Years ago, Google publicly displayed one of their core metrics for rating sites, the PageRank of the site. PageRank – named after Larry Page, one of the Google founders – was a numerical indication of the value of a site. Since it was a public, authoritative metric, it stands to reason that a large number of marketers and SEO professionals took to looking for ways to shape, sculpt, spoof, manipulate, or otherwise alter the PageRank of a site.
Despite being a simple numerical indicator, there was actually a huge amount of math and science behind PageRank. To get an idea, just scroll through the Wikipedia page; those formulas aren’t simple algebra, after all.
Back around 2011 or so, Google started making fewer and fewer updates to visible, public PageRank, mostly to combat the number of people who focused too much on that one metric and not enough on the actual value of the content. After the wait grew to over a year, the official announcement came. In October of 2014, Matt Cutts announced that there would be no future updates to visible PageRank.
Google still uses PageRank internally, of course. It’s too valuable and too foundational to their algorithm not to…