After 3 years of frozen state, Google Pagerank died forever during the weekend. Obviously it still exists, hidden in Google’s databases as one of the most important ranking factor but there is no way anymore to check the Pagerank of a domain:
- Pagerank toolbar shows 0 for all domains
- Google Pagerank API (toolbarqueries.google.com) returns 0 for all domains
There are domainers who collected thousands of aftermarket domains with high Pagerank, the value of their portfolio dropped significantly during this weekend or at least harder to sell. Domainers, SEO experts and well-known online businesses bought high Pagerank domains (PR5-PR8) in regular basis for 4-5 figures in auctions with many participating bidders. Obviously Google tries to stop this SEO-fueled activity, i.e. buying domains for backlinks and redirecting them to the target page or building a few page site in order to place backlinks to a target page. While the disappearance of Pagerank cannot totally stop this activity until it works but surely makes buying domains for SEO much more difficult.
It is interesting to see how this change will affect the corresponding aftermarket auctions but one can expect much lower sales prices for (once) high Pagerank domains. Identifying and valuating these domains will be much more difficult and time-consuming. One of the best option to check MOZ domain authority, although they also changed their API terms recently, dropping 1 million queries a month to 50,000 a month. Analyzing thousand of daily expiring domains for identifying high authority domains becomes almost impossible or very expensive without Pagerank and MOZ domain authority. These changes also seriously affect the usability of the outstanding and highly popular tool, expireddomains.net.
The only thing one can do to check Pagerank is a Google search to find Pagerank history somewhere. The best tool for searching past Pagerank is Push2Check.net but this is far from complete and reliable. My expectation is that domain buyers start to forget Pagerank altogether and will rely fully on MOZ (or Majestic, ahref, etc). However, all of these alternative metrics are very easy to manipulate and much less reliable. Since they are less reliable, prices cannot go as high as they went for high Pagerank domain auctions. Surely SEO will not disappear and buyers will be there but will be more confused what to buy.