If you thought Google was done updating PageRank for the year, you were sadly mistaken. Late last week the search giant rolled out its second PageRank update of the year in a move that came as a big surprise to many SEOs.

The update comes just a couple months after Google Web Spam Chief Matt Cutts publicly suggested that there wouldn’t be any more PageRank updates in 2013.  That in itself surprised SEOs who had come to expect an update about every six months.

So what’s behind the change of heart? As per their usual policy, Google remained pretty tight lipped about their reasoning, though Cutts did acknowledge it in a Tweet reading:

A rare PageRank update: http://searchengineland.com/google-toolbar-pagerank-lives-on-with-the-first-update-in-over-10-months-179238 … Team was fixing a different backend service and did a PR update along the way.

As odd as that explanation sounds, coming from a company as massive as Google, it’s actually pretty accurate. The reason Google hasn’t updated PageRank is because the pipeline that delivers data from Google’s internal feed to the Toolbar has been broken for a number of months. That explains the, “Hey-we-were-in-there-anyways,” update.

What impact the update is going to have on web publishers is a matter of hot debate in SEO circles. PageRank Toolbar devotees love getting quick feedback on their sites from the toolbar. This is not, however, a view shared more hardcore SEO elements.

Many SEOs see the PageRank Toolbar as a highly inaccurate indicator for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its limited updates. Aside from its questionable value as an SEO tool, PageRank Toolbar hasn’t seen a lot of support from Google over the years (as the limited 2013 updates indicate). In fact, Google hasn’t even bothered to create a PageRank add-on for its own Chrome browser.

Despite the update, it seems as though PageRank Toolbar’s days as a useful SEO tool are long gone and its prospects of resurrection are limited at best, no matter what Cutts says.


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