tips For Surviving the Google Toolbar PageRank Update

1. Only publish content that is of the highest quality possible.

Keep the latest Google Hummingbird update in mind when preparing new content. In particular, answer the questions that your visitors most likely have on the niche you are addressing and offer a thorough overview of every topic covered on your site.

2. Make it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for.

Offer search capabilities and publish a site map that helps users navigate your site to quickly and easily find the information that they need.

3. Use keywords wisely.

A good tool like KeywordXP should be used each and every time you prepare content. Find the longtail keywords that users are searching and the precise questions that they are asking about your topic. Use keywords in your content’s title, in your meta and image tags and, of course, in the main text. Do not overuse your keywords, however. Remember that human comprehension is your first goal and recognition by search engine bots your second.

4. Share your content everywhere.

Don’t just wait for people to seek your expertise and content on their own, serve it to them regularly by sharing it wherever and whenever you can.

5. Watch your search engine rankings closely.

Use SERPAlertBoss to closely track your keywords and know where your site is ranking at all times. Click here to download your copy of SERPAlertBoss right now.

How Has the Google Toolbar PageRank Update Affected Specific Sites?

While the full impact of this update remains to be seen, here’s a snapshot of what some sites are experiencing so far today according to Rohit Palit of Business2Community.com:

  • “Brian Dean’s SEO and link-building blog Backlinko, that had a PR of 1 earlier, is currently displaying a PR of 5.”

Most webmasters who are already dedicated to producing top-notch content and who regularly implement the Hummingbird tips mentioned above will probably not be negatively affected by the Google Toolbar PageRank Update. Only time will tell, however. In the meantime, keep a watchful eye on your page rankings and remember to use all of the tools at your disposal in an effort to keep your ranking as high as possible.